Social work interviewing skills are possessed by someone that can effectively respond to client needs. Social workers are skilled in interviewing clients, gathering information, and recording the data necessary for case planning. These skills reflect individual personalities and social work training and core values.
A social worker with such skills must be aware of the power derived from the interview situation. Let’s find out more on social work interviewing skills below.
What are interviewing skills in social work?
Social work interviewing skills are the abilities that social workers must use to engage with, understand and help their clients. A social worker conducts interviews to collect information about the client’s situation and needs. A social worker also makes general observations about the client’s mental state, behaviour or lifestyle, and determines specific goals for the interview session.
A good social worker should identify other professionals who might need to treat the client and document the interview.
One of the most essential tools that social workers have is their ability to listen with empathy in a non-judgmental way, during each social work interview. Social workers are trained to practise active listening skills to understand what clients are communicating about themselves and their situation. Active listening allows social workers to correctly understand the client’s situation to better help them achieve their goals for social work.
Effective Interviewing Skills of a Social Worker
Strong interviewing skills are of utmost importance to social workers. The social worker must interview clients, gather important information and assess the social or personal problem that lies within an individual.
The social worker is responsible for making a diagnosis of mental health disorders. This can include any disorder from anorexia to schizophrenia. For social workers to gather information from a client, there are specific social work interviewing skills that social workers will use to get the most accurate diagnosis possible.
Social workers must possess a variety of different skills to work effectively with clients. An increasingly relevant set of skills is asking questions and using questioning techniques that result in increased interaction, active listening, and more effective intervention.
The role of a social worker is highly interactive. Social workers listen to their client’s concerns and provide support on meeting goals specific to individual needs.
The use of active listening as a social worker’s interviewing skill is essential for helping clients express themselves and feel heard. When the interviewer ensures that he or she is actively listening, they can perceive what is being said by the client and allow the interviewee to work through their own issues.
Note-taking can be used to help social workers get a better sense of what the client has said, identify interview biases or gaps in knowledge, and document observations of the clinical encounter.
The tone control is not something that many mental health professionals tend to focus on when it comes to their work, but mental health diagnosis and treatment works best when the client feels comfortable sharing information with you and telling you what they need. Tone control can be a tool for mental health professionals to use to meet the clients’ needs and create a safe, non-judgmental environment where the client can feel comfortable discussing mental health problems.
Body language, eye contact and tone of voice are all important factors in an interview. But it is empathy that makes a big difference to the outcome. The primary goal of social workers is to help the clients they work with. This often involves sitting down with them face-to-face, whether offering therapy or an employee assistance program counselor helping a client find a new job.
Social work is not an easy field and requires a great deal of patience and understanding; you must be willing to listen without judgement towards people who might not always make the best choices, but rather focus on their feelings and what leads them down such paths. An empathetic social worker might take advantage of their body language by holding the interviewee’s gaze for slightly longer or even making physical contact through placing a hand on their arm as they talk.
Someone with good social work interviewing skills should be open and inviting. Make eye contact, give the client your full attention, smile and lean forward slightly when you shake hands or say hello.
Top 5 Interviewing Techniques used in Social Work Practice
These are the top 5 Interviewing Techniques used in Social Work Practice
1) Rapport building: The development of a relationship, whether it be with the interviewer or the person being interviewed. An example would be to ask about work and hobbies before asking more personal questions.
2) Projective techniques: These are techniques that use the power of suggestion to evoke emotions in the client. For example, if a client were to say they are unhappy with their living conditions, ask what it is exactly about the living arrangements that make them unhappy. This technique would elicit more information on this topic than asking directly about it.
3) Interpretation: By interpretation, I mean in an objective manner – not a subjective manner. A subjective interpretation would be, “I feel like you are unhappy with your living arrangements because it is hard to live with your brother.” An objective interpretation would be, “You seem unhappy about living arrangements because of the fact that they are a challenge, especially since you have to live with your brother.”
4) Closed-ended questions: Specific questions that elicit only a yes or no response. For example, “Do you like your brother?”
5) Open-ended questions: Questions that give the client room to talk. These are more effective in drawing out information than closed-ended questions. For example, “Tell me about living with your brother.”
Developing social work interviewing skills through a micro-video analysis training program.
The training of social work students in the interview skills necessary for practice with children and families is a challenge for many academic programs. A micro-video analysis (MVA) approach to training has been developed and implemented to address this issue.
This study evaluated the first year of implementing an MVA program designed to teach bachelor’s degree and first-year Masters’ level students to conduct high-quality interviews with children, families, and professionals. The program’s goal was to produce graduates who can conduct evidence-based practice assessments using clinically sound interview techniques.
Results indicate that the implementation of this approach successfully met its goals by producing graduates who were better prepared for fieldwork in terms of interviewing skills. The method ensured that a licensed social worker is proficient enough in using techniques like speed normal autoplay, among others, using this training program.
Social work interviewing skills are vital, especially when someone like a substance abuse professional needs to conduct specific interviewing techniques to try and convince an addict to quit the habit. If you are a student and need more information on social work interviewing skills, please contact the professionals at galaxygrades.com for extensive training on these skills.