Common Interview Questions

In every interview situation, there are common questions that will be asked. Don't wait until the interview to decide your responses!

Be prepared and think through your answers before you arrive. Write down your answers and practice in the mirror and with a friend or colleague. Keep your answers brief, usually less than 1 minute. Remember, confidence, quality of presentation and listening are keys to successful interviews.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in this agency?
  • How does the work in this organization fit your professional mission or experience?
  • Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work for this organization?
  • What are your experiences with the target population?
  • Why do you want to work with this target population?
  • What are your qualifications?
  • What kind of supervision do you expect?
  • How has your education/work experience prepared you for this position?
  • What do you hope to accomplish at this agency?
  • What would you like to learn here?
  • Have you done this type of work in the past?
  • What issues might you have with [adoption, for example]?
  • What schedule will work for you?
  • What are your career goals? For the next 3 years? The next 5 years? The next 10 years?
  • What are some of your strengths? Some of your weaknesses?
  • How do you define success for yourself?
  • How do you plan?
  • What is your work style?
  • How do you work with others?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to juggle your regular responsibilities and deal with a sudden priority?
  • Are you a leader or a follower?
  • Describe the process you go through in developing a [case plan, budget, workshop, contract, or marketing plan, for example].
  • Describe your supervision experience? Supervision style?
  • What is your ideal position and career path?
  • Is there anything you would like to say to close the interview?
  • Do you have any questions? (Answer: Yes! You should always have questions.)

Interview Questions by Specialty

Direct Practice Interview Questions

  • What is your understanding of service delivery in [a particular field or region]?
  • Tell me about a time you were in a disagreement over a treatment plan.
  • What has been your experience with agency paperwork and how do you feel about it?
  • How will you deal with the dual-relationship issues of working in a small community?

Community Administration & Leadership Interview Questions

  • What type of research skills/computer skills do you have?
  • What specific policy issues are you interested in?

Policy Interview Questions

  • How do you handle shifting priorities and working in a fast-paced, pressured environment?
  • What is your experience with writing quickly, under pressure?
  • What do you do to keep track of a lot of information at once?

Program Development Interview Questions

  • How would you go about locating community resources in a neighborhood in which you have no relationship?

Questions to Ask Your Interviewers

  • What do you like best about working here?
  • How often, and by whom will I be supervised? What types of supervision are available? Is case consultation available?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development within and beyond the agency itself?
  • What can I count on from the agency to assist me in my professional development?
  • With what other staff members will the person in this position work [for example, marketing department director]?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement?
  • Is the staff on call, and how is that handled?
  • What are the agency's service delivery strengths and weaknesses?
  • How many social workers do you employ? What is the average length of time social workers have worked for this agency?
  • What is the typical career path of social workers within this field/agency?
  • To what extent will I have the opportunity to network with other agencies, or other professionals in the field?
  • How would you describe the organizational culture?

Questions to Ask as a Social Work Intern

  • What do you think would be the most challenging experiences for a social work intern in your agency?
  • What do you think would be the most rewarding experiences for a social work intern in your agency?
  • How are expectations for students different from those for agency staff?
  • To what extent do students have an opportunity to offer input into administration and planning?

Modified from: © 2005 DiNitto Center for Career Services, University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work

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