How to Get a Job as a Social Worker

Mary Pender Greene, a licensed social worker and certified group psychotherapist, has worked in the profession for 38 years and interviewed as many as 700 social workers annually to find them placements. Aside from skills, credentials, and proper licensing, there are still other factors Pender Greene says she hopes to see in new hires. “If they tell me that they were in therapy, then that gives them extra brownie points with me,” she says, “because in order to be able to help others, you have to be willing and able to look at the things that need work within you and your own family.” Pender Greene also considers personal therapy the first indicator that someone will have longevity in the field. “The second [indicator] is to never be in a job where you aren’t being supervised properly,” she says. “And the third is self-care. That includes the ability to assess when it’s time for lunch, to take a vacation, or even to start a new job.”

Interview Questions Submitted by Real Social Workers

“Are you prejudiced against a particular race?” – Los Angeles County Social Worker Candidate (Location Unknown)

“Can you handle cancer patients?” – Sisters of Charity Hospital Social Worker Candidate (Location Unknown)

“If you were a utensil what would you be?” – HCR ManorCare Social Worker Candidate (Milwaukee, WI)

What is the Job Like?

Family social work can be taxing, as it requires you to deal with clients—many of whom are minors—experiencing various emotions. Being able to respond to conflict in a level-headed and objective manner would be an asset, as would having the ability to exercise sensitivity and tact. Much of a social worker’s responsibilities are performed in an office setting, but they may also travel when meeting with clients and tending to their affairs. The majority of social workers work 40 hours per week, although they might occasionally have evening or weekend hours, depending on the needs of their clients.

Real Reviews From Social Workers

+ “Satisfaction in serving patients and families who really need the help. Autonomy to get the job done.” – Sava Senior Care Social Worker (Location Unknown)

+ “Great work team, varied and interesting patient population, good support from management, variety of locations/work sites available.” – Allina Hospitals Medical Social Worker (Minneapolis, MN)

– “Highly stressful with many unneeded financial, insurance and clerical duties, prevent delivery of good social work pt. care.” – DaVita Social Worker (Tampa, FL)

– “Few holidays, few raises for Social Workers.” – Ellis Hospital Social Worker (Schenectady, NY)