You’ve secured a place in an interview for a role as a senior care assistant, and you need to prepare for it. What sort of questions can you expect to be asked? What expertise, and personal qualities, will the interviewer be looking for?
We’ve written a quick guide to help you prepare for the interview and succeed in your search for a job as a senior care assistant.
What made you become a professional carer?
People have lots of different reasons for starting a career in care. For some, they were answering a lifetime calling. For others, it could be almost accidental. Maybe they took their first role in care simply because they needed a job, or because a friend or family member suggested it.
Be honest here, sincerity is more important than claiming a life-long calling to work in care. What matters is that, regardless of why you got that first role in care, you liked the work and stayed on. You’ve been long enough in the job to show that you’re the right type of person to work in care, you’re good at it and you’ve chosen to stay in the care sector and develop your career there.
Talk through the experience and qualifications you have that make you the right person for this senior care role
You’re applying for a senior carer role, so you’ll need to be able to tell the interviewer about the relevant experience and qualifications you have. Some people find it hard to ‘big-up’ their own achievements and talents, they might feel it is a bit boastful. They have a point, it can come across as bragging if you don’t deliver it correctly. The key here is to be humble (maybe by admitting you still have lots to learn) but also be sure to sell yourself positively. If you feel you have the experience, knowledge and qualifications of the role - then be sure to say so.
Tell us what you know about person-centric care
This is an expansion of the previous question, and you may have already covered it. But be sure you do, even if you’re not asked this question specifically. You’ll be caring for people, be sure to get across that you completely understand how a professional carer operates. Demonstrate that you appreciate the link between people-centric care and improved health outcomes.
How would you support new professional carers to deliver outstanding service?
Your prospective employer wants you to show that you can have empathy for your colleagues. You need to demonstrate that you can understand and work with the people in your team to deliver outstanding care.
Please give some examples of how you’ve responded to a service user’s needs in the past
You’re applying for a senior carer role, you need to show that you come prepared for the challenges it will bring. Think of some examples of how you’ve previously responded to a client’s needs and communicate them carefully to your interviewer. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of your experience, and how that enables you to approach the new role with confidence.
How do you maintain the dignity and respect of those you are giving care to?
Care workers aim to improve the lives of those they care for, and helping them maintain dignity and respect is an important pat of that work. You need to demonstrate that you think about how the other person feels, that you have genuine empathy for them. Tell the interviewer what practical steps you take to ensure that the person you are caring for can keep as much dignity as possible.
While conducting an on-site observation you notice that the correct PPE was not worn, and the service user was not offered any choice for their meal. How would you manage this situation?
A question like this is designed to test the candidates knowledge and judgement. Have you faced a similar situation before? How did you resolve it? What steps do you need to take, who do you need to inform or escalate this to? This is your chance to show that you know what to do even when things haven’t gone well, and that you have the skills to put things back on track.
What would you do if a client you are attending fails to answer the door?
There are recognised procedures for this sort of eventuality. As a senior care worker you should know them well. Write the answers to this question down when you’re preparing for the interview. Memorise them, so you’re ready describe the correct protocols and procedure line by line if you get asked this question.
How do you cope with stress? Can you give an example of a stressful situation you’ve faced and how you reacted?
Stress is undeniably a part of care work and there are lots of potential scenarios that can be very challenging to deal with. If you answer ‘I never get stressed’, it won’t help your chances. It’s vital to recognise that this can be very stressful work, and demonstrate how you recognise stress and the strategies you use to deal with it.
Technology is increasingly playing a big part in the delivery of care. What experience do you have of technology in your previous roles, and has it improved your work?
Care providers like Cera Care are using technology to improve the lives of the people being cared for, and to make the work for the carer just a little bit easier and more efficient. Have you used technology in your work previously? If so, describe how. If your work hasn’t previously involved the use of digital technology, then try to use examples from elsewhere in your life to show that you have at least a basic understanding of how to use a mobile phone, apps and a laptop.
Tell us about how you would manage the conflicting priorities you might face in the role. How do you manage your workload effectively and what systems or processes do you use?
Your answer here needs to give logical and practical examples of how you cope, how you manage your time and workload. Tell the interviewer what ‘systems’ you use - such as to-do lists or time and task management apps on your phone or tablet.
How often would you update and evaluate a written care plan?
Care plans are not static. The needs of an individual might change. Are you flexible and professional enough to change a written care plan to match the needs of the client? Demonstrate to the interviewer that you understand why care plans need to be kept up to date, and give some practical examples of how you’ve evolved written care plans to suit the changing needs of your clients.
Now it’s your turn. Interviews aren’t one way traffic, you can and should ask questions too.
In job interviews you get the chance to ask questions of your own. It’s good practice to prepare some before you go into the interview but feel free to add additional questions that might arise during the interview process.
Here are a few example questions:
Tell me a bit more about the company. When was it formed, what are its ambitions?
What opportunities do you offer for further training, education and qualifications?
How might my career develop if I take this post? What opportunities are there to further my career while working here?
What will my support network consist of? Who’s there for me if I need some help or advice?
One last piece of advice…
Prepare well. Do your research, practice your answers - and prepare your own questions. All this preparation will be so helpful on the day of your interview and will hopefully increase your chances of landing that job as a senior care assistant.