Youth counselors offer guidance in schools, community centers and rehab facilities. They may work with youth one-one-one or in group settings to tackle issues such as bullying, declining grades and divorce. Youth counselors need strong work ethics, solid communication skills and effective coping mechanisms to be successful. Interview questions about practical experience, professional demeanor, time-management skills and conflict resolution skills help employers identify competent, compassionate workers.
A potential employer may ask you, “What client group do you have the most experience working with?” Employers want to gauge how well a counselor will gel with an assigned group of youths. Various environments call for different approaches when interacting with youth and their families. For example, your experience working in a seasonal educational camp may not easily translate to work at a year-round rehab facility. Counselors with no previous experience or those transitioning from different environments, meanwhile, should convey their adaptability and willingness to learn.
Employers may ask questions to determine your professionalism in the workplace. They may ask, "What would you do if you suspected a youth was being emotionally abused at home?” or “How would you proceed if a youth alleged physical abuse during a counseling session?” Employers look for counselors who keep their cool in unpleasant situations. Effective youth counselors provide guidance without overstepping protocol, even when facing ethical dilemmas. In addition, employers may ask counselors to describe their system of dealing with workplace stress.
“Do you use productivity apps in your daily routine?” and “How do you balance completing paperwork with providing guidance?” are questions meant to evaluate your time-management skills. Employers seek counselors who can multitask and stay organized as they maintain active schedules. In addition to counseling youth under their supervision, counselors also spend time collaborating with colleagues on individual development plans and group activities. Youth counselors also must make time to meet with guardians to discuss the challenges and triumphs in their children's lives.
Youth counselors often have to handle conflict, which prompts another set of interview questions. “What advice would you give to youth facing ostracism?” and “When would you contact an alleged bully’s guardians and what would you do if they were angry you made contact?” are questions you may be asked. Youth counselors must recognize and prevent conflict in real time to prevent small issues from ballooning into major confrontations. Your answers will help employers determine whether you are a level-headed individual who knows when to call in reinforcements.
- O*NET OnLine: Summary Report for: 21-1012.00 - Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
- Fordham University: Selected Interview Questions for Counselors
- School Counselor: Possible Interview Questions for School Counselors
- University of Montana: Interview Questions for School Counselors
- Photo Credit alexsokolov/iStock/Getty Images
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