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  • 17 September 2020
  • 14 min read

How To Prepare For And Ace An Interview In Care

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  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Laura Bosworth
  • 1
  • 6367
Play video: "Chill out, relax, deep breath. Remember you're awesome and go for it. "

Using her own experience and citing job specific examples, former Healthcare Assistant, Claire Carmichael, gives her guide on how to stand out in your next care interview.

Topics covered in this article


General Interview Questions

Knowing Your Strengths & Weaknesses

What Skills Can You Bring To The Role?

How Are You Going To Support The Individuals That You Care For?

Questions On Safeguarding

How Would You Deal With Aggression Or Violence?

Knowing Pressure Areas

Knowing About Risk Assessments

Working With Patients That Refuse Food

Teamwork & Management

My Final Tips

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Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the vlog.

My name is Claire Carmichael and I am a General Practice Nurse.

However, I did spend a lot of my time as a Healthcare Assistant working in elderly care homes.

Today's vlog is all about how to ace that interview if you are going for a Healthcare Assistant position or a Social Care position, and hopefully I can give you some great tips and advice if you've got your interview coming up.

General Interview Questions

In most interviews you will get the generic type of questions.

Why do you want to work for us?

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

What can you bring to the team?

Talk to us a bit about teamwork and also working on your own initiative...

Those type of questions, pretty much anywhere you work will ask you because they want to know a bit about you, why you want to work for them, why they should be picking you for the job, and what you're going to bring to their company in a way.

What Do You Think?

Ask questions, comment and like this article below! Share your thoughts, add your opinion in the comments below.


Knowing Your Strengths & Weaknesses

Another common question is about your strengths and weaknesses.

I just wanted to put a little tip in here.

Obviously, we want to show our strengths and show off and pass this interview with flying colors.

When it comes to weaknesses, we tend to go a bit shy and be like, "Don't really want to tell them what I'm bad at".

But what they want to see in this question is you recognise what you need improving and you've got the steps in place to improve it.

For me, I said something in one of my interviews, I said something like, "I take on too much" because I do.

And that's something that I am very aware of, I can't say no to people, and I just say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah," and then I get burnt out.

I gave an example in second year where I was taking on way too much, so I put steps in place to reduce that for third year in my nursing degree and just took some time out and just prioritise the things that I really wanted to do and the things that I didn't really need to do.

I pushed to one side just to give myself that easier workload.

It's about showing, "Yeah, okay, I've got these weaknesses, I'm not very good at that, but actually I'm doing this training, I'm going to look into this training to improve and build on that".

As long as you've got a solution to the weaknesses, don't worry about it.

What Skills Can You Bring To The Role?

Some specific questions to the Care or Social Care role could be things like what skills you can bring.

Have a little think, if you've never worked in Social Care or care work ever before, just think about the transferable skills that you can bring, your communication styles, things that you've done out there.

If you've just left school, for example, think about those time-keeping skills, organisational skills, your communication skills with your peers, with your classmates, with your teachers, things like that.

Think about those little things that you can bring into the care work and give examples as well. One thing that people love is not only are you just giving your answer, so, say, "I'm a great listener," but actually give an example so that you show that you understand what a good listener is.

Make sure you give examples with every question that you answer, back it up with an example, because the more you can do that the far better your interview is going to go and really impress them.

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How Are You Going To Support The Individuals That You Care For?

The next thing that you might get asked is something around how you're going to support those individuals.

If you're going into care work for the elderly, how are you going to support those individuals that really need it so that you're going to be working with some really vulnerable patients, people with maybe reduced mobility, frailty, things like that.

Think about how you would care for those patients as a Care Assistant.

And also, if it's more like a learning disability that you're going into, think about the specific needs of people, the types of learning disabilities that people might have, and also physical disabilities as well.

Have a little think about those sort of things. And again, use examples.

Think of things that you have done already in your life.

If you've supported someone like that in your life, it might have been your grandparents, it might have been a family member, it might have been a friend or a colleague.

Just use any examples you can.

And if you haven't ever had that experience before, try and think about, okay, how would you support that person?

How would you put those things in place?

So it's really good to research the area that you're going into.

Just get a lot of information and background on it and how you can best support those people.

Also, social media is brilliant for that as well.

Have a look at some forums, different groups out there on social media, have a look around and just see what other people have been doing and ask questions.

Questions On Safeguarding

Another question that you might get asked, you might get asked a lot of things around safeguarding because safeguarding is quite big, especially with elderly and vulnerable people with learning disabilities.

They're very, very vulnerable, so you need to know your safeguarding stuff and know how you would recognise different types of safeguarding, so have a look at the safeguarding websites.

There's loads of different things out there on safeguarding and just figure out what you would do in that situation.

For example, we had a patient and we suspected that, it wasn't a direct family member, but it was more of a distant family member, but they were the Carer for this person, this patient.

She kept making comments about money and stuff and how she was giving them money to get pads and things like that for her but she never saw the pads and things.

We were massively concerned that this person was actually financially abusing this patient.

We put in it to all of the safeguarding teams and it went to all sorts of people.

Actually, it turned out he was actually abusing this patient financially and it was terrible.

This poor lady.

Well, it was neglect as well in a way because she wasn't getting the stuff she needs and he was spending all her money.

Think about things like that.

Not just the physical abuse, because that's the first thing that people think of, is the hidden things.

The hidden things are the hardest part of safeguarding because then you have to prove it.

Think about that and don't just automatically go, okay, physical and sexual abuse, go into the deepest stuff, go into the things that they're not going to expect you to say, because you've looked into it and you're going to wow them.

How Would You Deal With Aggression Or Violence?

Another question that always gets asked in care and social care and even in nursing is always about aggression and violence.

