Congratulations on becoming a CNA and choosing a career in the growing healthcare field! However, before you embark on this rewarding journey, you will need to answer and ace your nursing interview questions.
Everyone knows practice makes perfect, so here are 10 commonly asked CNA interview questions and answers to help you land the job you’ve worked so hard to secure.
10 Popular CNA Questions and Suggested Answers
Tell me about yourself?
This is often one of the first questions asked in any interview. When answering, don’t just rattle of all of your accomplish and school history. Instead, discuss how your life experiences have helped prepare you for being an excellent CNA.
Here’s an example of a thoughtful reply to this question:
“I get along with people very well. This has made me a team player at all jobs I have had. In my previous employment as a sales associate, I got along well with the public and went out of my way to help both customers and co-workers. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to apply my people skills and caring attitude to a job as a CNA and hope to make all patients feel a little more at home and very well cared for. Having worked two jobs while also completing my CNA training, I know I have the ability to work long hours and multitask without losing my energy or positive attitude.”
What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are?
While seemingly harmless, this is another tricky question that must be answered with care. In order to keep from putting your foot in your mouth, you should practice your response to this question well in advance.
It’s important to demonstrate you have the skills needed to be a terrific CNA. While being honest and highlighting your weaknesses is always recommended, your weaknesses should indirectly speak to your strengths.
For instance, you could respond by saying, “My friends say that I take work too seriously.” You can also say something along the lines of “I am impatient with incompetent people, but I am working on it.” When describing your weaknesses, it’s important to add that you’re working on improving them.
Why did you leave your last employer?
This is always a difficult question to answer, regardless of the profession. While it may indicate shades of the truth, you should never say, “I hated the job and couldn’t wait to leave,” or anything remotely similar.
Even if your last job or employer was less than ideal and you couldn’t wait to punch out at the end of the day, you should say something like, ”I learned a lot about myself in my previous job and part of what I learned is that my talents and skills can better serve your healthcare facility and the people I will work with each day. I know I will continue to grow as a person and as a nursing assistant if I work for you.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
You obviously don’t want to answer this question by saying you see yourself starting a .com and sailing around the Caribbean. However, it’s important to portray yourself as a motivated person with goals.
If you’re interested in continuing your education and growing within the medical profession, you could respond with, “I hope to gain a few years of solid experience working as an assistant before pursuing a licensed practical nursing (LPN) degree. I know I can learn a lot working for this hospital which has a reputation of providing outstanding care to patients. Sometime down the road, I hope to work as an LPN or maybe even an RN for this facility.”
Why do you want to be a CNA?
Your answer to this question should reveal your passion for the health care field. However, it shouldn’t be some generic Mother Teresa-like response. Rather, your answer should have a personal touch.
Here’s a great example of an effective response:
“I have known since I was a child that I wanted to work in a job where I could truly help others and know that I want to enter the health care industry in some way. When I was in high school, my grandmother became too ill for us to care for her on our own. My family hired a home health agency to provide nursing care for her. Now my grandmother is doing very well and I truly believe a lot of that is because she had such wonderful nurses. I decided to become a CNA because I would like to help others the way those lovely ladies helped my own grandmother.”
Why do you want to work with our organization?
This question is often asked to determine whether or not you’ve done your research on the company or organization you’ve applied to work for. Needless to say, the answer will take some preparation and internet research. Ultimately, HR wants to hire qualified individuals who understand the company and will gel with their co-workers and the organization as a whole.
Describe some positive personality traits you feel will help you in this role?
Statements like, “I am a very detail oriented person or I am an excellent communicator” are as generic as they come and don’t tell your personal story. Rather than going that route, answer the question by weaving in a personal anecdote. Here’s a great example:
“I have always been the type person to go the extra mile in everything I do in life. When I was completing my training course, I was working with a patient I had gotten to know well. Her conversations with me one morning were nothing like we had before. I just had a feeling something wasn’t right even though she looked well and her vitals were fine. Even so, I talked to my supervisor to let her know something was wrong. The doctor was called and it turned out the patient was ill that day. Since I had always taken time to really talk to and understand my patients, I was able to help when she was not well.”
