The time has come for you as a care worker, or other person of noteworthy interest involved in the social care field, to step up to a managerial position. That's great! However, you might understandably have a few hesitations regarding what to expect in a service manager job interview. This is quite understandable, but fortunately most candidates find that a management-level interview is quite similar to what they've experienced at lower levels in terms of the actual structure, format, and preparation requirements.

How to prepare for a service manager interview.

Getting ready.

Like other interviews, one of the most important things those interviewing for any management job is to thoroughly research the organisation or Local Authority where the opening is based. Interviews are so much more than just simple question and answer sessions. Candidates often find that they're asked things to the effect of “what do you know about us?” or “what are some things you know about us that fit in line with your own personal values?” This reveals the interviewer whether or not the candidate would be an actual fit within the organisation or service, or if the candidate is simply just going through the motions in order to get the job, which is rarely the case in the end. 

In addition to this, candidates will also need to thoroughly review their own documents to assess their suitability for a management-level role. Of course, this is something that should have been done prior to applying for the job, but once candidates have secured themselves an interview they'll need to highlight exactly why they're an ideal fit for the job. Service managers will need to flex any relevant degrees they have on hand in addition to outlining their most relevant experience. Modern openings will also require service managers to overlook systems and ensure they're compliant with CQC standards: any relevant experience will lean hugely in the candidate's favour.

Staff coordination is also important in service manager jobs. While this is a rare opportunity for those to gain experience in, any candidates who come equipped with any opportunities to discuss times they've managed teams or helped organised the flow of personnel amongst an organisation will surely be in with a better chance of landing the job as opposed to those who haven't had these experiences.

Learning from interviews.

Unfortunately, not every interview will end with a successful result. However, candidates should use these as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth for future opportunities. Perhaps there was some sort of failing in terms of their delivery within the interview, which can be worked on for a later stage. Many candidates report feeling nervous with regards to answering the basic questions involved in an interview, which should be thoroughly reviewed prior to attending so that they have an idea of what to expect before it actually happens. Many agencies and organisations in the United Kingdom also offer life skills based courses, which allow candidates to become more proficient in the interview process amongst other hiring requirements in a more simulated environment.

Wherever possible, candidates should ask interviewers for feedback when it's appropriate in order to help better guide their reflections. Obviously this wouldn't be immediately following the interview, since this would leave both the candidate and interviewer on a bad note with one another. If candidates are declined for the position and contacted at a later date, then that is the point when they should ask for further feedback.

General interview etiquette.

Of course, the standards of interview etiquette also apply for management-level positions. Candidates shouldn't feel that because they're of a higher status and of more educational or experiential worth that they'll whiz through the interview. Candidates will still have to show up shortly before it actually happens, wait within the lobby or reception, and try to small talk any available personnel where possible in order to help boost their opinion. 

While conducting themselves during the interview, candidates should not appear as if they're too rigid in their approach to the entire experience. An interview isn't necessarily meant to be an interrogation procedure (although it's often perceived to be!) Instead, candidates should be more relaxed in their approach to the experience and come across as confident, easy going and able to perform the duties as required. Any appearance of fear or insecurity will definitely come back to haunt candidates after the interview. Usually, they'll be declined.