MockQuestions

Substance Abuse Counselor Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Substance Abuse Counselor interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

Substance Abuse Counselor was written by and updated on June 16th, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Why are you the best candidate for us?

How to Answer

The interviewer is giving you the chance to sell yourself. Tell the interviewer that you possess a combination of skills and experience that make you stand out from the crowd. Communicate that you can do the work and deliver exceptional results. Tell the interviewer that you will fit in beautifully and be a great addition to the team. When you answer this question, gear your personality traits, work experience, and skills towards the job description.

Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

Next Question

30 Substance Abuse Counselor Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. Why are you the best candidate for us?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is giving you the chance to sell yourself. Tell the interviewer that you possess a combination of skills and experience that make you stand out from the crowd. Communicate that you can do the work and deliver exceptional results. Tell the interviewer that you will fit in beautifully and be a great addition to the team. When you answer this question, gear your personality traits, work experience, and skills towards the job description.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "Since substance abuse counseling isn't a one size fits all solution, I pride myself at being a problem solver who is known for thinking outside the box. With my experience and listening skills, your patients will be happy to have someone like me working to improve their lives and relationships."

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      2nd Answer Example

      "I bring experience and knowledge from a diverse skill set. I'm loyal and reliable. I like to be challenged and multi-task."

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

  • 2. What are your salary expectations?

      How to Answer

      This can be a tricky question if it comes up. It is best to avoid this topic unless it comes up by the interviewer. Turn the tables and allow the interviewer to answer this question for you. If the interview turns awkward, move on and allow the interviewer to ask a new question.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I'd rather not commit to that quite yet. However, I'm sure you are consistent with the market, and I would love to hear the starting salary for this position."

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      2nd Answer Example

      "I'm currently making $65K per year. I would love to hear what the starting salary is for this position."

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

  • 3. What would you suggest if a patient slips or relapses?"‹

      How to Answer

      The interviewer asks this question to see how you would handle this common situation in substance abuse counseling. Start by telling the interviewer that you would remind the patient that they can still return to recovery and succeed. The sooner someone can stop using again, the better chances they have at minimizing the damage. Next, discuss your treatment plan and way forward.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "Having a strong support system can help an addict realize that they have value and that it's worth continuing treatment despite the relapse. Just because this has occurred does not mean that treatment has to start over from the beginning."

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      2nd Answer Example

      "The key is continued treatment and a commitment to recovery. If relapse occurs, it does not indicate treatment failure, but simply the body's resistance to recovery."

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

  • 4. Explain what "relapse" is in a substance abuse patient.

      How to Answer

      While treating patients, you may come across the patient thinking they can moderate or use again without becoming addicted, romanticize about drug use in the past, or even show signs of isolation or withdrawal. Explain these types of signs that you see in your patients who have relapsed and how you treat them.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 5. Explain what "slip" is in a substance abuse patient.

      How to Answer

      As a Substance Abuse Counselor, you know that a slip is a situation where someone has a very brief 'slip' where they drink or use, but they stop quickly afterward, avoiding a full relapse into addiction. Explain to the interviewer that this happens when a person decides to use again but instantly regrets their decision. Then, tell the interviewer how you would treat the slip in your patient.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 6. How do you monitor the progress of treatment?

      How to Answer

      Besides monitoring the progress of treatment through one-on-one sessions, tell the interviewer the other ways you monitor your patient's treatment. For example, you may check attendance records, revisit their treatment goals with them, or ask the patient how they are progressing. The interviewer may ask you for a specific example, so have a situation ready to share.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 7. What sectors or professional environments have you worked in?

      How to Answer

      Don't be concerned if this interview is for your first job out of school. Tell the interviewer about the type of environment you worked in while being an intern or a volunteer. Be sure to show your excitement about the chance to work in their professional environment. Highlight how you would be the best fit to work in that particular location.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 8. What psychological signs of drug abuse do you look for in your patients?

      How to Answer

      As a Substance Abuse Counselor, you often have to tap into your psychology training. Tell the interviewer what type of signs you look for when interviewing new patients, leading group sessions, or reconnecting with a patient who has been non-compliant with treatment. Tell the interviewer what steps you take when you identify unusual mood swings, lack of motivation, or if your patient seems fearful for no reason.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 9. Do you use motivational incentives with your patients?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking this question to determine whether or not you use positive reinforcement in your treatment. If motivation incentives are part of your treatment plans, give an example.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 10. What are the main challenges that your patients face?

      How to Answer

      As a Substance Abuse Counselor, you may help your patients manage their negative emotions, build on their problem-solving skills, and improve their moral reasoning. The interviewer is asking this question to hear more about your counseling style and what experience you have. Answer this question with a recent situation or a few ways you encourage your patients to overcome their challenges.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 11. In addition to substance abuse treatment by a counselor, what other services may your patients require?

      How to Answer

      As a Substance Abuse Counselor, you may be part of a multidisciplinary team providing various treatments to your patients. Whether with another medical professional, legal professional, or vocational skills counselor, explain your relationship with these local professionals in your community and how you all work together to assist your patients.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 12. What are your career goals?

      How to Answer

      Now is not the time to be clever and tell the interviewer that you plan on being in his position in 5 years. Your career goals could include working in another department within their hospital, teaching more classes to large audiences, or even finishing your Master's degree. Whatever direction you are looking to go, make it something that will better yourself.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 13. How do you handle stressful situations?

      How to Answer

      This is a common interview question for any mental health position. As a Substance Abuse Counselor, you'll experience stressful situations daily. You may encounter work tension, stressful client situations, or even stressful situations out of your control. When answering this question, be sure to be calm and precise. The interviewer will notice how you answer this question and relate it to how you handle stressful situations.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 14. How do you build trust with a patient?

