Why prepare for a CNA job interview?

It is smart to prepare for an upcoming CNA job interview and what better way than to think in advance about the answers you might give to the most commonly asked questions. Employers appreciate when potential employees prepare for the interview, are honest, and have some questions of their own to ask towards the end of the interview. When you answer the interview questions for any type of CNA position remember to stay focused on the question asked by addressing that specific question, to answer truthfully, and to keep a calm and relaxed attitude. One of the most common ways to start an interview is not with an actual question but with a request from your interviewer. Do not be surprised if your CNA job interview begins with the statement: tell me about yourself. Answer this question by focusing on your career and not on your personal life. The person who is interviewing you wants to hear about your work and career, including past experiences and future plans.

If you are a new certified nurse aide you may want to begin your answer by mentioning the school you have attended, when you obtained your certification, and your plans to secure a job at a long-term care facility or hospital. Make sure you mention how much you have learned during the nursing assistant training program, how excited you are about your future as a CNA, and that you plan to take advantage of all the available opportunities to learn and practice as a nursing assistant. An experienced nurse aide may answer this question by talking about her accomplishments in previous jobs. Mention the skills and attributes you posses as an experienced CNA which apply to the new position you are interviewing for. Regardless of your experience in the nursing assistant field, keep the answer to this question relatively short. A minute or two and a few sentences are all you need for a good, focused answer. Example: My name is Mary Johnson, and I have completed a CNA training program in March 2014. I have passed the certification exam in July. I learned a great deal during the nurse aide training course and I enjoyed caring for the residents in our practice facility. I want to secure a position at a long-term care facility (hospital) and become knowledgeable in my field. I think being a CNA at your facility would be a good thing for me.

What are some standard job interview questions?

Getting ready for a CNA job interview can be exciting but also stressful, especially if this is your first interview or if you haven't been through the interviewing process in a while. Knowing what are the most common interview questions and preparing your answers will help minimize your anxiety and will increase your confidence. The following questions have been asked numerous times during a nursing assistant job interview and it helps to become familiar with them. It is wise to print this list of questions and then write your own answers for each of them. You don't have to memorize each answer for the actual interview, just remember the main points you want to cover and elaborate as you go. Ask a friend or a family member to act as the interviewer and practice every chance you get. Soon enough answering each item will become second nature and on the day of the interview you will be calm and relaxed.

  • Please tell me about yourself.
  • What are some of the essential things you are looking for in a CNA job?
  • What were the reasons for leaving your last nurse aide position?
  • Why have you decided to apply at our facility?
  • Why should we hire you for this position?
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • What would you say are your main strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do you think is your best quality?
  • How would you try to solve a conflict with a co-worker?
  • What are your career goals in the next five years?
  • Are you interviewing with other facilities?
  • Why do you want to work in the health care field?
  • What do you do when a patient is angry with you?
  • What would you do in a situation you were not familiar with?
  • How would you respond to an emergency?

Tips for answering questions on a CNA job interview

One of the most important things you have to remember prior to an interview is to have confidence in yourself. Even if you are a recent graduate, and this is your first CNA job interview, remember that you are qualified and prepared to do the job. The first impression is always important, and you need to enter the room with confidence, maintain good posture, make eye contact with the person interviewing you, and practice a firm handshake. Good posture reflects confidence, a firm handshake is associated with honesty, and maintaining eye contact says that you have nothing to hide. Answer questions honestly and politely, and do not forget about common courtesies such as saying please, thank you, and you are welcome. Do not rush into giving an answer, it is alright to take a few seconds to gather your thoughts prior to answering.

Keep away from using slang and try to keep your voice calm even though you might be feeling nervous. Remember that any anxiety or nervousness you might feel in the beginning will lessen as the interview progresses. It is a good idea to keep details to a minimum in order to avoid rambling, and make sure you answer the question being asked. Once the CNA job interview is completed do not forget to send a follow up letter to the person who conducted the interview. The follow up letter serves an important purpose: it shows professionalism and it makes you stand out when compared to other job applicants who may fail to send a similar letter. The thank you letter should be kept short. The key items which need to be included in the letter are thanking the interviewer for their time, and expressing your enthusiasms regarding the CNA position you interviewed for.

