Common interview questions and advice on how to answer them

You’ve applied for your chosen job in social care and you’ve been selected for interview. First, that’s an achievement in itself and you should congratulate yourself for getting to this stage. But now, it’s all about preparing for that meeting, knowing what you might be asked, and what you’re going to say.


What happens at an interview for a job in social care?

The interviewer or panel (there may be more than one person) is looking for you to demonstrate that you have the skills and qualities needed to work in social care. The interviewers are just looking to find out more about you and what makes you tick. If you’re being interviewed for a more senior position, then the questions will be centred on your experience and your personal qualities. Try and relax – most interviews are very informal.

What will you be asked?

All organisations are different and the questions you will be asked will be shaped by the role you’re being interviewed for. You might be asked about specific scenarios or the values you uphold. How you cope in certain situations, particularly in times of stress, may also inform the questions asked.

We’ve grouped common questions into five key areas that we hope will help you prepare and succeed at your interview for a job in adult social care.

This is about understanding yourself and others. The type of questions you might be asked within this area are:

Tell us when you have supported someone to identify and build on their strengths.

Please explain how your own background, experiences and beliefs might have an impact on your practice.

Give an example of effective communication with an individual about their needs, views and preferences. And what methods did you use?

This is about recognising the importance of relationships and building the trust to empower people to make informed decisions. Questions might include:

What do you understand about your own roles, responsibilities and accountabilities as a social care worker, and what your limits and boundaries should be.

Please give examples of how you have built trust and rapport in a relationship.

Describe how you have handled sensitive information in a past work or personal experience. And what did you do to maintain confidentiality, especially if pressured by others?

This particular area is about getting to know how people want to live and respecting the choices they wish to make in how they lead their lives. Questions here might include:

Share an example of when you have promoted an individual’s rights, choices, wellbeing and active participation.

What conflicts and dilemmas could arise in relation to the rights of people using services to make choices about how they live, and how might you address them?

This is about supporting everyone and collaborating with individuals being supported as well as team members to deliver quality care. Key questions might feature:

Please give an example of when you have supported someone in an individualised way. Why was it important to do so?

Provide an example of a time you have helped someone feel valued.

Tell us about your experience of being part of a great team. What did you do? What difference did you make?

Share a time when you had to ask for help.

Aside from the questions above there will almost certainly be practical questions about your suitability for the role. Here are just a few examples:

Are you SSSC registered?

Learning and personal development are a requirement of this role. How would you approach undertaking an SVQ or similar qualification and training? Next Steps for SCCC Registration

Do you have any criminal convictions

Finally, what question might you have for the interview panel? It’s always good to have looked at the organisation’s website and the key points in the job description beforehand. This will help you understand them better and give you the information you need to ask at least one question.


Interview tips

There are a few things that are essential at every interview. You need to be there on time, be yourself and be positive. You need to have read the job description and person specification carefully. The qualities the panel are looking for need to be reflected in your tone and behaviour, so speak clearly and be well presented too. Taking pride in your appearance suggests you care about yourself, which means there’s a much better chance you’ll care about others too. Good luck.