Describe your CNA training? Have you taken any specialized courses?
As a CNA, you can have an array of specializations. You can work with elderly people or the terminally ill. You can work with emergency and accident patients in the ER department of a hospital. The list goes on and on. If you have taken any specialized training, either in school or from a previous employer, make sure to mention it when answering interview questions for CNA position.
Are there any challenges you faced during your CNA training or when you first got started in the profession? If so, what were they?
Even if you’re fresh out of nursing school, you should prepare for these types of CNA job interview questions. Employers commonly ask this question to learn more about you and gauge whether or not you’re capable of successfully dealing with the various challenges CNAs often face.
If you’re new to the field and lack on-the-job experience, you can provide an example of a difficult aspect of your previous profession. If you already have experience as a nursing assistant, simply provide an example or two of any difficulties you may have encountered. Of course, you want to mention how you overcame these challenges as well.
Why do you feel you are suitable for a CNA position with our organization?
This may seem like a generic question and an open invitation to rattle out your skills, personality, and experience, but your answer will likely open up the door for even more questions. Nonetheless, you should answer plainly and simply by revealing any qualities you possess suitable for the CNA profession.
These are just a handful of nursing assistant interview questions you’ll likely encounter during your quest of becoming a practicing CNA. As long as you’re grounded, honest, and prepared you’ll do just fine!
Bonus: 5 Tips for Successful Nonverbal Communication
Scientific research has proven a majority of communication that takes place between individuals is primarily nonverbal. Although verbal communication is important, what we say with our eyes, hands, and posture plays an even larger role the way we communicate with one another. Here are five nonverbal CNA job interview tips guaranteed to boost your odds of landing your dream job:
Give a Confident Handshake
First impressions are everything, so get your CAN interview off on the right track by giving a confident handshake to your recruiter and a nod to his or her colleagues. Doing so will provide you with an immediate advantage.
Be Clean and Well-Dressed
I know it sounds obvious, but when interviewing for a job, any job, it’s important to be clean and look your best. A good CNA candidate should take good care of themselves. So, avoid smoke, sweat, and other unpleasant odors prior to the interview.
Rather than waiting until the last minute, you should also get your interview outfit ready to wear a few days in advance in order to avoid any unnecessary stress. As far as the outfit is concerned, pick out something that makes you feel confident and corresponds to the organization or department’s dress code.
Confidence is the key to success, so walk into your CNA interview with your head and chest held high. During the interview, make sure you sit upright and display good posture. Also, make it a point to make eye contact as often as possible.
That being said, don’t spend the entire interview with your back glued to the back of the seat. Not only will this make the interview seem awkward and unnatural, but it will hurt your back as well! Little things like tilting your head, crossing a leg, and so on are easy ways to change your position while still looking professional and alert.
Balance Your Movements
Your movements should be balanced and unexaggerated throughout the interview. You don’t want to talk with your arms and hands the entire time, but you don’t want to sit there like a log in the same position either. The key is to find the right balance of movement that displays interest and confidence, not boredom or madness.
Be Mindful of Personal Space
No one likes their space invaded, so respect your recruiter’s personal space. You don’t need to lean uncomfortable close to your recruiter to convince him or her of your interest. As a general rule of thumb, try to keep a distance of one to three meters throughout the interview.
What you say during your CNA interview will obviously affect whether or not you get the job. However, most people neglect to think about the even more important unspoken aspects of the interview process.
The fact is your nonverbal communication can sink a CNA interview before you’re even asked your first question. So, read these tips a few more times and practice your posture and mannerisms just as much as your answers to the ten interview questions above. If you do, you’ll almost certainly pass with flying colors!