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Alcohol and Drug Counselor Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 30
Tell me about your previous boss.
View Answer
How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know more about your professional relationships. No matter how difficult, unfair or terrible your previous boss was, use this question as an opportunity to share what you learned from them and what you learned from your last role. The world of counseling can be small so avoid speaking poorly of anyone for whom you have worked!
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Answer Examples
1.
Tell me about your previous boss.
The interviewer wants to know more about your professional relationships. No matter how difficult, unfair or terrible your previous boss was, use this question as an opportunity to share what you learned from them and what you learned from your last role. The world of counseling can be small so avoid speaking poorly of anyone for whom you have worked!

Rachelle's Answer
"My former boss taught me the importance of precision. He was particular about every little detail, from preparing for client appointments to filling out reports. I learned how to tune my skills and identify the slightest details that could make all the difference in a life or death situation."
2.
What is your greatest strength?
This question is a common interview question. Tell the interviewer that you are the best person for the job and that you have qualities, skills, and the experience that set you apart from the competition. If leading a team is your strength, let the interviewer know and that you are someone who will make an excellent addition to the team.

Rachelle's Answer
"My greatest strength is my ability to bring everyone together. Not only for projects or during work but I have a knack for bringing people together outside of work as well."
3.
What are your salary expectations?
In many states, it is now illegal for hiring authorities to ask about your current earnings. A question like this will give the interviewer a solid idea of what you are hoping to earn. When you change positions, you want to see an increase in wage. Most interviewees will typically aim for a 7-15% increase for each time they change jobs. This range offers room for negotiations with the new company. This percentage increase reflects economic inflation, unique skills you bring to the table from the last time you joined an organization, and an increase in responsibilities. The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example if you are comfortable doing so. If this makes you uncomfortable, do give as many indicators as you can. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.

If you are newer to your career, or the area, and are unsure of what a fair ask may be, there are many reliable salary calculators available online.

Rachelle's Answer
"Currently, I earn $50,000 per year with two weeks' paid vacation and full health benefits. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the responsibilities of this role and provides an opportunity to learn new skills."
4.
Why do you want a career as an alcohol and drug counselor?
This question is similar to the pervasive ‘Tell me about yourself’ question. Take this time to explain to the interviewer what events, school and experiences you’ve had that made you want to pursue this career. Besides the fact that you have the experience and the education to support this career, what made you want to choose this line of work? Perhaps you have always wanted to help people overcome and conquer dependencies. Feel free to tell a story about why you chose this line of work but be sure to keep it short and not too detailed.

Rachelle's Answer
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5.
What is your philosophy towards work?
There is no right or lousy answer, but your reply should be well thought out. Whatever you say, the most important thing is to make it clear that you take pride in your work. Avoid the catchy phrases like 'work hard, live hard.' While it may be true, give it your spin rather than sounding like a cliche.

Rachelle's Answer
"My philosophy​ towards work is that it's important to take on new challenges, and activities that make you grown and learn on a regular basis. Also, it's important to give back, in and outside of the workplace."
6.
How well do you work with people?
Regardless of the job, employers don't want to hire people who are trying to get along with because that will cause workplace issues and conflicts. The interviewer asks this question to screen out applicants who don't have strong people skills, even when they look good on paper. Take a moment to tell the interviewer about a time you successfully led or followed. What was the outcome when you worked in this group? Were you ahead of schedule and set the pace for others?

Rachelle's Answer
"As a counselor, I need to be able to work well with clients as well as my coworkers. I value my professional relationships as well as the client-focused relationships that I earn through my counseling sessions."
7.
Are you able to cope with stressful situations?
This question is a common interview question for jobs involving multitasking, service, or decision making. As an alcohol and drug counselor, you'll experience stressful situations on a daily basis. You may encounter work tension, stressful client situations or even pressure situations out of your control. Remain calm and professional in your answer. The interviewer will notice the way you answer this question and relate it to the method that you handle stressful situations.

Rachelle's Answer
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8.
How do you handle a patient that has relapsed?
Have you ever been frustrated by patients repeated attempts to quit? Have they told you, time and time again, that they want to stop, yet you discover they have abused drugs in secret? Because you love your job, you get up and do it all over again. Show the interviewer that you are a great counselor who will continue to believe in their patients, even if they relapse.

Rachelle's Answer
"People relapse every day, but I can't get upset about it. I brush myself off and work harder to help someone else the next day. When that person is ready to help themselves, they will come back for my help."
9.
How do you manage a large work load?
You have likely become a fantastic multi-tasker through your counseling career. Tell the interviewer how you prioritize your workload to avoid getting overworked and behind. When your workload is unmanageable are you able to ask your co-workers for help? Asking for help and offering assistance, when able, will show the interviewer that you are a real team player.

