Social Work Interview Guidance
Preparing for your interview
Observe the world around you
What stories and events are affecting contemporary health and social care work? What’s your opinion on the latest news?
Values and ways of working
Key concepts in social work may relate to equality and diversity, empowerment and inclusion. Social workers' mission is to promote such concepts and combat discrimination and oppression, while upholding human rights and the dignity of a person. These values underpin the key attributes of all social work professionals.
Do you have any previous relevant experience, which may include things from your personal life? Make a list of of all your personal qualities that fit with the Standards and Capabilities.
If you have time, try to get some hands on experience; nothing beats exposure to a real environment working with children, young people or adults in a paid or non-paid (voluntary) capacity.
Consider how your three month (or more) practice experience could be related to social work, and how it may inform your thinking and understanding of the profession and the people you may work with.
What to expect
You’ll be shown a presentation and your interview will be with at least one academic or social work professional. If users of social work services (Experts by Experience) are also going to be present you will be advised in advance, usually through your email from Admissions.
During the interview, explain why you think this is the right career for you. Apply the ‘five whys’ to explain how you would get beneath the surface to make a real impact. You’ll need to respond to a given case study. The case study will be related to current issues. Your response will help us to assess your communication and comprehension skills. You’ll be given a set amount of time to respond.
You will complete a set of exercises which will help assess your suitability for the role, how you interpret a situation and reflect on your responses. This takes place in three ways: essay writing, demonstrating clear communication skills and interpretation of topics; group discussion, evidencing your ability to interact in a team and show consideration for others; panel interview with service users so you can understand their requirements and the issues in play. Just remember, these exercises are designed to help you reflect on whether this is the right career for you.
1. Be prepared! If Admissions have requested you bring certain documents to your interview, make sure you bring them! It's also useful to have a copy of your personal statement on hand to remind yourself what you said in your application.
2. Be on time! Promptness is an important part of professional conduct so if you’re coming on to campus, allow lots of time for travel and plan for possible delays. If your interview is online, make sure you have everything set up and ready to go in good time.
3. Don’t talk TOO much! We want to hear about your skills and experience but it’s also important to keep to the point!
4. Don’t make inappropriate jokes or share horror stories! Of course we want you to smile and be yourself, but we’re looking for the next generation of professionals and want to know you can interact with people appropriately..
5. Maintain natural eye contact. Don’t stare us out or anything, but also don’t look at the floor... Just think about the normal eye contact you would make with a friend when you’re having a chat.
6. Don’t be negative but if you must be negative, show how you turned it into a positive.
7. Conduct yourself in a manner that shows you are free from bias and are happy to treat and work with anyone from a cross-section of cultures and society.
8. Finally... Enjoy it! We’re not looking to trip you up – we want you to do well. You’ve put in the hard work so now it’s your opportunity to shine!