How to Hire a Social Worker

Does your growing business need a social worker? Social workers can help your company make sure your cases are taken care of correctly.

Here are some tips to help you find great social worker candidates and choose the right hire for your business.

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Social workers searching for jobs on Indeed*

478,680  

Job seekers that clicked social worker jobs

55,805

Resumes for job seekers with social worker experience on Indeed

21,587

Social worker jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring social worker?

  • Common salary in US: $60,060 yearly
  • Typical salaries range from $18,000$127,000 yearly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, social worker jobs in the U.S. are moderately competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 22 job seekers per social worker job.

Why hire a social worker?

The need for new staff can affect both your existing team and cases. A great social worker hire can help your business decrease the rate of workloads and improve the lives of the people involved in your cases. A quality social worker:

• Understands the social work system
• Improves the lives of people
• Stops people from getting into bad situations

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance social worker

Before hiring a social worker, consider your caseload and needs for the position. If you have high demand, hiring a full-time social worker ensures stability and understanding of how cases are handled. A full-time employee can develop ongoing relationships with clients, which can make the services more effective.

If you have a small caseload or only need a social worker when special circumstances arise, hiring a freelance social worker might be a better fit. This allows you to use the social worker on an as-needed basis, making the hire more cost-effective. Freelance social workers might not always have immediate availability, which can delay services to clients in an emergency. 

What are the types of social workers?

Social workers are employed to help people overcome challenges, but some social workers focus on a particular area, which can affect where the person works, the clients they interact with and the specific things they do for their clients. Some types of social workers include:

  • Clinical social workers: These licensed social workers can diagnose and treat various disorders related to mental, behavioral and emotional health. They work with other health care professionals to create a treatment plan and deal with the client’s disorder.
  • Health care social workers: Working in health care settings, these social workers help diagnose patients and form care plans.
  • School social workers: Students might be referred to school social workers to help with various issues, such as aggressive behavior or extensive absences, and academic performance.
  • Child and family social workers: These social workers help families and children in trouble, including housing, childcare and food stamps. They might help kids who are abused or work on foster care and adoption cases.

Where to find social workers

To find the right social worker for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Hire in similar fields. Unless you’re hiring a clinical social worker who needs specific education and licensing, consider hiring professionals in similar fields. Candidates with degrees in sociology, early childhood development, psychology and similar fields are often qualified for social worker positions.
  • Promote internally. Look at other employees within your organization who might do well in a social worker role. 
  • Attend a career fair. Set up a booth at a career fair hosted by a college that has a strong social work program. This gives you a chance to meet college seniors or recent graduates who are looking for social worker positions.
  • Post your job online. Try posting your social worker job on Indeed to find and attract quality social worker candidates.

What are the types of social workers?

Social workers are employed to help people overcome challenges, but some social workers focus on a particular area, which can affect where the person works, the clients they interact with and the specific things they do for their clients. Some types of social workers include:

  • Clinical social workers: These licensed social workers can diagnose and treat various disorders related to mental, behavioral and emotional health. They work with other health care professionals to create a treatment plan and deal with the client’s disorder.
  • Health care social workers: Working in health care settings, these social workers help diagnose patients and form care plans.
  • School social workers: Students might be referred to school social workers to help with various issues, such as aggressive behavior or extensive absences, and academic performance.
  • Child and family social workers: These social workers help families and children in trouble, including housing, childcare and food stamps. They might help kids who are abused or work on foster care and adoption cases.

Writing a social worker job description

A thoughtful description is important in finding quality social worker candidates. A social worker job description includes a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your social worker job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on social worker jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Social worker
  • Social work
  • Social services
  • Case manager
  • School social worker
  • MSW
  • Human services
  • Mental health
  • Social worker MSW
  • Medical social worker

Interviewing social worker candidates

Strong candidates for social worker positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

• How to navigate the social work world
• The hardest case they’ve had to deal with
• How to manage difficult clients

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of social worker interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a social worker

What is an alternative to hiring a social worker?

In some settings, when the caseload is low, other qualified people can do the job of a social worker. Instead of hiring a school social worker, have a guidance counselor, teacher or administrator work with students who need assistance. In health care settings, nurses might help patients understand what needs to change after their diagnosis and release from the hospital.

How do I choose between two good social worker candidates?

Consider each candidate’s experience in your specific setting and the type of cases you need handled. Compare their soft skills, such as communication, empathy, cultural competence and patience. Look at how well each candidate might fit in with the rest of the staff and your company culture. Another consideration is each candidate’s future career goals and how well they can meet your organization’s future needs.

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