care worker interview questionsIf you like a varied job where no two days are the same, then care work could be your perfect career.

Despite its challenges, caring can be hugely rewarding, allowing you to have a positive impact on the lives of society's most vulnerable individuals.

As care work doesn't require previous qualifications, it can prove enticing for young adults and career switchers alike.

But first, you must overcome the job interview. While there isn't always a one size fits all for every role, you may have gleaned many essential care worker qualities from previous life experience or job roles. 

We'll cover how to highlight these attributes for the benefit of the interviewer next.

Preparation

While care workers are often in high demand, you must still prepare well to ensure a successful application to an organisation that mirrors your ethics and values.

Although you may worry about not possessing previous examples to showcase your skills, interviewers aren't always expecting the perfect work experience. In addition to how you respond, they'll assess your personability, engagement and communication skills.

The following list, while providing sample questions, isn't designed to cover every possible scenario. Therefore it's wise to prepare sample questions ahead of time to call upon when necessary.

Firstly, perform your due diligence and read the job description thoroughly to ensure you understand the responsibilities of the role.

Also, refresh yourself on the latest industry news to respond to any topical questions that arise. An awareness of care guidelines and legislation will help in the event of any policy-related discussions.

Instead of documenting your answers word for word, prepare bullet points covering the themes and/or related topics you'd like to cover. During the pressure of an interview, you can then speak naturally while recalling your core points. Ask a friend or loved one to perform a mock interview to uncover areas requiring further work.

Sample Care Worker Interview Questions

A care interview may be categorised by technical, experiential and personality-based questions. Here are some examples:

What do you think a care worker does? 

This is where accurate appraisal of the job description is important, demonstrating to the interviewer that you've performed your research. Reading accounts of care workers daily routines will give you an insight into your expected tasks. You may even get more specific, reading reviews and descriptions from the organisation's current employees on job sites and forums.

What qualities do you bring to the role? 

Think about why you want to enter care work. It's likely that your motivation will inform the key strengths that you bring to the role. Are you a good listener? Do you have a knack for putting people at ease or making them laugh? Aside from technical knowledge, these softer skills provide the basis for your care work, allowing you to strike up productive relationships with colleagues and clients alike. Any other relevant job experience will be a bonus.

Can you provide an example of previous teamwork? 

Care work is a team game, and during pressure situations, it's essential to rely on your colleagues. Even with the best knowledge in the world, clients will suffer if you can't cooperate effectively in a group. Creating a harmonious team environment is likely one of the organisation's primary objectives, creating smiling faces at work and higher staff retention. 

Can you outline how you've dealt with a stressful experience? 

Perhaps this is a previous life experience or incident at work. As uncomfortable as these events are, they provide room for growth, which is often what interviewers want to discuss. Furthermore, these experiences allow you to empathise more effectively with clients, who may suffer from their own health-related stresses and strains.

Have you cared for anyone before; either for a loved one or in a voluntary capacity? 

Although it's not always necessary to possess formal experience, some job seekers choose to gain industry exposure in voluntary capacities, which can serve them well at interview. Even if you haven't volunteered, perhaps you've utilised care-centric skills when dealing with friends or loved ones and can draw on this knowledge. This type of compassionate experience will help you thrive in the role.

Can you tell me about safeguarding? 

Safeguarding is the protection of a client's health, wellbeing and human rights, keeping them safe from harm, abuse and neglect. Clients receiving care are often vulnerable, and protecting these individuals through a robust framework is imperative. The Care Act of 2014 outlines your expected duty of care and should be consulted prior to interview.

What do you know about person-centred care? 

Whereas care can sometimes be prescriptive, emerging evidence suggests that person-centred intervention is more effective. Involving your clients in the care process and giving them the autonomy to decide on their individual needs is essential for improved health outcomes. Care is not about doing everything for your clients. Instead, it's about discovering how clients can participate in the process and assisting them where needed.

How would you handle an upset or confused client? 

