Being good at your job doesn't necessarily mean that you are good at talking about it - and this is often the case for people with learning disability jobs in social care. Interviews can be difficult both for newcomers to the field or industry veterans. These tips and typical interview questions are designed to assist candidates for learning disabilities jobs to prepare for an interview. By following these simple guidelines, success at the interview stage is possible.

When attending a job interview it’s important to arrive well rested, smartly dressed and well informed. Reading over the job description and initial application is a good plan, as is doing background research about the hiring organisation. It is also a good idea to watch or read the news – including relevant trade publications - to identify topical questions that might arise. A wise interviewee also goes in with questions of his or her own fully prepared and ready to be asked.

What you need to know about learning disability jobs.

An interview for a learning disability job isn't just about what’s said but how it is communicated. Being attentive, alert and thoughtful is very important, perhaps more so than in the average interview. Good candidates will demonstrate the ability to work out the thought processes behind questions and anticipate the flow of the conversation.

A learning disability job interview will usually focus on the candidate’s experience with particular types of learning disability and communication issue. It’s appropriate to bring up voluntary as well as professional experience in this context. It will also include questions about the practical skills the candidate has to offer, whether those involve dealing with complicated paperwork or sporting or creative activity.

Because working in a demanding role like this can be stressful, interviewers will often ask about how candidates respond to stress and what approaches they use to manage it. Interviews for supervisory positions may also look at how this is managed within teams. This is a good opportunity to talk about communication in the context of teamwork.

Most interviews include at least one ethical question describing a scenario and asking how the candidate would deal with it. To score well on a question like this it’s not necessary to get the ‘right’ answer (even if there is one). What matters is demonstrating an awareness of the issues that need to be considered.

Our recruiters in care outline their top interview prep tip in the video below:

Learning disability job interview questions.

We've put together some example interview questions and answers to help you out:

What training do you have in working with people with learning disabilities?

The interviewer is not just asking for a repeat of the information on your CV.  Provide something additional, giving the story between the lines, and mention things such as on-the-job learning, wider reading, and other training that is specifically relevant to the job at hand. 

What special skills can you bring to the job?

It is always important to know the details of the job description in advance of the interview, and this is an opportunity to match your own particular skills with the needs of the job role.  Focus on exemplifying how your individual talents can be put to use in the new job position.

What personal qualities help you to communicate with learning disabled people?

The interviewer is looking for a picture of your professional and interpersonal communication skills.  Be positive in describing personal attributes such as patience or clarity, and place these firmly in a practical setting, with examples from real life.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt out of your depth? If so, what did you do?

Prepare for this question in advance by thinking of a situation that you have found challenging but that has brought out positive coping skills.  In the interview, approach the answer positively, emphasising the solution to the situation rather than the difficulties involved.

Have you ever felt threatened by a client? If so, how did you handle it?

The interviewer would like to know how you cope in challenging situations involved in learning disability jobs, including being physically challenged. Remain positive in the answer, without being overly critical of the client or your employer. Focus, instead, on the positive personal qualities that you have demonstrated in a challenging communication situation, resolving it respectfully and competently.

How would you work with a client who couldn't communicate?

This sort of question is a chance to demonstrate practical problem-solving in a care situation involving learning disabilities.  Try to tie your answer in with some actual examples of what you have done, or what you would have done in a specific situation.

How would you describe yourself as a professional?

The interview is an opportunity for the interviewer to gain a more rounded picture of the applicant than is available from the CV.  In turn, questions like this give the candidate an opportunity to paint a positive portrait of themselves in a care context.  Focus on the attributes that are relevant to learning disability jobs, such as patience and good communication skills. Then describe situations where those attributes have been demonstrated in practice and say how you put them to use a professional context.

What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?

As a general interview question, this is one of the easiest to predict, so it is important to prepare carefully.  Focus on being practical in demonstrating how your personal qualities can be put to use in the work environment, giving specific examples.  

Where else have you applied for interviews?

Be honest in this answer, but focus on how personal attributes match the job position under discussion during the interview.  The interviewer may want to find out if the history of applications demonstrates ambition, but will also want to know how committed you are to the vacancy at hand.

What makes you the best choice for this job?

Use background knowledge of the job description and the employer to prepare an answer to this question in advance.  It is often a good idea to outline past achievements and then describe how the qualities that were displayed on these occasions can be put to positive use in the new job.

Why is this job particularly appealing to you?

This question is an opportunity to demonstrate enthusiasm about the position in question and personal compatibility with the qualities that are required in the job description. The staff at Randstad can help further with advice on interview preparation.