What to wear for the CNA job interview

You might be a recent CNA graduate who is looking for their first job, or an experienced nurse aide who wants to switch employers. In either case your journey towards a new CNA job begins with the interview process. Choosing something appropriate to wear is an essential part of preparing for any job interview. Should you wear scrubs, your existing job uniform, street clothes, or a tailored suit? The impression you need to convey once you walk into the interview room is one of professionalism and trust. Do not wear scrubs to a nurse aide job interview unless it was specifically requested by the interviewer. A skirt or pant suit is a good choice even though you might be a bit overdressed. The best choice might be to wear a pair of slacks and a blouse. Choose neutral colors, such as black, white, tan, gray, and brown.

For example a pair of black or brown pants will go very well with a white or off white blouse. Your clothes need to be neat, clean, and ironed, they should fit well, and be comfortable to wear. Do not even think about wearing miniskirts, sweaters or shirts that are too tight or too revealing, as well as any clothing item that has holes, tears, stains, or is too wrinkled. Keep perfume and make-up to a minimum, avoid brightly colored and long artificial nails, and stay away from wild hairstyles. Keep in mind that your overall appearance says a great deal about you to a prospective employer. A last piece of advice is to look decent and presentable even when you are going to pick up an application for an available CNA job. It is not uncommon to be invited for an interview on the spot. Be prepared for this situation by dressing neat and professional.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions

Dana on August 17, 2014 at 06:56 PM
Hi, I am trying to get some info on where to start in the health care profession. Is it better to start as a CNA or LVN?

Admin on August 18, 2014 at 07:22 AM
If you are planning to become a nurse in the future, it is a good idea to see if this field is right for you. What better way to see if you like this field than to become a certified nurse aide? As a CNA you will mainly provide assistance with activities of daily living, but you will learn to become a good communicator and observer. Having these skills prior to enrolling in a nursing program will make you more comfortable in both the classroom and clinical setting. CNA training programs are relatively short, and classes may be completed in about six weeks. You can find a job and start earning money while you complete the pre-requisite courses necessary to enroll in a nursing program. In addition, some LVN and RN programs give enrollment priority to those who have obtained their CNA certification. LVNs are paid better but the program usually takes one year to complete and is much more expensive than a CNA class. Overall, I think it is a good idea to complete a nursing assistant course prior to enrolling into a nursing program, but ultimately this decision is yours to make. Good luck!

I am a pre-nursing student. Is there any benefit in becoming a CNA before going to nursing school?

How can I tell if my CNA license is active and how do I renew it if it is not?

How can I get a copy of my CNA certification? Is there a number I can call to get a new copy of my CNA license?

How can I renew an expired CNA license?

Is there any way to study from the CNA book on your own and just take the exam? I am sure doing clinicals is required. Is there anyway to sign up for just clinicals and not the class?

CNA Resources

Certified Nurse Aide Jobs

Where can I find a job once I finish a nurse aide training course and pass the CNA certification exam? Nurse aide jobs are available in many different settings including nursing homes, home health care agencies, rehabilitation facilities, assisted living facilities, hospitals, hospices, physician's offices, adult day care centers, and clinics.

The important thing to remember is that no matter what setting you choose to practice as a CNA, you must be supervised or overseen by a nurse. State and federal regulations clearly state that the work of a nursing assistant must be conducted under the direction of a registered or licensed nurse.

To stay within legal bounds regardless of what state you work in, make sure that your duties are delegated by a nurse only. Physicians, other doctors, other certified nurse aides, physical or respiratory therapists are not entitled to delegate tasks to a certified nurse aide.

CNA Training Programs

Nurse Aide Registries