The interview process is a critical step to hiring the most qualified caregivers into your home health agency. It’s important to develop a clear, consistent set of questions that you can use to objectively assess each candidate. Here are 10 interview questions you should ask certified nursing assistant (CNA) candidates to ensure you’re making the right hire:

  1. Why do you want to work in home health?

Being a caregiver is a notoriously high-stress job. It challenges people’s emotions, as well as their physical stamina. You’ll want to know what they see as the reward to putting in the hard work – and whether you’re in a position to meet their expectations when it comes to career development opportunities, compensation, healthcare and other benefits.

  1. Why do you want to work for our agency?

Following up on their reasons for entering the home health field, you want to know that an applicant is truly interested in working at your agency. You can use this question to differentiate between candidates who mass applied to open positions and, conversely, those who have researched your agency and are truly passionate about your mission.

  1. Why did you leave your last job?

The context for a career move can reveal a lot about the candidate. It will provide a better understanding of whether the candidate left his or her last job due to a cultural mismatch, a move, compensation and benefits issues or poor management. This question will help you gain key insight into the candidate early on in the process.

  1. How have you learned from mistakes you made in previous CNA jobs?

Asking this will help you get a sense of the candidate’s ability to grow professionally. You can quickly figure out if he or she is a problem-solver, or gets hung up on past problems.

  1. How do you plan on balancing your potential caseload?

CNAs need to have a strong attention to detail to balance multiple clients with different needs. Each patient will have unique medical needs and personalities. You’ll want to know as early as possible in the hiring process that an applicant has experience – or at least a plan for – delivering care to a variety of clients throughout the day and week.

  1. What brings you the most satisfaction as a CNA?

Beyond interest in the industry, this question will help you understand what motivates a CNA to come to work every day. Use this information to determine which patients they’d match up with best and the type of work they’re best suited to perform. Ultimately, this information can help you guide career development within your agency.

  1. What is your biggest weakness?

Look for candidates to provide concrete examples of position-specific weaknesses. Are they poor with time management? Do they struggle with following verbal directions? Whatever the issue may be, listen for ways candidates address a weakness to turn it into a strength.

  1. What would your former coworkers or clients say about you if we asked them?

Emotional intelligence and self-awareness are core attributes for CNAs working with clients and other caregivers. This question may catch them off guard, but will reveal a lot about how they work on a team and how well they’re able to assimilate in a new workplace.

  1. How have you dealt with difficult patients in the past?

Patients have different medical care needs and have a wide range of personalities. An individual’s mood can change many times throughout the day. You need to find out both what the CNA candidate considers a difficult patient and how they managed to effectively perform their duties while dealing with someone who isn’t cooperative or requires advanced care.

  1.  Where do you see yourself in five years?

It’s important to know what a candidate’s career ambitions are from the beginning. Do they want to build up several years of experience with your agency? Or are they thinking of going back to school to become a licensed vocational nurse within two years? Their answer will let you know their level of long-term investment in the role and agency.

Having a structured, customized set of interview questions for an open position enables you to get a comprehensive understanding of each candidate. Your questions can give you a full sense of how applicants would fit within your agency and how well they can fulfill their job responsibilities.

Are you looking for additional tips on how to hire the best team at your home health agency? Download our eBook, “6 Ways to Attract & Hire Quality In-Home Caregivers.” 



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