A certified nursing assistant, often called a CNA or nurse’s aide, is a crucial part of the healthcare system. CNAs work in hospitals and clinics, and are most prevalent in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 20 percent increase in CNA jobs from 2010 to 2020, which is above the 14 percent average job growth projected for all occupations. To get the prime positions, however, you must be well-prepared for the job interview.
Before applying for a job as a CNA, obtain the credentials required by your state. In most states, you need to be listed on the registry that tracks unlicensed healthcare workers. You must be able to point to your registry listing as well as provide information about where you got your training. Be familiar with other credentials that are important to the hiring facility, such as medication technician certifications or phlebotomy credentials. The extra information may put you ahead of other candidates.
Know your skills. Be prepared to talk about your ability to properly position and turn patients and your skills at helping patients transfer to a wheelchair from the bed. Tell the interviewer about your awareness of safety procedures, and prove it by showing up to the interview with clean, trimmed nails, which are required of CNAs. Be prepared to discuss how you get along with people and relate your experiences with administering medications or engaging patients in activities.
Familiarize yourself with the facility, so that you can ask suitable questions in the interview. Research the history of the nursing home, for example, so you can ask about the future of the place and what advancement opportunities are available. Have a basic understanding of the hiring process and how much new CNAs are paid, what benefits are offered and what shifts you might be expected to work. Most of the information is typically available in the job posting, on the company website or from current employees you contact before the interview.
Know what you’re going to say when asked certain questions. Prepare for the most commonly asked interview questions, such as “Why do you want to work here?” “What are your strengths and weakness?” and “What made you want to become a CNA?” Write out your answers before you go to the interview, so you can practice and sound natural when you answer. Many recruiters ask you to tell them about yourself, so prepare a one- or two-minute response that gives them a glimpse into your compassionate personality and your enthusiasm for helping people.
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."