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5 Caseworker Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

How would you deal with a client that has a crisis right before you are about to finish up your shift? 

A:

Asking this question lets you know how the caseworker would deal with the occurrence of a sudden crisis. It gives you insight into the candidate's methods of handling a work emergency so that you can see how effectively the candidate behaves at a critical moment. This question also provides insight into the caseworker's priorities. You can learn whether he or she is more interested in helping individuals or just getting through a workday. What to look for in an answer:

  • Passion to truly help the client
  • Willingness to spend extra time at work
  • Flexibility to deal with an emergency
Example:

"I would focus on trying to figure out the root cause of the problem and help the client before leaving."

Q:

What kind of clients do you find the most difficult to work with and create plans for?

A:

This is a very stressful and emotionally fraught job, so you need to know how the candidate would react in a tricky situation and see if he or she is easily upset by certain types of clients. Learning about the kind of clients the candidate struggles with will tell you whether the caseworker might be a good fit with your organization. Asking this question also helps you learn a little about the candidate's weaknesses. What to look for in an answer:

  • Not being overly negative
  • Willing to work with your typical clients
  • Offering solutions for dealing with problem clients
Example:

"It's hard when I have a client who seems to have given up. It encourages me to try more creative approaches to help the client."

Q:

How would you tell whether or not one of your clients is potentially being abused?

A:

Almost all caseworkers will encounter situations where someone is being abused, and being able to recognize and promptly report these signs is an essential part of the job. The person's answer to this question tells you how competent and knowledgeable the candidate is. Their ability to talk about this sensitive subject matter-of-factly gives you insight into whether they are capable of handling the emotional realities of the job. What to look for in an answer:

  • Fast and accurate answers
  • Responses that are factual instead of emotional
  • Details about different situations a person has encountered
Example:

"In domestic situations, the top signs of abuse are frequent injuries, personality changes, low self-esteem, fear of a partner, constant apologies and substance abuse."

Q:

Can you tell me about a time when you had a client who did not agree with your approach to his or her problem?

A:

A candidate's response will tell you a lot about how he or she interacts with clients and deals with conflict. You can consider the answer to see if candidates are willing to try unusual solutions or change their plan instead of trying to force every person to fit into the caseworker's pre-decided plan. This question can help you figure out if the caseworker is truly focused on the client's needs and preferences. What to look for in an answer:

  • The ability to explain plans clearly to clients
  • Being self-aware enough to admit they were wrong
  • A willingness to compromise
Example:

"A client didn't want to go to a shelter that conflicted with their religion, so I spent a little extra time looking for alternative locations."

Q:

What type of supervisors do you prefer to work with?

A:

Asking this question lets you gauge how the caseworker would fit in with your office and organization. A person's response can let you know if the individual is willing to take instructions from a supervisor or if he or she can independently get work done by themselves. There is no right or wrong answer to this question; it is all about seeing whether or not a candidate would be compatible with your organization. What to look for in an answer:

  • A work style that fits with your organization
  • Reasonable explanations for their preference
  • Flexibility with multiple work environments
Example:

"I prefer working with supervisors who trust my decisions instead of micromanaging me. However, I also appreciate managers who provide helpful insight in tricky situations."

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