Shelter Case Manager jobs are in demand in helping coordinate homeless shelters. The position requires someone with great crisis intervention skills. Key attributes will also include a keen listener, a motivator, and a problem solver. Academic background in Sociology and psychology will also help.
Below we outline 20 questions that will help you prepare for a shelter case manager interview.
1. Why are You Interested in This Role?
The interviewer needs to establish why you have applied for a particular role. Explain in detail why you were drawn to this particular position.
“Having looked at the job description, I believe that my skills, qualities, and qualifications match the job requirements. In my experience, I have engaged with different groups young and old, skilled and unskilled, and through this, I am a good communicator. In addition, I am a great problem solver and crisis manager. I am also a great planner and organizer. Through this, I will be able to organize and coordinate all programs run by the shelter.”
2. What Are The Roles of a Shelter Case Manager?
To establish whether you are a good fit, the interviewer will ask this question. Share from previous experience the roles you have handled. You can also use the job description for this job post as a guide.
“A shelter case manager is responsible for doing the screening, assessment, and intake of homeless adults or families. They also monitor households that are in rental subsidy programs and eviction prevention programs. She will also assist in establishing stable housing for the homeless. She will assist the homeless determine their needs on education, financial and also employment. She can also give referrals and assistance to all walk-in and telephone customers. ”
3. What are the Qualities That a Shelter Case Manager Needs to Be Successful?
The interviewer needs to establish if you possess the qualities to succeed in this post. Here, they want to establish if you can share what is required. Share the qualities while explaining how they are important for success.
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“To succeed in this role you will need skills in crisis prevention and handling substance abuse. Among the homeless handled, there could be some who have been affected by addictions to various substances and you will need to intervene on how they will be assisted by the other programs supporting the shelter. In addition, you will need to be an empath and keen listener to be able to assist the homeless well. Other skills needed are great organization, problem-solving, and report writing. These skills are important in performing the essential job responsibilities.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You manage Them?
The interviewer wants to establish if you possess great problem-solving skills. It is important to share how well you face challenges.
“In my last role, we had an instance where we were full but more homeless people came to be hosted it was a challenge rejecting their applications. Since most are people who have faced rejection many times, we always endeavored to find them an alternative. We linked up with other homeless shelters in other states. This enabled us to do screening and give a referral to a program which was not full so they can get a place to stay.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine as a Shelter Case Manager?
The interviewer wants to establish what your daily routine will look like. It is important to cover every aspect of the job that you expect to handle.
“Daily, I expect that I will handle the walk-in clients, screen them and assess their needs as they come in. I will also check to see that the ones enrolled in the program are well catered for. I will also address any issues that may arise in the in-house clients. I will also ensure that the ones enrolled in various programs are going according to schedule. At the end of the day, I expect to review the daily reports.”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
Experience is good to be able to succeed in this role. The interviewer wants to establish if you are a good fit. Share your academic and work achievements that make you a great candidate.
“In my previous job as a shelter case manager for Care Homes, I was responsible for the intake, screening, and assessment of clients that came to the shelter. I did reports on each case where I outlined how they should be helped. I also organized and run various programs for the shelter to keep the clients engaged such as football challenges and a comedy club. This experience coupled with my degree in Psychology makes me a great fit for this role. I believe I will be able to meet and exceed your expectations.”
7. What Kind of Strategies and Mindset is Required for This Role?
As with any role, you are supposed to have the required mindset and strategy to succeed. The interviewer wants to establish this. Explain how this will be instrumental in succeeding in this particular role.
“This role requires a motivator and a person who never gives up. As you will handle some hopeless situations from time to time, being a motivator will enable one to restore hope where it is completely lost. You will need great listening abilities to be able to assess and screen clients well. As a crisis manager, you will need to be very alert and anticipate any issues that may arise beforehand so that you can come up with a plan of how to handle them.”
8. What Is the Biggest Challenge That You Foresee in This Job?
Any role has to have its challenges. How to navigate them is what sets candidates apart. Explain the expected challenges and propose a way to navigate through them.
“As we are living in interesting times of the Covid 19 Pandemic, I expect that the shelter may operate at full capacity in most times. This comes because of the loss of jobs by many people in the population which may render some homeless. To counter this, I will set up programs where information is shared with other shelters to have a seamless referral program. I will also expect that there could be a poor collaboration with other healthcare providers as they are engaged in fighting the pandemic. I will work on a way to ensure collaboration with other partners of the shelter is well coordinated and the clients are well taken care of.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated in Your Work?
This work may be draining and therefore requires a strong person who can still stay motivated despite the daily situations encountered. Articulate how you are able o stay motivated all through.
“I derive motivation from my personal goals. For me to perform I have to go the extra mile to attain my personal goals. Each day, I strive to do better than the previous day in helping ensure that work runs smoothly. This personal challenge has enabled me to stay upbeat all through as I pursue my goals. I also derive motivation from close collaboration with colleagues and the success of programs we run at the shelter.”
10. Describe a Time When You Failed in This Role and The Lesson You Learnt?
The most important thing in failures is what you learn from them. The interviewer wants to know the lessons you derived from your failures. Give them an account of a failure and what you learned from it.
