Top 20 Oklahoma Department of Human Services Interview Questions and Answers

Interviewing for a role at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS)? As one of the largest state agencies dedicated to enhancing the lives of vulnerable Oklahomans, OKDHS offers rewarding career opportunities for those passionate about making a difference. However, landing a job at OKDHS requires preparation, as the interview process aims to thoroughly assess a candidate’s qualifications and fit for the role

In this article, we provide a breakdown of the top 20 most commonly asked OKDHS interview questions along with sample responses. With insights into the hiring process and inside tips on how to ace the interview, you’ll gain the confidence boost needed to put your best foot forward. Let’s dive in!

Overview of OKDHS and the Hiring Process

OKDHS serves over 2 million Oklahomans through various programs spanning child welfare, aging services, child support enforcement, and more. The department prioritizes hiring candidates committed to its mission of helping Oklahomans live safer, healthier and more independent lives.

The OKDHS hiring process typically involves:

  • Submitting an online application
  • Initial phone screening
  • In-person panel interview with 2-5 interviewers
  • Skills testing or written assessment (for some roles)
  • Reference and background checks
  • Final job offer

The in-person interview aims to thoroughly evaluate the candidate’s qualifications, critical thinking skills, judgment and personal attributes. An understanding of the most common questions asked is key to formulating winning responses.

Top 20 OKDHS Interview Questions and Answers

Here are 20 of the most frequently asked OKDHS interview questions with tips on how to best address them:

1. Why do you want to work for OKDHS?

This question gauges your motivation for joining OKDHS. The interviewer wants to understand your passion for the organization’s mission and assess your commitment to public service.

Sample Response: I’m driven by the opportunity to make a direct, positive impact on the lives of fellow Oklahomans. Having volunteered with at-risk youth programs in the past, I’m inspired by OKDHS’s commitment to protecting our state’s most vulnerable citizens. I admire the breadth of services OKDHS provides, from child welfare to aging services, that aim to offer Oklahomans the tools needed to live fuller, more stable lives. Joining the OKDHS team would allow me to align my skills and values toward creating meaningful change in my community.

2. Why are you interested in this role?

With this question, the interviewer wants to determine if you truly understand the role and if it aligns with your career goals. Convey your enthusiasm for the position and highlight how your background makes you a great fit.

Sample Response: As a caseworker role focused on child protective services, this position strongly resonates with my social work background and passion for enhancing outcomes for at-risk youth and families. Conducting assessments, facilitating service plans, and intervening in cases of abuse or neglect closely aligns with my training in family dynamics and child development. After interning with a nonprofit that served foster children, I was drawn to the front-line nature of this role and its direct involvement in the lives of vulnerable youth. I’m confident my mix of education and experience has prepared me to take on the responsibilities and make a meaningful difference.

3. What do you know about OKDHS?

With this common question, the interviewer assesses your interest in and knowledge of the department. Be sure to highlight key facts about the agency’s services, scale, and mission.

Sample Response: As the largest state agency in Oklahoma, I’m impressed by the breadth of services OKDHS provides to over 2 million Oklahomans each year. With over 7,000 employees across the state, OKDHS delivers critical programs ranging from child welfare and child support enforcement, to aging services and assistance for low-income families. I’m particularly passionate about the department’s commitment to child well-being through protective services and family-centered programs. And I strongly connect with OKDHS’s mission to help Oklahomans lead healthier, more independent lives through education, support and protection. The opportunity to serve my fellow citizens by joining such an impactful agency is extremely appealing.

4. How does your background make you a strong candidate for this role?

With this question, the interviewer wants to understand how your past experiences directly translate to the role. Be specific in connecting your credentials, hard and soft skills to the position’s responsibilities.

Sample Response: Through my Master’s studies in social work and previous roles in the nonprofit sector, I’ve developed specializations that make me well-prepared for the core duties of this position. Coursework in family dynamics along with 400 hours of field experience have equipped me to conduct thorough biopsychosocial assessments and recognize risk factors. My counseling internship allowed me to hone techniques for engaging resistant clients through empathy and trust-building. And as an education coordinator for an underserved youth program, I fine-tuned my abilities to liaise with interdisciplinary teams and community partners to deliver well-rounded support. I’m confident my mix of education, field training and hands-on experience has prepared me to take on the complex responsibilities of this role and contribute to positive outcomes.

5. How would you handle an uncooperative or hostile client?

Questions about managing difficult clients test your interpersonal skills and professionalism. Demonstrate how you remain calm and control interactions without compromising service.

Sample Response: When faced with an uncooperative or hostile client, I would first seek to understand the root of their frustration through active listening. I’ve found that showing genuine empathy, even in tense situations, can open the door to constructive dialogue. However, if their hostility persists, I would firmly yet politely set boundaries around respectful interaction. I would clarify which services I can and cannot provide based on my role and the agency’s protocols. My aim would be to find common ground and offer solutions tailored to what is within my capacity, all while maintaining a professional, compassionate manner. If the hostility continues and starts impacting my ability to do my job or threatens safety, I would politely end the interaction and consult my supervisor on proper next steps. Overall, I would strive to resolve the situation calmly to achieve the best outcome for the client.

