Whether you specialize in mentoring teenagers or younger children, working with youth can lead to a rewarding career. To get the right job that matches your skill set and professional goals, you must position yourself as a strong candidate. By reviewing common youth work interview questions and practicing answers, you can feel more confident. In this article, we discuss 85 interview questions for youth worker positions and provide some sample answers.
General questions for a youth work interview
Here are 25 youth worker interview questions that help the hiring team get to know you:
Can you introduce yourself?
What motivates you to perform your best at work?
What is your biggest strength when it comes to youth work?
What is your biggest weakness when mentoring youth?
Can you share your biggest professional accomplishment?
Would you say that you’re good at working under pressure?
Do you think you do your best work independently or as part of a team?
Do you have a strategy for balancing collaboration with independence?
How do you attempt to overcome your professional weaknesses?
Do you have strong time management skills?
Can you explain how you prioritize tasks and plan your day?
What do you consider your top three skills?
What’s the area where you think you have the most room for improvement?
Can you motivate yourself, or do you need constant instruction from a supervisor?
Can you discuss a time when you felt motivated to complete a daunting task?
Would you say you have good listening skills? Can you share an example?
Can you talk about a time when you achieved a major professional goal?
When it comes to youth work, what’s your greatest passion?
Why are you leaving your current position?
Can you explain why this position interests you?
Why do you want to work at our organization?
Why do you think this organization should hire you?
How long do you anticipate working with youth?
What do you see yourself doing in five years?
Have you read our organization’s mission statement and do you agree with it?
Questions about experience and background
Here are 25 questions that ask you to describe your experience working with youth:
What kind of experience do you have with youth work?
Do you have experience working with [relevant at-risk group]?
Which job would you say has specifically prepared you for this role?
Do you have any faith-based training that would apply to youth work?
How do you think your training or experience will help you when working with youth?
Can you explain how your university degree informs your work?
What sources do you rely on for new ideas or research about youth work?
What sources do you use to stay current with youth culture?
Can you discuss your management or supervisory experience?
Would you share a positive experience you’ve had with teamwork?
Can you share a positive experience with managing a team?
Have you had any negative experiences when managing a team?
Do you have experience with public speaking?
Have you ever been published in a professional context?
Do you have experience with training youth?
Have you developed your own curriculum for teaching youth?
Have you organized a diverse group of youth and encouraged them to work together?
Do you have a workout routine to maintain the physical fitness you need to work with youths?
Can you discuss a time when you successfully mentored or coached a teenager?
Have you ever gone above and beyond what your job title required?
What do you do when you identify a problem at work?
How do you control your own emotions when dealing with a challenging situation at work?
Have you worked for an organization while it underwent a big change? How did you cope?
Have you managed an extremely stressful situation? What did you do?
Can you discuss a time when you voluntarily took on new responsibilities?
In-depth interview questions for youth workers
Here are 25 more in-depth child and youth worker interview questions:
Can you explain your style or approach when working with youth?
Can you share a time that you had to manage an emotional or angry youth?
What types of activities do you typically plan for [relevant at-risk group] youth?
When working with youth, what do you think are the three most important elements?
How do you go about planning youth group trips?
What do you think makes a youth group trip successful?
Have you ever led an unsuccessful trip or event? How did you respond?
Can you discuss a time when you led a team?
Can you share a time when you had a negative experience with a coworker?
Would you talk about an instance when you disagreed with a supervisor?
What’s the best way to encourage youth to look up to you and model your behavior?
Can you explain a positive quality that you modeled and that youth learned from you?
Would you say that you’re teachable?
What do you think are the biggest problems the youths we work with are facing?
Can you discuss a time when you successfully engaged a youth who was reluctant to listen or change their behavior?
Do you have a strategy for getting more introverted youth to participate?
Do you have a strategy for providing ongoing support for youth, even after they’ve moved on from our program?
How often do you make a point of speaking with the parents of the youths you mentor, and what do you discuss?
Discuss a method you’ve developed for enforcing rules.
Can you discuss a time when you came up with a creative solution to a particularly challenging problem?
Have you ever prevented a serious problem because you could foresee the other person’s reaction?
Have you researched a situation by asking multiple people for their observations? How did you decide what input was valid?
Have you ever experienced a serious test of your ethics?
