Wednesday, 27 March 2019

The demand for social workers is rising and forecasted to keep growing for at least the next decade. This news will undoubtedly bring a rise of new employees into the field, and the competition to recruit individuals who are truly qualified for these important positions will likely be fierce. As a new group of potential employees enters the workforce, it is vital to ensure you are attracting social workers with the right values.


Hidden Dangers

Social work is a broad field with many different job opportunities. However, these jobs all have the same requirements:  a moral code of ethics that values service to others above self-service. Social workers are not surgeons who wield life-saving scalpels, but they are called upon to make life-altering decisions every day. The dangers of hiring an employee without a true interest in helping others can have far-reaching consequences, including:

  • A diminished reputation of the company or department they work for.
  • A loss of trust from customers who truly depend on the service.
  • Ineffective follow through of a single case.
  • High costs of training more people each year.
  • Larger caseloads for individual workers leading to burnout.
  • Lower quality of care.

High employee turnover and disinterest within the industry leads to a lower quality of care for the individuals who really need the services supplied by social workers. Therefore, it is important to find a way to recruit employees based not only on education but also preparedness and a desire to put the needs of others in front of their own.


Powerful Recruitment Techniques

Hiring the right employees begins with a new approach to recruitment. The qualifications for social work are not just based on knowledge and completed levels of education. Employees must be prepared for the emotional investment required by this unique career. To recruit employees who will be prepared for the demanding and rewarding nature of a job in social work, it’s necessary to create a unique hiring process.


Values-based hiring is not a new idea. In fact, the inclusion of personal values in the hiring process has been gaining popularity in many industries for some time.  It is particularly important in the area of social work. The combination of the required ethics code and a value-based interview technique can help you find employees who will be eager to stay in the social work industry for years to come.


Discuss Past Experiences

Asking candidates how they have responded to personal experiences in the past can shed light on important personality traits that will reveal their values. Additionally, inquiries related to their potential adaptability when necessary can be helpful.


Make Use of Video

Employment preview videos can help candidates understand the emotional toll required by social work. The intent is to reveal potential pitfalls that an employee may not have been exposed to during training. This early elimination can help avoid the painful effects of employee turnover in the future.


Determine Willingness to Take Responsibility

Social workers are required to use their training and conscience to make vital decisions each day. Potential employees will need the confidence to take responsibility for these decisions no matter what the outcome.


Ask your candidate to detail responsibilities in past employment situations. Follow up with questions that will require him/her to offer opinions on a scenario they might encounter in the new role.  An employee who can offer clear explanations of his/her choices is likely to take responsibility for their actions in the future.


Gain an Understanding of the Ability to Set and Meet Goals

Empathy and compassion are the biggest requirements of all types of social work.  However, important goals must be set and met within designated time periods.  Use the interview to understand your potential employee’s confidence in meeting important goals.


Ask your potential employee to detail goal-oriented tasks required in past employment or personal life situations. Follow up with a realistic case description and ask your candidate to summarize a plan of action with a timeline for success.


Evaluate Core Social Work Values

The five core social work values include service, social justice, values, human relationships, and integrity.  Make the most of your job interview to understand how your candidate feels about each of these five points.


Finding the right employees can finally help eliminate burnout and employee turnover in various jobs in the social work industry. To learn more about how Atlantic Group can help fill your open social work positions, contact us today!

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