50 Questions for the CPS Interview (Plus Sample Answers)
Child Protective Services, or CPS, is a part of social services that looks out for the safety and well-being of children by investigating and taking action. CPS specialists may be asked about their methods, strategies, and past jobs during an interview for this group. If you want to get a job with CPS, it’s best to look over the questions and answers ahead of time. This article has general, experience-based, and in-depth interview questions, as well as sample answers that can help you think of your own.
The hiring manager can find out more about you and decide if you are a good fit for the job by asking you general interview questions. During an interview with CPS, you might be asked some of the following general questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What made you want to work for CPS?
- How do you get going?
- What do you really care about?
- Where do you want your job to be in five years?
- What are your current career goals?
- How do you do your work?
- What do you say to people?
- Have a favorite way that you like to lead?
- Tell me about a day at work that went well.
- Describe a perfect leader.
- What’s the best thing about your job as a social worker?
- What’s the worst thing about your job as a social worker?
- What makes you want to do this job?
- What would you change about the way this works?
- Do you believe that one person can change the world?
Questions about work and history from the past
When you are asked about your experience and background, most of the questions are about your past jobs and experiences. During a CPS interview, you might be asked the following questions about your background and past jobs:
- When did you first start working as a social worker?
- Have you gone to college or university?
- What was your last social work position?
- Why did you leave your last position?
- What responsibilities did you manage in your last position?
- Do you have any important certifications?
- How old are most of the people you work with?
- Have you ever done any work with families?
- How did you start working?
- Have you ever had to deal with a tough situation at work?
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with something hard.
- Tell me about a time you got along with a coworker.
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem while working on a case?
- Have you ever done work that didn’t pay or paid very little?
- How does volunteering make you feel?
- How do you feel when you are in dirty places?
- What are you most proud of in your work?
The person in charge of hiring you might ask you detailed questions about your ideas and plans for social work. Here are some more specific questions you might get:
- How do you decide who your most important clients are?
- What does it mean to protect a child in a complex way?
- Tell me about your area’s government.
- How do you remember every case?
- Tell me about a law you think has something to do with this job.
- Tell us how you plan to keep learning and getting better at your job.
- How do you evaluate someone’s mental health?
- How do you collaborate with others in your field?
- Which is more important, a short-term treatment or one that lasts for a long time?
- How do you tell yourself what is too much?
- Tell me what you know about the current laws about welfare.
- What do you think about family therapy?
- How can you tell if someone is being treated unfairly?
- How do you get to other people’s houses?
- Sample interview questions and how to answer them
Here are some possible answers to questions about CPS that a hiring manager might ask during an interview. You can get ready for your interview by practicing with these questions and answers:
1. Tell me about the clients you think are the most difficult to help.
In social work, professionals deal with a wide range of people and situations. This question could be asked by the person in charge of hiring you to find out how you feel about social work and how you feel about different clients. To answer, think about what you can do to help other people and keep a positive attitude.
“When older kids don’t think they’re important, it’s hard to work with them. They’ve been through a lot in their lives, so sometimes it’s hard to talk to them. Even though it’s hard, I like working with them because they push me to find new ways to connect people and keep making lives better.
2. Tell me what you’re going to do in case of an emergency.
Crisis intervention is a planned way to help someone who is in trouble or in an unexpected situation. The hiring manager may ask you this question to see how well you handle conflicts and if you can use those skills in CPS functions. To answer, you should focus on strategies that put the client first, like listening and talking.
“I worked at a local hospital in the unit for children’s mental health care. Each child had a long-time nurse who was their favorite. Many of the kids didn’t like it when she stopped working. I thought this might happen, so I made plans for her to have a party with the other kids in the unit to say goodbye. So that the change would be easier, we told them about the new caretaker at the same party. I talked to each child and listened carefully as they told me how they felt about the new staff.”
3. Can you tell me about a time when a client didn’t want to do what you asked?
A treatment plan is a set of steps you take to help people with problems get better. The person who is hiring you might ask you this question to see how smart and flexible you are. With this question, they can also see how well your values match those of their branch. To answer, think about how creative, flexible, and good at working with clients you are.
Example: “When I worked in the mental health unit for kids, I had a client who wouldn’t eat at mealtimes unless they got a few specific foods. They were very picky about what they ate, and we couldn’t get them to eat at meals no matter what we did. Part of their treatment plan was to eat healthy meals on a regular schedule, but they wouldn’t do it.
“We tried giving them reasons to eat and punishing them when they didn’t, but neither worked. After talking to the client, I realized that they were picky eaters because they didn’t feel like they had control. I told them that if they ate the food I gave them, they could choose when to clean during the week. After a few weeks, the client had almost eaten every meal.”