The job interview process is a critical step to hiring the most qualified caregivers into your healthcare facility. While it’s difficult to get a full scope of someone’s capabilities and personality in a short interview, developing a clear, consistent set of questions for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) can help you objectively assess each candidate.
There are questions to avoid asking for legal reasons, but there are some that can tell you a great deal about your candidate and their fit within your company. Here are 15 CNA interview questions your hiring manager should ask candidates to ensure you’re making the right hire for your post-acute care facility or home care agency.
Tell me about yourself.
Though this question is pretty standard regardless of the job description, it’s a big one that you need to include in your list of CNA interview questions. A rich answer can tee up the rest of the conversation and allow you to get to know your candidate a little more personally. Hearing about the person’s hobbies, interests, and ambitions can give you a better idea of how they’ll fit amongst your team.
Why do you want to work in home health/post-acute care?
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 for putting in the hard work and that they’re willing to deliver the quality of care that your agency is known for. Additionally, this CNA interview question allows you to determine if you’re in a position to meet their expectations when it comes to career development opportunities, compensation, healthcare, and other benefits.
Why do you want to work for our organization?
Following up on their reasons for entering the healthcare field, you want to know that an applicant is truly interested in working at your agency or facility. You can use this question to differentiate between candidates who have mass applied to open positions and, conversely, those who have researched your company and are truly passionate about your mission.
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 CNA interview question will help you gain key insight into the candidate early on in the process.
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 use CNA interview questions like this to quickly figure out if he or she is a problem-solver, or gets hung up on past problems.
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.
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, their answer to CNA interview questions like this one can help you guide career development within your organization.
What are your strengths?
Understanding what your candidates view as their best attributes when it comes to doing their job well will show you where they feel most confident. If the candidate comes up with strengths that aren’t relevant to the position they’ve applied for, you may want to consider someone else. The best candidates will relate their strengths to their experience and job function, and go into detail about how they use their strengths to do their job better.
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.
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.
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.
What part of being a CNA do you find most challenging?
CNA interview questions like these address where candidates might struggle, which is a great thing to know up front. Having areas that they find challenging doesn’t mean they won’t be a great fit, but it does give you the opportunity to train more in depth in those particular areas. Asking the candidate to be open with you about where they may have more difficulty also begins to build trust and positions you as a resource from the start.
How do you continue to grow your skills and stay up to date with the nursing profession?
Those in the medical community are constantly learning new things, and most states require CNAs to complete continuing education courses every year. Your candidate should be passionate about learning, and should be taking initiative to make sure they are as well prepared for the job as possible.
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.
What questions do you have for me?
The candidate should come prepared with questions for you about the role and the business as a whole. Questions can range from how your team interacts with one another to what the day to day of the role will be. When candidates come with questions, it shows that they are serious about the role and spent time preparing for the interview.
Having a structured, customized set of CNA interview questions 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 or facility and how well they can fulfill their job responsibilities.
Hiring doesn’t start and stop with the interview; in fact, there are plenty of metrics your facility should be monitoring to optimize your hiring efforts. To learn more, read 5 Metrics to Track to Improve Caregiver Hiring.