All too often during the talent acquisition search, hiring managers tend to concentrate more on the credentials of candidates and how they look on paper rather than the core values that make them most suitable to a job. In the field of social work, there are many intangibles that often can’t be seen on paper. Recruiting social workers with the same values as your organization takes time and effort.

Here are some things to keep in mind when attracting social workers with all the right values.

Hidden Consequences

Social work may be a broad field with a variety of job opportunities, but at its core is something that spans across the whole industry: a moral code of ethics that puts service to others above all else. Because they are in charge of making life-altering decisions each and every day, there could be dangerous consequences in hiring employees who do not display this true commitment to serving others. These consequences can result in:

  • Diminished company or department reputation
  • Loss of trust from the families in their charge
  • Ineffective follow-through in all cases
  • High costs of training more social workers annually
  • Larger caseloads for individuals, which can cause burnout and turnover
  • Lower overall quality of care due to disinterest within the industry and high employee turnover rates

This is why it’s more important than ever for companies to hire individuals based on their values and not just their education and training.

Values-Based Hiring

While not necessarily a new concept, values-based hiring is getting a renewed interest as employers try a more effective approach to recruitment. To be a social worker, it’s not enough to complete all necessary levels of education. They have to understand and prepare for the emotional investment that this career demands. To hire the right people, you need to align your recruitment process to meet this unique need. In addition to the required ethics code, value-based interview techniques are extremely beneficial in this line of work. During these interviews, employers can ask candidates how they dealt with certain situations in the past or how they responded to personal experiences. Highlighting these critical personality traits will, when done right, serve to reveal their values and showcase their adaptability going forward.


Every day, social workers draw on their training and moral code to make life-altering decisions for the families they work with. The confidence and willingness to take responsibility for these decisions, despite the outcome, is vital. Employers can ask candidates to detail past responsibilities, how they made their decisions in various scenarios, and how they embraced the responsibility for their actions.

Empathy and Compassion: Meeting Goals

Empathy and compassion are a must in social work, but goals have to be met within specific timelines. Employers can ask candidates to explain past goal-oriented tasks, and how they resolved them. Providing a realistic case description and asking them to summarize a plan of action and timeline can also be an effective interview tool.

Traits to be on the Lookout For

From active listening to critical thinking, there are many traits you want to keep an eye out for when recruiting social workers.

  • Empathy:

    Being able to identify with and understand someone else’s experience and point of view forms the core of empathy. This ability to step inside someone else’s shoes enables social workers to build stronger relationships with clients and gain trust.

  • Communication:

    On a verbal and non-verbal level, communication is a necessary skill for any social worker. Social workers must advocate for their clients, but to do this correctly, they must be able to understand their needs. They must be aware of body language and other non-verbal cues to communicate with all clients as well as with care providers, agencies, and colleagues.

  • Critical Thinking:

    The ability to analyze information gathered from observation and communication allows social workers to objectively evaluate each case. Therefore, thinking critically and without bias helps them make the most informed decisions.

  • Active Listening:

    This, along with the ability to concentrate and ask the right questions, helps social workers establish trust with clients.

  • Cultural Competence:

    Socials workers must be able to work effectively with clients from diverse backgrounds, and as such they must be knowledgeable and respectful of these backgrounds.

  • Patience:

    Patience is required when working complex cases, and can empower social workers to understand situations while preventing hasty decision-making that can have poor outcomes for clients.

  • Advocacy:

    Social workers are promoters of social justice, and can empower their clients through strong advocacy skills, allowing them to represent their clients and connect them with vital resources.

Grace Care Consulting Can Connect You With Social Workers

Looking for social workers to augment your team? Don’t want to waste time and energy hunting them down yourself? Let Grace Care Consulting do all the hard work to ensure you hire the most qualified professional possible. Please complete our online form or call us anytime to ask questions.