You will always get that scenario where what would you do with an angry patient or a patient that's upset or a family member and a family member's coming at you and being really angry and not happy?

How would you deal with that situation?

They're just trying to work out what sort of person you are, how you're going to be dealing with that situation, and are you comfortable with that sort of behavior as well.

It's about recognising that and, again, using your communication skills to resolve the issue, using your calm tone, take them to a confidential area where they can speak freely, getting management and support if you cannot handle that situation.

Always make sure you say that.

Make sure you say you will always get support if needed, because it's about protecting you as well.

It's not about the patient is always right, it's also about you and protecting you and your team as well.

Yes, balance it out.

Knowing Pressure Areas

Some of the things you might get asked, especially more so in care homes, is about pressure areas because pressure areas is quite big.

As you get older, your skin becomes weaker, people get a little bit more frailer, the skin is going to break down so much easier.

You might get asked a question about how to recognise pressure sores.

What would you do?

How would you report it?

What steps you would put in place to protect that patient from getting any pressure sores?

It's just being mindful around that as well and making sure that your patients are moving and being active and also in nutrition and diet as well, also plays a massive factor in it.

Yes, just think about all the little things, not just the big things.

Knowing About Risk Assessments

Something that co-sides with that is a risk assessment.

They might ask you what types of risk assessments do you think that we do in care homes.

Again, it's things like your care plan in your frailty assessments, your handling, your health and safety.

They might use news charts.

They might use Waterlow scores.

They might use MUS tools.

All these sort of little risk assessments that they might use, but it's all, again, for the patient safety and the patient care.

Everybody's different and everyone's going to have different levels that there are and extra needs may be put in place to protect them.

Yeah, have a look around about risk assessments.

Working With Patients That Refuse Food

Another question I was asked actually was something around eating and drinking.

If you have a patient that's literally refusing to eat, refusing to drink, and this is going on for a couple of days, what do you do about it?

For me, I answered this as in, what if it's me?

What if they're not eating and drinking because they just don't like my face that day.

I said I would make use of everybody, so I've tried different team members, see if they can help.

Try the family.

Family are amazing.

They are so good and they can help so much with these things, especially at meal times when it's already manic, everyone's rushed off their feet.

Family are really, really good to help in these sort of situations.

Use and abuse the family members as well whilst they're there.

Also, thinking about underlying conditions. They're not eating and drinking, why is that, and trying to get to the bottom of it and find out why and what you can do to help and just being open with your patient as well and just saying to your patient:

I've noticed this, are you okay?

Are you enjoying your food?

Is there anything else we can do?

Do you feel okay?

Your observations okay?

Are you going to the toilet normally and all of this?

Because there might just be something really minor.

Also teeth.

Oh my God, sorry to interrupt. Also teeth.

Some older people do have their own teeth still, but a lot of them also have dentures.

There might be a problem in their mouth, which is why they're not eating, it's why they're not drinking, because it's really sensitive and painful.

It's asking about that and seeing if anyone's cleaned their teeth if they can't do it for themselves.

If they can do it for themselves, make sure they are cleaning their teeth properly and there's nothing there that's causing a problem.

They haven't got mouth ulcers, they might have thrush in their mouth.

It's just really thinking about these little things, why isn't this person eating and getting to the bottom of it so that you can help them and make sure they're safe and eating well and keeping that nutrition and fluids balanced.

Teamwork & Management

Another little question that you might get asked is more about teamwork and in management as well.

They might say something like, "What would happen if you're working with someone and you really don't get on with them and you come to clashes? Like another Carer or even the management. How would you handle that situation?"

It is again about being professional and respecting your colleagues, respecting your manager.

But if there's something really, really concerning and like you've seen them abusing somebody maybe, it's about taking it higher and trying to resolve the situation, because it's not nice to go into work and come to disagreements with people.

And it's definitely not nice witnessing abuse because I've been that person who has witnessed abuse before and I just reported it straight away because I won't have my patients been abused.

I'm sorry.

I don't care who you are

Yeah, it's not nice.

It's about being honest and open, again, with these sort of things.

If you see something, make sure you speak up, report it to management.

If it is the manager doing it, you go higher than the manager and just report it back, but also being professional and calm and maintaining your own dignity in a way, if that makes sense.

My Final Tips

I think that's everything.

I think I've covered everything.

If I've missed anything out, I'm really, really sorry.

I can only really go on my own experiences and what I had in my interviews and what I've heard from other people as well.

I'm trying to give you as information as possible for your interviews to best prepare you.

But the best thing you can do, honestly, is just relax, shine, show your passion, and just research the area you're going into.

You need to know the place that you're going into and working in, and that will just help you so much during the interview if they ask you questions about their trust and the business as well.

Also, if there's something that really stands out about them, you can say that in the interviews as well.

Say, "I really actually like the way that you do this, and this just shows, because on your CQC report, for example... ".

Look at the CQC reports.

Last tip.

"On your CQC report, for example, it shows that you're outstanding or you're good and these are the areas that you're really good in and I really like that".

Doing that sort of thing shows that you're keen, you're interested, and you're invested in this job, and they're going to be really impressed with you for doing that.

Yes, a massive, massive good luck to you all.

You're going to ace it.

Chill out, relax, deep breath.

Remember you're awesome and go for it. Good luck.

Let me know in the comments your interview advice and what you think about my tips - let's chat there!

Oh, and please Like this article to let me know you enjoyed it - thank you!

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing. Advice

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  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.

    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Laura Bosworth
  • 1
  • 6367

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    • Reshu Gramoney one year ago
      Reshu Gramoney
    • Reshu Gramoney
      one year ago

      This is awesome, thank you Claire. I have an interview coming up and you have really helped. These are wonderful ... read more