Social Work University Interview Questions

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Social work

Social work is a hugely challenging area, which places great demands on individuals and teams almost every day of their working lives. For this reason, universities have to be especially careful in their selection processes, to make sure that they choose the right calibre of students for their courses.

In social work, your interview will be far more important than your qualifications and your personal statement, so you need to be well prepared for the kind of questions you will be asked.

Subject specific social work university interview questions

It is important that potential students understand the role of the social workerin society. This is often very different from what you may have experienced firsthand, and so you will be asked questions to assess your understanding, such as:

  • What do you think a social worker does?
  • Why does society need social workers?
  • What experience do you have of social work?
  • Has a social worker ever worked with you or your family?
  • What is the ultimate aim of social work?
  • What do you think people expect from social workers?
  • Is there a particular area of social work that interests you, and if so why?
  • Describe a typical week for a social worker?
  • What are the biggest issues in social work right now?

Personal social work university interview questions

Your attitude, approach and personality will play a major role in your daily life as a social worker, so it is important that your university interview identifies whether you have got ‘what it takes’ to succeed. Typical personal questions include:

  • What do you hope to achieve as a social worker?
  • What qualities do you have that would make you a good social worker?
  • Are you a good listener, and can you listen without judging?
  • Describe a situation where you have shown empathy
  • How would you go about calming down an anxious or agitated client?
  • Social workers often have a huge caseload. How would you manage your time effectively?
  • How would you distance your own feelings from an emotional situation?
  • Describe an example of when you have worked in a team

Ethical social work university interview questions

Social work can be a minefield of ethical issues, and you will not be expected to deal with them all on your own. However, your approach to these issues will be an important part of your interview. Consider how you would answer questions like:

  • When is it right to take a child from its parents?
  • Should we waste resources on people who don’t want to be helped?
  • Is the welfare state a trap for the poorer members of society?
  • Is the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ fair?
  • Isn’t positive discrimination as bad as the problem it is trying to solve?
  • Would you be able to help a person who you did not personally like?
  • If people bring problems on themselves, shouldn’t they have to find their own solutions?
  • Shouldn’t families be left alone to sort out their own problems?