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  • Writer's pictureKai Searle - Social Work Resource Consultant

Overcoming challenges during the pandemic

In 2020 the world experienced an event not seen for 100 years, a global health pandemic. This brought with it unprecedented challenges for the social work sector. Social Workers have been essential key workers working on the frontline throughout the crisis and have been responding and adapting to the vast range of health, social and economic dimensions of this pandemic.

Social Workers have never been more needed, providing direct support to our nation’s most vulnerable children, young people, and adults during what has been a period of isolation for many. Providing as much continuity of service as possible with the restrictions in place as well as responding to new demands and expectations.

Both Children’s and Adult’s Social Workers have had their own specific challenges to rise to. With schools being closed for such a long period of time, their return in September sadly saw a dramatic increase in child protection referrals and as such local authorities rushed to appoint school Social Workers to meet this demand. For Adult Social Workers, this time of year is always trying with ‘winter pressures’ but even more so this year with the added strain from Covid. Across all age groups there has been a ‘tsunami’ of mental health issues caused directly or indirectly by the virus. This has put a huge strain on mental health services up and down the country and experts are predicting the mental health consequences of the pandemic will be immense and long-lasting.

Many Local Authorities have had to adapt to home working, with the majority of Social Workers being based at home, undertaking visits and assessments in the community as needed. This has led to improved ways of working for Social Workers, which may change the way social work is carried out for the better. What do you think?

The hiring and onboarding process has certainly changed for local authorities during this pandemic. With face to face interviews being replaced with video interviews over Teams, Zoom or Google hangouts. 3D Recruit have been coaching the Social Workers we work through this new process and on how to perform well during these interviews. If you are in the process of job searching, or are interviewing at the moment then here are some of our top tips on how to nail your next interview:

Ensure you are in a well-lit, quiet area, away from distractions and noise if possible. Make sure your phone is on silent throughout the interview. Position your camera view/ webcam, so that you have a neutral background away from distractions. Zoom and Microsoft teams both have features in which you are =able to blur your background or change your background if you are unable to create this naturally.

Ensure that you will not be interrupted during your interview by locking the door or letting others in your household know when you’ll be interviewing.

For your video interview you should dress professionally, the same way that you would for a face to face interview.

Maintaining good eye contact is great interview etiquette and portrays confidence and creates a connection between you and the interviewer. Although you are not in a face to face interview setting this is still really important. This can be achieved by looking directly into your camera or webcam when answering an interviewer’s questions.

Maintain positive body language. Keep good posture and try avoid diverting your gaze away from the camera/ webcam. When listening, Nod and smile where appropriate.

For a lot of you, video interviews will be a new experience. So, it’s vital to ensure you practice with these video call platforms, so you’re proficient in their use before interview. Practice with friends or family and get them to provide feedback on your body language, eye contact, appearance etc. This way when it’s time to interview, you’ll be a natural!

As we have all learnt during lockdown, when it comes to technology, there’s always a chance things could go wrong. Just in case your connection cuts out during the interview, at the beginning of the call, ask the interviewer for a convenient contact number to reach them on should anything go wrong.

Here at 3D Recruit our consultants have been working right through the pandemic supporting our social workers and being on hand around the clock to provide guidance, advice, and recruitment support. Work life has changed drastically for us also. Working from home in makeshift office spaces, with registrations and team meetings all taking place on Microsoft teams or Zoom. It’s ­taken some getting used to it and there’s some certainly been some hurdles, however the business has made some huge innovations during this period. Everyone is missing the busy office atmosphere; however, the team have been replicating this by keeping in touch regularly over video calls throughout the day.

If you fancy a chat about how the job market is looking during the pandemic, or just want to talk all things social work, then give one of the team a call on 01424 775 404.

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