      How to Answer

      Building trust with your patients is an essential part of being a successful Substance Abuse Counselor. Describe how you earn their trust and the methods that have worked for you. Describe step by step how you work on building trust with your patients.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 15. How do you manage a large workload?

      How to Answer

      As a successful Substance Abuse Counselor, you have become a multi-tasker. Tell the interviewer how you prioritize your workload to avoid getting overworked and behind. If your workload is unmanageable, explain how you ask your co-workers for help. Asking for help and offering help will show the interviewer that you are a true team player.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 16. Why did you become a substance abuse counselor?

      How to Answer

      Besides the fact that you have the experience and the education to support this career, give an example about what made you choose this line of work. Take this time to explain to the interviewer what events, schooling, and experiences you've had that made you want to pursue this career. 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.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 17. If a patient was not recovering as planned, how would you react, and what new steps would you typically take?

      How to Answer

      Set-backs happen in the mental health field. Being able to identify them and help your patient work through them while staying on track and motivated is the hard part. Tell the interviewer about a time a patient relapsed and got back on track with your help. Tell the interviewer that you encourage your patient to reflect on what happened and be brutally honest with themselves as to why it happened.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 18. What kind of supervisor gets the best work performance from you?

      How to Answer

      This question is aimed at revealing what kind of worker you are. It will be important not to bad-mouth your past employer or answer negatively in any way. Rather than using soft descriptions, such as personality traits, mention specific behaviors that you appreciate as an employee. Tell the interviewer if you like to have regular check-ins or be consulted before moving forward with a project.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 19. Describe your counseling style.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking this question to find out a bit more about your particular style of therapy. Tell the interviewer how you instruct (provide information), guide (encourage the person to find his or her own goals and achieve them), and listen (understand the person's experience and feelings). How you describe this counseling session will make or break this interview question. Too lax, and it will seem as if you don't care about the patient. Too firm, and you might intimidate the question. Try to find a nice balance.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 20. How do you manage confrontations with patients??

      How to Answer

      As a Substance Abuse Counselor, you may encounter confrontations from your clients. Clients can get angry about diagnosis, what is discussed during sessions, or out of the blue as they are trying to recover. Tell the interviewer how you manage these types of confrontations. Answer this question by telling the interviewer how you may enlist the help of a co-worker or follow a step-by-step list of instructions set by your clinic.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 21. What individual has had the greatest influence on you?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to hear more about a professional or personal relationship you've had with a mentor who has helped you succeed in your profession as a Substance Abuse Counselor. Tell the interviewer about a relative who instilled a strong work ethic or a professor who encouraged you to think outside the box.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 22. What three words would you use to describe yourself?

      How to Answer

      This question is a shorter version of 'tell us about yourself.' Avoid the common answers such as 'team player' and 'organized' as the interviewer has heard these before. Describing yourself as loyal, honest, and confident will suggest that you are not only good at your job but that you are a kind-natured person. You may choose to answer this question that you are ambitious, diligent, and hard-working, suggesting that you are motivated to work towards a leadership position if given the chance.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 23. How do you adapt to a wide variety of people, situations, and environments?

      How to Answer

      As a Substance Abuse Counselor, you will have a wide variety of patients and the opportunity to assess their situations in different environments. There isn't a one-size-fits-all for working with addiction, so make sure to tell the interviewer that. Use specific examples, excluding names, that show you are a well-rounded counselor and that you can take on any challenge that is thrown your way.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 24. How would your colleagues describe you?

      How to Answer

      When answering this question, you will want to consider qualities that are relevant to this position. Good communication skills, attention to detail, and a technical mindset are all important characteristics for any Substance Abuse Counselor. Tell your interviewer about having a good attitude when faced with difficulty or being willing to go above and beyond expectations to help someone out.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 25. What would your former employer say about you?

      How to Answer

      Feel free to name-drop when answering this question. Tell the interviewer if your boss recognized you for a job well done. Tell the interviewer if your boss positively commented on your punctuality, the fact that you never called out sick, and that you were dependable. Think of the traits that make an ideal employee in the eyes of a boss. Added bonus if your boss will write a letter of recommendation for you.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 26. Why are you seeking new employment?

      How to Answer

      Don't get hung up on this answer. Of course, you'd love for your new position to pay extremely well, have an effortless commute, and ensure access to nap rooms during all work hours, but that's not going to impress your interviewer. Answer this question by highlighting your skills and talk about how you're looking for a place where you can use them.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 27. What was your biggest disappointment as a substance abuse counselor?

      How to Answer

      When answering this question, you don't want to sound arrogant. Don't try to convince the interviewer that you have never been disappointed. Answer this question with a response that will allow you to showcase your resilience and your ability to overcome a problem. Steer clear of a response like 'you were disappointed you burnt dinner' it might suggest you are hiding something or that you truly aren't prepared for the interview.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 28. What is your greatest accomplishment as a substance abuse counselor?

      How to Answer

      When answering this interview question, you will want to choose an achievement that you are genuinely proud of, something that is true to you. The interviewer should be able to see your passion when telling the story. This answer can be a career achievement or a personal achievement. Keep your answer positive and professional.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 29. What is your greatest weakness?

      How to Answer

      When answering this question, remember that the interviewer is not looking for someone who is perfect. Describe something that is a true weakness you want to improve upon. Explain how you are working to improve that weakness and make it a strength.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 30. What is your greatest strength?

      How to Answer

      This is a very common interview question. Tell the interviewer that you are the best person for the job and that you have qualities, skills, and experiences 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.

      Written by Heather Douglass on June 16th, 2021

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view