Social Care interviews are normally carried out by a panel, consisting of either social care team leaders, management, HR and always one independent chair. While this might seem intimidating, the best way to impress the panel is by walking in to the interview with a positive and enthusiastic attitude. Whether you are just qualified and going for your first interview or looking for a new opportunity, following these steps will guarantee your next success.
Show your love for what you do
Social Care workers need certain traits as it can be a challenging and stressful role. The panel want to see your love and genuine interest for your work, so will usually ease you into the interview by asking why you got into social care. This is your chance to showcase your love for helping others, your passion for your work and the excitement and energy that you will bring to the role. If you had particular life experiences that prompted your interest in social care, highlight them.
Prove your knowledge
The panel will now need to find out if you really know your stuff. If you have an interview for a Social Care worker post, you can almost guarantee it will be a competency-based interview. This is quite a common style, where you draw on your experience, using the STAR analogy to answer the questions. An example would be:
“Can you tell me about a time when you had effective communication with a service user?”
When answering, you need to think of a scene, the task which was then required, the action you carried out to communicate and the result (ideally this should be a positive one).
Prepare examples to back yourself up
In general, social care workers, need to be particularly competent in the areas of communication, innovation, organisation, team work, creativity, empathy, dealing with challenging behaviour and offering a high level of support to the service users. In the build up to an interview, reflect over these areas and think of as many examples as you can, where you really displayed these skills and competencies. The most important thing with these questions is to really listen to what the panel are asking you and what competency they are looking for to give your best answer. For example, if you were asked to demonstrate your empathy, you might explain a situation where you helped deliver support to someone while maintaining their dignity and promoting independence.
Know your legislation
The interview will mainly consist of the competency-based questions, but they will also need to know that you know your legislation, whether this be Children First, HIQA, Mental Health, etc. You need to ensure you are fully read up on all legislation, especially those relevant to the sector you are interviewing for. These questions may also be asked in a competency style for example “can you give me an example of a time in which you had to report a child protection issue and what where the steps you followed”, again you would need to consider the STAR analogy. Alternatively, they may just ask you direct questions on the legislation, so ensure to have all bases covered.
These are the main areas that will be covered in the interview, which generally runs for 30-45 minutes. Once you can showcase your love for your work, highlight your competencies with examples and describe your legislation, you are on the road to success. My ultimate tip is to be genuine and honest, show your enthusiasm, be positive and keep your answers to the point. If you can master these, you should succeed at any social care interview.