Rachelle's Answer
"I arrive 20 minutes early to work each day. This punctual behavior gives me time to grab a cup of coffee, review my patient's charts, prioritize my to-do list and get started as soon as the workday begins."
10.
How would your co-workers describe you?
When answering this question, you will want to consider qualities that are relevant to this position. Excellent communication skills, attention to detail, and a positive mindset are all essential characteristics for any counselor. Show off your strengths, like having a right attitude when faced with difficulty or being willing to go above and beyond expectations to help someone out. Don't be afraid to brag a little, but keep it relevant.

Rachelle's Answer
"My co-workers would describe me as being reliable, knowledgeable and empathetic to my patients."
11.
Who is your mentor?
In this particular situation, your interviewer is looking to see if you have a mentor in the same career field. If your crazy best friend is your life mentor, you may want to censor and save those stories for another time. The interviewer wants to know from whom you get your professional direction and advice. Perhaps a professor has taken you under their wing. Share your story but make it brief.

Rachelle's Answer
"I've had several great mentors, but my most influential was Ms. Smith, my supervisor while I was working towards supervision hours in my first position. I truly learned a lot from her and felt I am the therapist I am today because of her."
12.
What decisions are easiest for you to make?
The interviewer is asking this question to determine your work habits and strategies. Tell the interviewer how you prioritize your work and decisions. Do you tackle the easiest ones first and the most intense ones last? Discuss what you find most comfortable when it comes to decision making, as that is likely where your expertise is.

Rachelle's Answer
"I feel confident in my work when it comes to building therapy programs for my clients. The decisions that are easiest to make are the ones that benefit my patients."
13.
How do you manage confrontations with patients?
As an alcohol and drug counselor, you may encounter confrontations daily from your clients. Clients can get angry about diagnosis, what is discussed during sessions or even by way of out of the blue mood swings as they are trying to recover. How do you manage and deal with these types of confrontations? Perhaps you enlist the help of a co-worker. Maybe you have a step by step list of instructions you follow. Whatever it is, give a brief overview, with an example if possible.

Rachelle's Answer
"When dealing with a patient-driven confrontation I make sure I never raise my voice or talk down to a patient. I take the time to listen to their concerns and let them get everything out before we start over and work on a plan together."
14.
What excites you the most about a career as an alcohol and drug counselor?
The interviewer would like to know what aspect of working as a counselor is of the most significant interest to you. Before your interview, having completed some research on the interviewing company is essential. Be sure to envision where you can see yourself fitting, and growing with the organization. Do some research on what a career path could look like with this particular company. Show your passion as an alcohol and drug counselor. Tell the interviewer about some exciting milestones you've been a part of over the last few years if that information is applicable.

Rachelle's Answer
"The thing that excites me most about work as an addictions counselor is knowing that a new challenge, and opportunity to help, will come through the door each day to challenge me and make me a stronger therapist. When it comes to this particular job, one thing that excites me is to be able to give back as an LADC supervisor."
15.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Now is not the time to be clever and tell the interviewer that you plan on being in his position in 5 years. Too soon my friend! What you will want to say to the interviewer is that you would like to move up the ladder, but earn your way there.

Some options for 5-years growth are:

- Entering another department that interests you but you do not yet have the experience required.
- Teaching and mentoring others who are junior to you.
- Finishing or elevating your post-secondary education.

Whatever direction you want to go in the next five years, ensure that your answer shows growth and excitement for what this particular organization is doing.

Rachelle's Answer
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30 Alcohol and Drug Counselor Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. Tell me about your previous boss.
  2. What is your greatest strength?
  3. What are your salary expectations?
  4. Why do you want a career as an alcohol and drug counselor?
  5. What is your philosophy towards work?
  6. How well do you work with people?
  7. Are you able to cope with stressful situations?
  8. How do you handle a patient that has relapsed?
  9. How do you manage a large work load?
  10. How would your co-workers describe you?
  11. Who is your mentor?
  12. What decisions are easiest for you to make?
  13. How do you manage confrontations with patients?
  14. What excites you the most about a career as an alcohol and drug counselor?
  15. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  16. Describe your counseling style.
  17. How do you incorporate behavior therapy in your treatment?
  18. How do you monitor the treatment of your patients?
  19. How would your boss describe you?
  20. What is your biggest weakness?
  21. What is the most difficult decision you've made.
  22. How do you handle your emotions at work?
  23. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.
  24. Do you consider yourself a leader?
  25. What have your achievements been to date?
  26. Why should we hire you?
  27. How do you evaluate success?
  28. What was your biggest disappointment as an alcohol and drug counselor?
  29. Describe a difficult project and how you overcame it?
  30. What major challenges and problems did you face at your last position?
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