6. How would you handle a heavy caseload while maintaining quality of service?

This question tests your time management skills and ability to prioritize effectively. Demonstrate your strategy for working efficiently under pressure.

Sample Response: In handling a heavy caseload, I would employ a triage system to ensure the highest risk and most urgent cases receive priority while steadily progressing through lower risk items. I would create a detailed tracking system to monitor case timelines, deadlines and client interactions, allowing me to balance my efforts strategically. Asking for manager guidance on priorities would also help me focus my energy where it is most needed. I would leverage organizational tools like shared calendars to facilitate collaboration with my team and ensure we have coverage at all times. While moving rapidly through tasks, I would maintain diligent documentation and client communication to avoid errors or oversights. My goal would be to work efficiently and keep all stakeholders informed while delivering the individualized attention each case deserves.

7. How do you stay up-to-date on the latest best practices in your field?

This question reveals your commitment to continuous learning and professional development. Highlight the resources and activities you engage in to evolve your skills.

Sample Response: I recognize the importance of continually expanding my knowledge as best practices evolve. I maintain an active membership in industry associations, like the National Association of Social Workers, to access the latest research through journals and conferences. I also leverage free online courses and webcasts to enhance my expertise on emerging topics. Within my team, I collaborate and exchange insights with colleagues to incorporate different perspectives. Reading widely from thought leaders’ books and publications ensures I’m informed on new frameworks and approaches as well. I also volunteer in the community to witness first-hand how new theories are being applied successfully. Overall, combining external learning and on-the-ground experiences allows me to integrate the most current best practices into my own work.

8. How do you handle working with individuals from diverse backgrounds?

OKDHS serves a diverse clientele. This question gauges your cultural competence and ability to interact sensitively with individuals of all backgrounds.

Sample Response: Throughout my training and experiences, I’ve learned the importance of maintaining cultural humility when working with diverse populations. I would actively listen without judgment to understand each individual’s unique needs and perspectives. Recognizing that my own biases can be a barrier, I continuously self-reflect to ensure I am viewing issues through an inclusive, compassionate lens. I also make an effort to learn about the cultures, values and communication styles of the communities I serve. My focus is always on making each individual feel respected, comfortable and heard. If I find myself out of my depth with a particular population, I will proactively seek guidance from team members with specialized expertise to improve my effectiveness and sensitivity. Overall, I aim to celebrate diversity while finding common ground.

9. Tell me about a time you successfully collaborated with a team.

This question gauges your teamwork ability. Share a specific example that highlights your collaborative skills and impact.

Sample Response: In my last role, I spearheaded a new after-school program for underserved youth

Prepare for the Interview

  • Choose an interview committee.
  • Prepare questions exploring past job performance and covering position functions. The sample questions below can help.
  • You can get help coming up with behavioral interview questions from the HR Employment Office.
  • Meet with the interview committee to go over the questions and how the interview will work.
  • Use the same interview questions for each candidate.

Interviewing Details

As an example, it is against the law to treat different candidates differently because of the following: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar state laws

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Creed
  • Sex, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions
  • Marital status
  • National origin
  • Ancestry

Other laws prohibit questions about military background, age, disability, or union membership. Generally, do not ask about:

  • Medical or mental health history
  • National origin and citizenship status
  • Height, weight, or physical characteristics
  • Disability
  • Being a part of professional or community groups that would show nationality, race, gender, religion, or any of the other categories that are protected by fair employment practice laws
  • Military service history
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Receipt of unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, or disability benefits
  • Child care situation, family planning, or number of children
  • Religion or religious beliefs

The following are samples of questions which should be avoided. This is not an all-inclusive list.

  • “What is your maiden name?”
  • “Do you own or rent your home?”
  • “What is your age?”
  • “Where do you live?”
  • “What is your date of birth?”
  • “Are you married?”
  • Questions that make it likely that a job applicant is over 40
  • The dates of going to or finishing elementary or high school
  • Where the applicant or their parents, spouse, or other family member was born
  • “Are you a U. S. Citizen?” or “What is your citizenship or the citizenship of your parents, spouse, or other family member?”
  • Questions as to race, nationality, national origin, or descent.
  • “What language did your mom speak?” or “What language do you speak at home?”
  • Applicants marital status.
  • The number or ages of children or dependents.
  • Provisions for child care.
  • Pregnancy, childbearing or birth control.
  • Questions which indicate an applicants sex.
  • The applicants height and weight.
  • Applicants general medical condition, state of health, or illness.
  • Questions regarding HIV, AIDS, and related questions.
  • “Have you ever filed a workers compensation claim?”
  • “Do you have any mental or physical disabilities or handicaps?”
  • “Have you ever been arrested?”
  • Applicants credit rating.
  • Ownership of a car.
  • Organizations, clubs, societies or lodges which an applicant belongs to.
  • People who have religious duties that keep them from working on Friday nights, Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays
  • Asking an applicant the origin of their name.
  • “Do you speak __________________?” (unless a requirement for the job).
  • “Do you have any kind of mental or physical disability that will need reasonable accommodations?”

Human Services Interview (HD2335)

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