What do you think will be your biggest challenge in this role?
What would you like to accomplish in this position?
Youth worker interview questions and answers
These 10 youth work interview questions and answers can give you a better idea of how to formulate an effective response:
1. Why did you apply for this job?
Hiring managers often ask youth interview questions like this because they want to know what attracted you to the role. In your answer, be specific about what you like about the role or organization and discuss why you would be a good fit.
Example answer: “I applied for this role because I fully support the organization’s mission to empower youth. I think this position would allow me to use my prior mentorship experience and improve my leadership skills.”
2. What are the most important skills for a youth worker?
An interviewer might start with a question like this to confirm that you have a strong understanding of the position. List two or three skills you think are essential and explain your reasoning.
Example answer: “In my experience, patience, empathy and listening are the most important skills for youth workers. I’ve learned that teenagers do things on their own schedule, and I can best help them by actively listening and empathizing with them.”
3. What’s the biggest professional challenge you’ve overcome?
Hiring managers typically want to assess what you consider challenging and what you do to solve such big problems. Explain why you found the situation difficult and what steps you took to resolve it.
Example answer: “In my last job, I worked with some youths who repeatedly broke rules. Rather than expelling them, I proposed that we offer each of them one-on-one mentorship sessions and ask them to commit to a strict set of rules. All of the youths stayed with the program, and I still serve as an informal mentor to two of them.”
4. What do you think is the next step for your career?
Many interviewers raise this question to assess whether you can grow with the role or the organization. If you envision yourself taking on more responsibilities or a leadership role, explain your plans.
Example answer: “Currently I’m ready to transition out of a junior role and into a standard program coordinator position. Within the next three years, I’d like to improve my management skills and move into a supervisor role so I can contribute more and share what I’ve learned with the organization.”
5. How do you approach long-term objectives?
Potential employers may want to confirm that you can set and achieve ambitious objectives. Explain how you set goals and how you keep yourself motivated to achieve them.
Example answer: “I regularly set long-term goals because I’ve found that they help me grow the most. I decide on a time frame and a method right away and break down the steps into weekly or monthly tasks. I’ve found that when I use this strategy, I’m continually making progress toward something big.”
6. Can you describe a successful youth program you led?
Interviewers often want to know how you define success and whether you’ve experienced it. In your answer, clarify your definition of success and discuss how you achieved it.
Example answer: “I proposed a new after-school program focused on arts and crafts after reading research that discussed the importance of creativity for youths. My goal was for at least 50 participants to join the program and give it at least a four-star rating at the end. The trial run had 75 participants, and they gave it an average of 4.5 stars, which exceeded my expectations.”
7. Can you share a time when you changed a program to meet participant needs?
A hiring manager may raise this question to assess how flexible you are. Explain how you decided to alter the program and how you accommodated participants’ needs.
Example answer: “I recently led an intramural sports program and recognized that some students were hesitant to participate. I asked them what would make them more comfortable and learned that they felt it was too competitive. I changed the rules to make the program less competitive while still engaging the students who appreciated that aspect.”
8. What do you do when youths don’t want to be helped?
An interviewer might ask this question to assess your communication and interpersonal skills. Explain your process and the skills you use.
Example answer: “I understand that positive change takes time. When youths resist being helped, I set a goal of befriending them and encouraging them to trust me instead. I remain patient and keep an open line of communication until they’re ready to work with me.”
9. Can you discuss a time when you disagreed with a coworker?
Occasional workplace conflicts are inevitable, and hiring managers want reassurance that you can handle them gracefully. Discuss how you worked with your colleague to resolve the issue and what you learned.
Example answer: “In my last job, I disagreed with a peer about how to allocate responsibilities. I suggested that we list the duties we did or didn’t want and then try to assign them fairly. We balanced our tasks successfully and became a much stronger team as a result.”
10. What makes you the best candidate for the role?
Interviewers often give you a chance to pitch yourself as a strong candidate. Take the opportunity to summarize your relevant experience and skills and explain what unique aspects you would contribute to the role.
Example answer: “I think I’m a strong candidate because I have all the experience and skills you’ve asked for plus extra experience working with elementary-age children. Since my goal is to become a program manager, I would like to be able to grow into a similar role with this organization within the next few years.”
I hope you find this article helpful.