With a strong interest in child welfare, there was no question that my interview with a social worker would involve someone who is involved in this area of practice. I did a small amount of internet research and discovered the All Nations Coordinated Response Network (ANCR) in Winnipeg. I discovered that within the Child and Family Services system this agency is generally the first point of contact. With an interest in front line work, I decided to make contact with this agency in hopes of scheduling an interview. I made a phone call to ANCR and spoke to a receptionist with the agency about what I was looking to accomplish. I was more specific than I had originally planned and requested a recent graduate for the interview if possible. I did this in hopes of gaining a better insight of what a career will be like when I, myself am completed university. I was told I would receive a call back within a few days and was excited when I heard from Sophia, a 2011 Bachelor of Social Work graduate from the University of Manitoba. When I spoke with her, I knew she was exactly the person that I wanted to interview. Not only was she working in a career which I am interested in, she was fairly new to this agency but also had experience with another organization that worked with children and their families. I was very interested in hearing her responses and points of view being that she was new to social work practice only a few years ago. Sophia explained to me her current position was a child abuse investigator and her prior position was a family group conference coordinator. With so many options in social work practice, I was very curious as to how she decided what she wanted to do and what prompted her to move from one agency to another.
In speaking with Sophia, I asked her what would work best for her to complete this interview as I knew that she may not have much time to dedicate to me. She told me she was currently quite busy writing reports which she was given time for, although she said she often still found herself taking at least some of it home. She suggested that I email her the questions I had come up with so she could look them over and jot down some answers so she was somewhat prepared. She advised me that she would give me the notes she made and that I could call her if anything else came up. Sophia also advised that I may come up with more questions as I await the interview or as we were doing the interview, and she would be more than happy to answer those as well. We decided on meeting a week from the day I sent her the interview questions, this way she was able to take some time with my questions before we met. We decided on an hour during her lunch break at a small coffee shop in the area and I told her I was looking forward to the interview. I suggested I would follow up with her the day before the interview to make sure that the day we had chosen still worked for her and she agreed. With that, I hung up and within a few days, sent the interview questions to the email she had provided.
For some reason, I felt nervous as soon as I sent the questions to Sophia. I decided to contact my friend Sarah, who had just completed two interviews in her first year of social work at the University of Manitoba for some pointers and to get prepared. She told me the most important thing for me to do would be research the agency in as much detail as possible so I can fully understand what is being said in the interview. I did just that and went over the ANCR website from top to bottom including the portions that I had already read. Sarah also said I should think about how I was conducting the interview and to act as though I was the one being interviewed. She told me to focus on maintaining eye contact, keep an open posture, and ensure effective listening skills. I felt that these tips from Sarah were a huge aid in my preparation as I really did not know what to expect or how to act. I thought it was...
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