Like most stories, a job interview has a structure. There’s the warm-up, when you trade niceties and get to know one another, followed by the information trade, when you effectively get across all the reasons the company should hire you and you learn more about the position. A CNA interview follows the same basic pattern and ends with the wrap-up. This is the time to put aside your compassionate, caretaker hat and put on your big-girl panties because a strong closing can make all the difference between you and the next candidate.
Ask Great Questions
Typically, the recruiter controls the interview and signals that it is coming to a close by asking if you have any questions. Prepare for this eventuality by asking smart, relevant questions. Whatever you do, don’t say no. That is the kiss of death. Instead, ask how the interviewer enjoys working for the company. Show off your knowledge by asking how the company did after its last merger with another hospital or how the new president of the nursing home is doing in the job. Ask about the types of patients in the facility and what opportunities there are for advancement.
Talk About Yourself
Wrap up a good interview by summing up your qualifications and your enthusiasm for the job. Ask the interviewer if she thinks you’ll be a good fit for the facility with your high technical skills and great bedside manner. Point out your two strongest skills so they will remain fresh in the interviewer’s mind after you leave. Add any other pertinent information that has not been covered in the interview, such as why you got into nursing in the first place, or why you chose that particular facility to apply for a job. Use the ending to leave the interviewer with a positive impression of your enthusiasm and expertise.
Chances are you will not be asked for references during the interview – there is room on the application to post those. But use the wrap-up to drop the name of your nursing instructor, especially if she is well known in the nursing community or holds an advanced degree. “I’ll have to tell her about you and how impressed I was with the facility, just like she said," is one way to work that in. Drop the name of a former patient who may know the interviewer or the name of an influential hospital supporter you know well.
Offer to Help
CNAs are helpful individuals so don’t be afraid to ask if you can help the recruiter make a final decision – after all it’s in your nature to be of assistance. Give her letters from additional references. Provide copies of your transcripts from your classes, as well as a copy of your certification in the state CNA registry. Bring a copy of your CPR card, as well as copies of any other certifications you might hold. Leave additional phone numbers where you can be reached, as well as your schedule for the next couple days. Finally, ask how she prefers to be contacted, by phone or email.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."