Certified Nurse Assistant Interview Guide

CNA Job Interview Guide
Here are Certified Nurse Assistant Job Interviews through our guide to common questions you can expect.

Being a Certified Nurse Assistant is a rewarding feat. Your journey starts off by enrolling in a program that will guide you through the tools to assist your patients and be the perfect healthcare employee. Day in and day out you’re proving to your teacher that you got what it takes to succeed. After passing all your tests and ending up on that graduation stage it’s time to start applying for jobs! This urgent care you’ve had your eye on for months rings up your cell to invite you in. Woohoo! You did it! Well, not yet. You gotta ace that interview just like you did all your tests. Ever wondered, “what kind of questions do they ask CNAs during job interviews?” Don’t fret, we got a study guide or you that’ll match the many different places you can work as a CNA.

Certified Nurse Assistant Job Interviews

Just like a first date, only with duller clothes, interviewers usually start by trying to get to know you. “Tell me about yourself?” is the usual go to. This does not mean you should start talking about your zodiac signs and your pet peeves; this is a professional question. You should prepare some sort of elevator speech. This is a short planned spiel about your professional goals and why you are a good fit for the job in a short manner. Short was stated twice on purpose for emphasis. Do not go on a long tangent, this will show the interview that you can’t be brief and to the point. They simply want to know why you got into the healthcare field, why you are interested in the position, and how you’d be a good fit.

Why Become a Certified Nurse Assistant?

After they find out a little about you, it’s time to elaborate. Another question they may ask is why you chose this position specifically or why you are in healthcare in the first place. We emphasised your first spiel is short, because you don’t want to quickly answer all their questions in one go. The point of the interview is to show them how you’re the best fit, but also to engage in a conversation where you can exemplify detailed points. Be honest here, but not too honest. Letting them know that you’re just there because it’s good money won't really bode over well. Your employer wants to hear how your characteristics and work ethic will benefit their goals, which is showing patients that you care while performing your duties successfully. Slide in the fact that you admire their team's work ethic and you find that you will make a perfect edition since you are such a hard worker.

What are your strengths? Seriously, take a second to think. Employers will get straight to the point because they want to find out what you’re good at. This isn’t just to know that you’re good at your job, but sometimes they’re looking for something specific or are interested in where you’d be a great fit. Afterall, there are many reasons to become a Certified Nurse Assistant, so it’s good to know that you have some strengths to complement the benefits. Remember, they’re looking for professional strengths, not just interpersonal strengths. Letting them know that you get along great with others and that you’re a great communicator is fantastic, but try getting technical. Think back to your training in school, where did you excel. Fill them in on how you’re great when it comes to phlebotomy and how your teacher always used you as an example because you put your test patients at ease. Do you know your way around an EKG machine well? If you’ve had a certified nurse assistant position before this, what went over well there? This can be narrative based as well. You can fill them in on a story of how you were tasked to watch the front desk and when the lines were clogged you always found a way to filter all the calls through to the right place all while managing to fulfill your clerical duties.

Characteristics of a CNA

Paired with asking about your strengths, employers also want to get down to the bottom of what you may need a little work on. They’re going to ask you about your weaknesses. This question is one that seems to stump many if they are not ready. Your first instinct when trying to wow a potential new boss is not to blurt out the things you are bad at! Just like bragging about yourself isn’t your own primetime television show to unprofessionally rant about yourself, this section should also be approached with tact. It’s okay to be honest, but make sure whatever you inform your employer about your previous downfalls is followed up with how you’ve resolved or managed those issues. Remember to make your weaknesses very past tense or something that can show that you’re human. Take some time to think about this answer and what it would sound like to your employer. What can you say that shows that you have improved as a person. Don’t give your employer a reason to put your resume in the trash bin. This isn’t time to let your interviewer know that you were the worst person to draw blood. That’s a huge part of the job!

Now, there will be a point in the interview that will begin to dive into situational circumstances. Think of this as a sort of test with multiple answers. There’s no way to say every single thing that the employer would like to hear, but there are definitely wrong answers. The situational circumstances would be too long to cover, which we can get into on another blog post, but for now we wanted to fill you in on certain types of questions they will ask. As homework, you should take a look at these and try to come up with specific answers an employer would like to hear. If you need help, you can always ask your peers in the healthcare community or reach back out to the school you received training in. Instructors and career services departments are almost always willing to help out a student in need of a job so do not hesitate to reach out. Here are some questions an employer might ask:

  • What would you do if you have a disagreement with the doctor giving you orders?
  • What are the steps to follow if you notice that your patient needs immediate care?
  • What do you do if a patient is giving you trouble or refusing your care?
  • What would you do if a patient faints under your care?

The questions may even get more logistical to test you on your knowledge of professionalism as a certified nurse assistant.

  • What is a healthy heart rate for a healthy patient in their 20’s?
  • How do you go about drawing blood from a patient?
  • What do you do if a patient doesn’t have any health insurance but is still requesting assistance?
  • What do you do if you feel a patient doesn’t require your services, but instead should be at a medical institution such as a hospital or primary care provider instead of an urgent care or vice versa?

Getting a Job as a CNA

Employers are obviously interviewing a lot of prospective candidates, so they often wonder, why you? Seriously, that may be a specific question. It may sound like, “Why do you think you’re a good fit for this role?” or “Why should we consider you to be our newest Certified Nurse Assistant?” or anything similar, but truly it all boils down to showing how you are different from the rest. This is the part where you throw in all of your experience, but let them in on how much you care about patients. This is the full circle moment where you get to show your individuality and soul. Anyone can work hard and go through a 9 month program, but what about your work ethic stands out. Proceed to fill them in on your thoughts on how important certified nurse assistants are and how you agree with the mission statement. It’s always good to do some research on the institution you are working for or do some research on certified nurse assistants in general. Is there something in their mission statement or the job offer that you can use? Employers get excited when their prospective employees go the extra mile to show that they are the right for the job.

Why did you leave your last job? Employers almost always want to know since there are always positions coming and going in the world of healthcare. Now, there can be many reasons, but whatever the reason was, try to sway in the direction that lets your employer know that for whatever reason you found your career goals aligning with them. Do not bring up anything negative even if there was an issue at your last job. This may turn your employer off and let them think that you bring unwanted chaos into workplaces, even if it was not your fault.