Safeguarding scenario questions and answers

In this blog post, we will be looking at safeguarding scenario questions and answers.

Safeguarding in the workplace can take many forms. We are most familiar with it being linked to protecting children. These days we are witnessing a need for safeguarding a wide range of vulnerable people.

Recruiters must ensure they run a background check on potential employees. When you're interviewing for a position that works with children or vulnerable adults, it's likely that you'll be asked about safeguarding. This will show your knowledge of the subject. While demonstrating that you're the best person for the job.

A List of the Most Common Safeguarding Scenarios to Prepare For

Every day, more and more people are becoming aware of the need for safeguarding. This is a natural protective measure that is needed to ensure the safety of people when they are vulnerable. Safeguarding is a very important topic because it protects those who can't protect themselves.

The following is a list of the most common safeguarding scenarios to prepare for:

- Preventing abuse and violence by children or adults;

- Preventing sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace;

- Bullying in the workplace;

- Allegations against staff in the workplace;

- Preventing bullying and harassment in schools;

- Stopping discrimination in any form;

- Preventing stalking or other forms of harassment online;

- Keeping someone safe from self-harm;

- Looking after the wellness of people under your care;

What to Expect With Safeguarding Questions

Interviews are an integral part of the recruitment process. They offer employers a chance to get a feel for the motivations and values of their candidates. Along with their personality and culture fit.

Interview questions help recruiters match up what they saw on paper. While expanding with examples and experiences to see how well the candidate performs.  - Making interviews vital to job search success.

Asking safeguarding questions in interviews is a good way to determine whether the applicant is suitable. Questions shouldn’t be too direct and ensuring that no one can be offended by them, is essential.

Job-seekers are now faced with tough questions to determine whether they can provide appropriate care for a child. These questions check your level of commitment. They also reveal what tactics you might use in difficult situations to protect a child‘s well-being.

You'll inevitably be asked to share a few questions for safeguarding purposes during your interview. So it's important to prepare for these in advance. When you're dealing with a safeguarding situation, it's important to show confidence as if everything is under control. It is vital that you create the illusion of being totally comfortable and in control.

Employers are more likely to ask you competency-based questions to gauge your suitability for the job. These are to see how you dealt with a similar situation in the past.

An excellent question will be open-ended to give you the opportunity to provide as much detail as possible.

Safeguarding adults interview questions and answers

As we’ve established, safeguarding interview questions are important for roles that work with vulnerable people. From children to the elderly in a care home, safeguarding is in place to look after their well-being. Recruiters ask safeguarding interview questions to see which candidates have the eagerness to work with others to improve safeguarding.


Safeguarding - Interview Questions Guide for managers

First, we’ll look at how recruitment managers address suitable personal behaviours in candidates.

These behaviours inform recruiters which candidate best looks after vulnerable adults, young people or children.

Types of questions

These questions are generic to ensure candidates are adequately able to show their suitability to the requirements of the post.

When you ask your interviewer hypothetical questions, they might answer with a theoretical answer. So try to avoid these.

It is better to ask competency-based questions. This is to see how the applicant has responded to, or dealt with, actual situations in the past. Questions which test their attitudes and understanding of certain issues are also good ways to evaluate a candidate.

Anybody who has access to children, young people, or vulnerable adults is assigned a ‘safeguarding’ role. Safeguarding roles require employees to go through an investigation of their suitability. These posts also require a Disclosure and Barring Scheme check.


Safeguarding scenario questions and answers

Next, we’ll look at safeguarding scenario questions and answers in a job interview.


Motivations for Working With Children/ vulnerable adults

An interviewer will first want to know your motivations for working with vulnerable people (including children). Some of the likely questions you’ll be asked around this include:

  • Why is it important to you to work with children / vulnerable adults
  • What experiences do you have that will strengthen your ability to care for and work with children/ vulnerable adults?
  • What has your previous experience taught you about yourself in these roles?
  • Give an example of how you’ve benefited from working with children / vulnerable adults.

When answering these types of questions you need to demonstrate that you are self-aware. With the knowledge and understanding of the professional role. The recruiter will be looking to see if you’re caring and passionate. Also to see if you have a realistic knowledge of your own strengths and weaknesses.

In as many of your answers include real-life examples. These validate your answer and give your recruiter a better idea of your abilities.


Understanding of Child Protection Principles

When working with children, in particular, there are certain child protection principles you need to be aware of. Especially when answering questions about safeguarding.

These could be:

  • As an employee with a responsibility of care, what are your responsibilities in protecting children?
  • Can you tell me the policies of care to support a safe environment? Why are these important?
  • How would you respond if you saw behaviour from a colleague towards children that made you concerned?
  • What is the procedure for reporting a case? What is the appropriate way to behave throughout this process? Who should be notified and made aware?
  • Would you recognise the signs of neglect/ abuse from a child? How would you recognise these?
  • Give an example of how you have improved child protection in the workplace.

When answering these questions you need to demonstrate your knowledge of safeguarding and child protection principles for children. Ensure you know all the up-to-date legislation knowledge, policies and practices prior to your interview.

The best interview answers will provide examples of your own experiences (without going into confidential information about specific cases). You should focus on your behaviour in your examples (attitude, decision making and professionalism).

Emotional Maturity and Resilience

Safeguarding requires a great deal of resilience and emotional maturity. Employers will be looking for candidates who can demonstrate their strengths when working with vulnerable people. Especially putting the vulnerable persons' needs first before anything else.

Questions you may be asked could look like this:


  • Do you have an example of a time when your authority with working with children / vulnerable adults was seriously challenged?
  • How did you respond and manage the allegation against you?
  • To ensure the situation stayed on track, what strategies did you employ?
  • Do you have an example of a time when you have difficulty dealing with someone? Why was it so difficult? How did you manage this?

When answering these types of interview questions, you need to demonstrate how you reacted/ behaved under emotional pressure. Recruiters will look to see how you use your authority, seek assistance and support and respond appropriately. Don’t be too concerned if you don’t have a direct example with safeguarding. You can use any example in your life to demonstrate how you reacted under pressure.

Maintaining control over your emotions in a sensitive subject will demonstrate your strength and professionalism in such roles. Recruiters will look to see how you deal with these emotions, seek support and take action.

Boundaries and Inappropriate Behaviour

Recognising inappropriate behaviour and where the boundaries should lie is an important step in safeguarding roles. Questions recruiters may ask to include:

  • Can you give an example of when you’ve recognised unfavourable behaviour and took action to manage it?
  • What was the result of your actions and what impact did this have on the wider circle of influence?
  • What is the appropriate response to challenging and poor behaviour from children / vulnerable adults? Why respond in this way? How did this affect you emotionally?
  • What type of situation have you been in which would make you physically respond? When is this appropriate?

In questions like this, recruiters are looking to see what you know about boundaries and inappropriate behaviour. They will look to see where your line of judgement is on what's right or wrong.

This demonstrates your self-awareness and the impact it has on others.


Whether you work in the education sector or with vulnerable adults, you have a duty of care to keep people safe.

Recruiters will be looking for the appropriate training and experience in recognising the warning signs of safeguarding concerns. They will also look to see your response and composure of your emotions in a professional manner. This is for the benefit of yourself and the vulnerable people involved.

Before your interview, think carefully about your own experiences. Consider the appropriate response to possible future incidents in your professional roles.

You can discuss examples with colleagues or even educate yourself further on safeguarding practices. An example of a course can be found here.


If you found this post helpful, please help us back by sharing it on social media. For more information like this see our post on Interviewing Tips for Successful Remote Hire.


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