“One time in my previous role, we too in a client late in the night and as a result, the screening was not well done as we pushed it to the following day. Turned out the client was suffering from substance abuse and would get bouts of violence from time to time. Before dawn, he had caused so much drama that it woke up the other clients. I learned from this that whatever time it is, it is good to ensure that proper screening is done before admission whatever time it may be. Failure to do it may be costly.”
11. Why Do You Feel You are The Most Suited for This Role?
You need to stand out from other clients and therefore the interviewer wants to establish if you are the right one. Share how a combination of your experience and skills makes you stand out.
“Based on my experience and academic background in psychology I can do the work and deliver exceptional results to the program. I will fit in beautifully and be a great addition to the team. From my track record of running successful programs, I believe this will be a great asset to the shelter and all the partners involved in ensuring its smooth running.”
12. Share with Us Your Greatest Achievement.
The interviewer wants to establish if you have proud moments in your career. Share his with a focus on how it will be instrumental to your success at the shelter.
“In my past role, I made it my mission to ensure the program is engaging and valuable. As a result, we added games and a comedy club to ensure it’s fun and interactive. These programs were well received and ended up assisting us in helping some of the clients get a way to support themselves financially. Through the program, we had some identify their artistic talents in comedy and ended up being successful comedians. These moments make me proud as it represents hope for the hopeless.”
13. What Skill Has Served You Best As a Shelter Case Manager?
Some skills are bound to stand out in particular careers. The interviewer wants to establish what you feel you have well utilized in this role. Share the skill that you believe has made you succeed.
“I believe that understanding issues relating to crisis intervention, sexual and domestic violence, and substance abuse has been instrumental in my work. The majority of the clients have one way or another been affected by these issues. My keen attention to detail and listening abilities has helped me assess and identify individual needs successfully.”
14. How Would You Describe Your Working Style as a Shelter Case Manager?
Working style is key in ensuring successful projects. The interviewer wants to know how this will help them run a successful shelter. Share how you work with people.
“As a shelter case manager, I take a hands-on approach in every program run. I ensure I fully participate. This has enabled me to run successful programs and also ensured every team member’s involvement. Teamwork is important in ensuring success in any organization.”
15. How Do You Manage Work-Related Stress?
This position requires crisis intervention and may be stressful. It is important to find ways to relieve the stress. Share the activities you engage in to unwind.
“As this job entails crisis intervention, I could get stressed during the day. To relieve it, I have a variety of activities. I would do breathing exercises for a few minutes in the office if faced with a difficult case. I also enjoy going to the gym and getting a good workout. At the end of the day, I make a great meal and enjoy myself with my family. This energizes me to look forward to another workday.”
16. How Have You Demonstrated Leadership Skills In The Past?
This is a leadership position and therefore requires that you motivate the team members. The interviewer wants to know if you can handle it. Share how you have led and directed a team to achieve outstanding results.
“I would describe my leadership style as direct, and leading by example. I enjoy delegating tasks and taking the lead on projects, but I also like to stay involved and inspire my team by showing that I’m working hands-on. In my previous role, I managed to run a cohesive team that made work enjoyable for everyone through coordination. The team appreciated how well I steering various programs to successful completion.”
17. Have You Ever Mentored a Member of Your Team? What Change Did You Notice in Them?
The interviewer wants to know if you have ever invested in people and how did it go. You can share a story about a favorite employee you worked with and how you mentored them. Share how you ran the program to help them grow and what they were able to achieve after.
“In my previous role, I had an amazing assistant. She had a great attitude but lacked adequate experience in a shelter setting. I offered to mentor her to be great and she accepted. Each week we would set goals and review the past week’s successes or failures over a cup of coffee on Saturday mornings. Some days we had tough conversations and some gave encouraging words. Seeing her transformation from week to week and her commitment to be better was a great experience. I am glad that after three years, she now works as a shelter manager in another state and we are still in touch in helping each other grow.”
18. What Do You Consider To Be The Key In Developing a Great Team?
Teamwork is a key ingredient in ensuring the successful coordination of work programs. The interviewer wants to know if you can develop this skill in a team. Share what you consider to be important for teamwork.
“The key elements to successful teamwork are trust, communication, and effective leadership; a focus on common goals with a collective responsibility for success (or failure). However, without trust and communication, the team will have difficulty functioning effectively.”
19. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Role?
This is one question that when not answered tactfully may lead to disqualification. Do not use this chance to badmouth your current employer. Explain to the interviewer how leaving will impact your career goals.
“I feel like I’m ready to take on more responsibility. I believe I’ve progressed as far as I can in my current role. I also need a change of environment to motivate me. I am interested in developing new skills that aren’t required in my current job.”
20. Share and experience where you took on more responsibilities.
The interviewer wants to know if you are flexible and can assist where needed. Share an experience where you handled duties that were not your primary responsibility and the outcome.
“At one point, our administrative assistant had an emergency and would not be able to report to work. There was no one else to fill in for her. I took up the role for the day. I was able to ensure operations go on seamlessly while also ensuring my work is done.”
The above 20 questions will help you prepare adequately. Use them to prepare your unique answers and you will ace the next interview.