Amy’s Life in Brief

New graduates….
June 27, 2008, 3:47 am
Filed under: employment search, job, MSW, social work | Tags: , ,

We recently interviewed a new graduate for the open in-patient social worker position.  It was an interesting experience and made me thin back to what I may have been like (or maybe not, I don’t know) ten years ago when I just finished my MSW and was searching my first job.  This person, on the surface, was very likeable and pleasant.  But, something just wasn’t sitting quite right.  She had absolutely great experience from some really wonderful internships.  She could probably do the job.  So, what’s the problem?

It’s hard to pin down…it almost seemed like an ego thing.  Granted, when you go into an interview you’re not supposed to downplay your talents and strengths…I realize that.  But, it almost seemed that when we would point something out, more as an explanation of the type of work she would be doing in this particular setting, she would immediately say something to the effect of, “Thanks for your input but I’m different.”  Maybe she was getting the wrong message.  This particular position is 32 hour/week position. She was wanting to work a full 40 hours.  We all basically said that it is such an emotionally taxing job that 40 hours is just too much and would set a person up for burn out.  Her response was, “Well, I’m a person that doesn’t really hold onto stuff and I set clear boundaries, so I really don’t think that will be a problem.”  There were a few other points that had similar responses.

Another issue was the way she started her interview.  Instead of waiting for us to explain the position and asking a few questions, she immediately started out by saying, “OK, I just want to start out with a few things.” and then immediately went over her whole resume and how each experience would translate into this particular job.  She hadn’t even really heard our explanation of the position.

So, as I think about it, I’m wondering is this because of inexperience in the social work field or because of an personality issue?  Or maybe both? I think we will ask her back for a second interview when a couple of the other social workers will be available to interview her.  We’ll see what their impressions are.


5 Comments so far
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just on first read… she sounds like someone that might not take instruction well or listen but not implement, a supervisor’s nightmare…imho, just on first read…

Comment by prin

I can understand the misgivings. Of course, it could be fear in an interview setting – some people are just not very good in that environment and she might be concentrating so much on saying the ‘right’ thing and not admitting any faults – that a sense of humility has been forgotten due to nerves.
Sometimes gut feelings can be remarkably accurate though.. I can see how its good to bounce the impressions of someone else though!

Comment by cb

I think this girl should be invited to work, she is a bull, yes, but talented and I definitely have much admiration for her clear boundaries. Wow, wish I had ’em! At any rate, let the job (if she gets it) be the angel that humbles her. It will, even though she doesn’t know it quite yet.

Comment by Michelle

I would be very wary of the “I set clear boundaries” thing. It sounds like overcompensation. Also, her setting of the course of the interview would make me think she’s not really open to learning, and already knows what she wants to do, be it right or otherwise.

I’m currently in a SW program and am constantly scared by how competent and sure of themselves some of my cohort believe themselves to be. Finishing the program is one thing…actual practice is a whole other thing entirely.

Comment by aawk

You have an interesting Blog. I’m currently working on a part-time post-degree BSW and working full-time with offenders that have mental health issues. Your blog has given me a few valuable insights! Thanks! Keep up the good work!

Comment by redemptionbound

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