Be a STAR at Behavioral Based Interviewing: DHHS utilizes Behavioral Based Interviewing questions as part of our interviewing process. This allows us to learn about your past behavior in particular situations. Past behavior is the best indicator to predict your future behavior. Everyone who applies for a position within DHHS will receive a STAR Method Tips Sheet which includes a break-down
Why do you want to work as an Eligibility Worker?
Meaningful purpose is the obvious thing. You know that poor people do not have it easy in life, and want to play your part in helping them–at least with a temporary solution of their problems, so they have what to eat and where to sleep.
And since you weren’t lucky enough to earn a degree in social work or psychology or other related field, this is your way of joining the fight against poverty, helping those who need it the most. It’s nice as long as it is honest, but you should not end your answer here.
Tell them also about your skills that make from you a good applicant–at least in your eyes. You have a good understanding of the social services system, the different aids people can apply for. Excelling in administrative work and communication with people–with all kinds of people, in all kinds of physical and mental condition, you feel to be the right man for the job. Hence you decided to apply.
What do you know about our organization and the financial assistance we provide?
Try to learn as much as you can about them before the start of the interview. Most importantly, the eligibility requirements for the applicants, and the main target group of population the organization/institution works with and tries to help.
Read the mission statement on their website, check something about the leaders of the organization, their successes and failures. It is good if you can find something that resonates with you–with your values. Perhaps you feel close to their target group, or consider the type of aid they provide really important in the local community. You should definitely share your sentiments with the hiring mangers.
One way or another, they should get an impression that you did your homework, and that they are your first choice, and you do not apply with five other nonprofits simultaneously. The more you know, the easier it is to make such an impression.
You decide that a client isn’t eligible for the aid. They call you and say bad words, that you ruined their life or something similar. How will you react?
It’s important to be empathic, but also mentally resilient. Ensure the hiring managers that you won’t decide an application in somebody’s favor just because you are afraid of them, or they threaten you, or you feel for them, or anything else.
You will simply follow the procedures, step by step, and decide about each application without emotions. What’s more, you know that not everyone will be happy about your verdict, and that you may hear some bad words on your address in work. But it won’t discourage you, because you have understanding for the feelings of people who struggle.
Hence you will simply explain once again why you could not approve their application, suggest them some options (if there are any), and move on to the next client.
How do you imagine a typical day in a job of an Eligibility Worker?
The most important thing is to show realistic expectations. You will spend the majority of your time in front of a computer screen, or on the call. Filing paperwork, contacting clients, sending emails, and answering phone calls will be your daily bread.
It’s important to not get carried away, saying that you expect to do a lot of field work, or make strategic decisions, or devise new goals and plans for the organization. Because that won’t be the case, and if you expected it, they would not hire you.
Of course what exactly you will do depends on the organization of their office, and you should read the job description carefully before deciding how to answer this question.