Former Child Welfare Case Manager at Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc.
almost 3 years ago
Preparing for the interview you need to take into consideration
1) Your boundaries and expectations for the job
2) How you feel your experience makes you a good fit for the position.
It is important to consider the first question first! Take sometime to think about what you are willing to do and what is completely off the table. Child Welfare is going to teach you a lot about setting boundaries with people and your employer. Go into the interview knowing those boundaries so you can set clear expectations with the employer. If you have children and must be home at a certain time every night, don't rule out Child Welfare but be clear in the interview. You will need to hold your ground a lot in the job regarding personal boundaries and self care. Start this habit early!
Once you have evaluated your work boundaries and decided to take on this work, plan your interview. You can assume they will ask the standard questions: what are your weaknesses/strengths/ unique qualities, describe a time when.... , etc. It is my advice that you have these answers roughly outlined for quick references. I would also recommend thinking outside the box and using the interview to showcase your versatility. The agency receives many fresh BSW students as well as professionals from all educational and career backgrounds. Many of my former colleagues were taking on CWCM as a second career! Case management requires diverse experiences to address daily crisis; know what you bring to the table and really sell it.
There is always an opportunity at the end of the interview to ask questions. Be confident and upfront about pay and benefits. This job is going to take a lot from your life, make sure it gives back enough. These kinds of conversations make me uncomfortable, having prepared questions helps me build confidence. Know something about the organization! Any branch of DCF will have a history of media shame. See what the most recent stories were and how the organization has publicly addressed this crisis. Did the agency highlight management turn over as a key piece of recovery? This may demonstrate poor executive leadership and you can get an idea of the agency culture. Address any of these concerns or questions in a non-confrontational way. It is expected that your interviewer(s) may not know the answers or may even take offense; how the interviewer(s) respond will indicate the agency vibe.