When clients start to need help with their activities of daily living, it can be a difficult transition. Accepting a stranger into their lives to assist with personal tasks is daunting for many. Adopting a patient, calm demeanour, therefore, is vital to put clients at ease, ensuring you can work safely and effectively. Perhaps discussing the client with your coworkers or superiors will provide more information on how best to manage the situation. Liaising with family and friends may help to uncover alternative methods of intervention and support. 

Have you ever handled an emergency situation or an event which required quick-thinking? 

While you may never have performed the Heimlich manoeuvre in a restaurant before, perhaps you've dealt with previous emergency situations or averted potential risks in the past. Drawing on these incidents provides evidence that you can use your initiative when required, an important skill when helping clients who suffer from potentially unstable health conditions.

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What would you do if a client you were attending had collapsed?

This question would test your ability to take the initiative in a potential emergency situation. If finding a client on the floor, basic first aid training would be necessary to ensure the patient is breathing. Utilising the Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation pneumonic (D-R-A-B-C) can help you recall the correct procedure. If you find a client is unresponsive and either not breathing or breathing irregularly, you need to call the emergency services before performing CPR. Such training would be provided in your employee induction. Other types of accidents or falls may also require the emergency services, in addition to informing management and completing an incident report.

What kind of support would an elderly client require? 

Many care workers will be expected to work with elderly clientele. These individuals, due to ageing, illness or disability, may need greater assistance. In addition to helping with functional, household and community activities, these individuals may require assistance with aspects like personal care. 

How would you care for someone with [particular condition, e.g. Alzheimer's Disease]?  

A technical question such as this may vary depending on the job application and the clientele you'll be expected to work with. Having at least a basic understanding of common health conditions in your proposed client group is essential to answer any care questions effectively and prepare any specific tools or techniques that care workers use in their daily management.

How would you perform a client needs assessment? 

A needs assessment is the vital first step of gauging the level of support clients require, and is undertaken alongside a risk assessment. Speaking to a client and their loved ones about their current activities of daily living and functional status is important to determine the facilitation required. A needs assessment should focus on person-centred care and the empowerment of the individual to participate in their care as much as possible.

How would you maintain a client's dignity and respect?

Where clients were strong and independent prior to illness or disability, they may now require help with what they consider basic tasks, leading to feelings of vulnerability. Therefore, it's essential to maintain clients dignity and respect. One such example is with personal care. Ensuring that clients provide consent before helping them is important, while providing as much privacy as possible. Encouraging a client to do as much as they can while you facilitate will help them stay as independent as possible.

Tell me about your previous job

Interviewers may want to know if there's any transferable experience from your previous role(s), and may even ask why you're leaving your current employment. This might be especially pertinent when changing careers and entering care for the first time. If you're transitioning from another care worker role, you should be able to draw upon the experience that qualifies you for the new position.

What hours are you available to work?

Care work doesn't stop at 5 pm, with clients requiring support at all hours of the day and night. The varying shift patterns and flexibility that caring can provide is attractive to some potential applicants, who might be juggling their own family responsibilities. As such, it's advisable to consider the days and times you're available to work ahead of time.

Do you have any final questions?

At the end of the interview, you may be asked if you'd like more information about the company. This is your chance to vet your the employer further to ensure there's a good cultural fit. In the course of your research, more specific questions may have arisen about the management structure, career opportunities, induction process and support you can expect in the role.

Hopefully, these sample questions will get you thinking about your past experience and how you can select relevant examples to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. More importantly, however, it's enthusiasm that counts. If your excitement for care work shines through, your perfect job might not be far off.

Help care workers change lives by becoming a supporter of The Care Workers Charity today. If you’re a caregiver, check if you qualify for support here.

Would you like the chance to win a fantastic holiday with Haven? If so, click here to learn more about the care worker 'Glad to Care' competition and how to enter.


Author: Joel Key, Marketing Manager

Joel trained in health and has since undertaken various digital media roles to help organisations fulfil their mission. At The Care Workers Charity, he combines his passion for health, social care and marketing to assist the growth of this wonderful cause.