You’ve accomplished your goal of becoming a CNA. Now, all that’s left between you and a job is the interview process. This can be a daunting task in itself, so it’s important to prepare yourself with these questions and you’ll increase your chances of being hired.
The questions the interviewer will ask you are normally split into two general categories: standard questions, and industry specific questions. These are some of the more prevalent and important questions you might have to answer before being offered the job:
Standard Interview Questions
Tell me about yourself?
Every interviewer asks some variation of this question, whether you’re hoping to get a job as a sales manager or certified nursing assistant. The purpose of such questions aren’t so the hiring manager can get to know every aspect of your life, but rather to learn more about you in terms of why you want the job. What this question wants, though, is not a simple regurgitation of your resume. Talk about yourself in a way that ties in your training, your people skills and any other information that is relevant. A good response to this question might be: “I have always loved taking care of people. When I was a teenager, I would volunteer at the local hospital to care for sick patients.” Your response to this deceptively simple question should emphasize how you would be an indispensable member of their team.
How do you deal with difficult coworkers?
The interviewer wants to know how you deal with interpersonal conflict on the job. Behavioral questions like these don’t necessarily have a right or wrong answer. Rather, they gauge how you react in stressful situations. This is extremely important, especially in the medical field, because a decision based on your feelings for your coworkers rather than what is necessary for the patient can have irreversible effects. Be prepared to recall the most difficult situations you encountered, how you resolved those conflicts, and how those resolutions benefited everyone. Never bad mouth or use derogatory descriptions of former bosses or coworkers, as they reflect poorly on you, and not the other person.
What is your greatest strength?
Most people feels a little uncomfortable telling an interviewer how great they are, but this question gauges your sense of self-worth while giving you an opportunity to talk about your skills. Do you hate being late? That’s a definite plus. Do you have mad organizing skills? In the medical field, a propensity for messiness or disorganization can lead to tragic results. Don’t be bashful, but again, choose your strengths wisely and make sure they mesh well with your chosen profession.
What is your biggest weakness?
No one wants to be confronted with this squirm-inducing question. Who wants to admit they have faults? There’s always a fear that if you admit that you’re not perfect in a job interview that it means you’ll never get the job. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. The important thing to do here is to identify one of your biggest weaknesses and how you have worked to improve it. If you once got queasy at the sight of blood, tell the interviewer the steps you took to get over it. If you have a tendency to be impatient, tell the interviewer how you dealt with it, and how working with those who can’t help themselves helped you develop patience and a greater sense of empathy. The worst thing you can do with a question like this is to tell the interviewer what your weakness is without presenting them a story about how you overcame it.
Why did you leave your last job?
A cardinal rule you never, ever break is to say something to the effect of, “My boss was a big fat meanie, and I hated him.” You might have to dig really deep for this one, but if you can’t think of anything other than you hated your boss or coworkers, simply say it wasn’t a good fit for you and you decided to look elsewhere. If the interviewer asks for more details, make it about the job and not the people involved. For example, if your former employer enacted policies you disagreed with, simply say that you felt you could better serve the needs of others by looking for job where you could dedicate yourself to the job more effectively.
Industry Specific Questions
Why do you want to work as a CNA?
This is where you get to the meat of your interview. This is the question where you talk about your passion for helping others, and how you have always wanted to work in the medical field. CNAs do a little bit of everything, so talk about that time when you did your ailing grandmother’s hair and how she felt about it. How did it make you feel, seeing her happy? The work of a CNA is both hard and immensely rewarding. The interviewer wants to see how serious, devoted, and caring you are, and if they suspect you’re not 100 percent dedicated to caring for patients, they’ll pass you over for someone they feel is a better fit.
Tell me about a difficult patient/client you had to work with. Have you worked with clients or patients who were hard to deal with?
Questions like this determine how well you handle difficult situations. Even though this question deals with a patient, if you have a strong background in a customer service capacity, you can certainly draw on that. Were you successful in placating an angry customer who felt cheated by a store you worked for? Were you able to calm a patient who was making life difficult for everyone? Be prepared to highlight one or two stories that show how you successfully turned a bad situation into a good one. If you truthfully cannot think of a time when you successfully turned a bad situation around, be honest. Talk about how you dealt with it, and how you would have done things differently, had you known better. The important thing here is to show the interviewer that you have the capacity to grow in your job.
You notice that a nurse/doctor/fellow CNA is not doing their job properly. What do you do?
In the medical field, it’s an unfortunate fact that you’ll find there are people who either abuse clients or fail to perform their jobs properly. The interviewer wants to know that you have the patient/client’s best interests at heart, and are willing to do what is best them. They also want to know that you are knowledgeable about following the proper procedures for reporting unethical conduct or poor performance. For example, if you saw a nurse or CNA doing something wrong, you might first determine if they were harming the patient. If no harm was being done, you might wait and ask that person about it, instead of immediately reporting it to your superiors.
In a 24/7 operation, how do you ensure a seamless shift transition?
This is a questions designed to determine how well you can communicate with your coworkers. It also informs the interviewer about your knowledge for appropriate shift change procedures. Do you meet with the person taking over your patients for you? Do you leave notes in the client files? Do you meet face to face with your coworker? Does the patient know before you leave that another CNA will be covering for you?
What were your grades/GPA?
If you’re a recent graduate, you might be hit with this question. The interviewer wants to know how serious you were about your studies because this indicates to them that you take your future as a CNA seriously. If you thought about quitting but decided to stick with it, give the reasons why. Make your grades a reflection of the reasons why you’re sitting across from them.
The biggest thing to remember when you’re interviewing for a CNA position is that your passion and desire for helping others must be clear. Present yourself as a dedicated, caring, and knowledgeable individual. If you prepare for the interview and present yourself in a confident, friendly manner, you greatly increase your chances of being hired or called back for a second interview.
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