Whether it’s your first time or not, job interviews can give you the jitters. For some, the feeling is like having butterflies in their stomach, while for others, it’s like having an encounter with a hungry lion. Just the thought of sitting in front of a panel might be enough to make you want to faint or run out of the room. These feelings are normal, as that 10-minute meeting with your interviewer determines whether you are hired, or have to try your luck next time.
Preparing for an interview is not just knowing what to expect while you are in the room sitting across from the hiring manager. Your preparation must begin in advance, even before you complete your resume.
Whatever you do, do not make the mistake of getting a CNA application, filling it out, and handing it over to HR without looking professional or having prepared mentally. There is a chance that you could be interviewed right then and there, especially if your timing meets their urgent hiring needs.
If your application has been received and you’ve been asked to come back, then your resume made a good impression and they are looking to see if you are indeed what you have described in your application.
If you want to ace your interview, follow these powerful tips, from getting the call to interview, to signing your contract:
1. Plan ahead, but do not feel overwhelmed. Make a checklist of what to do and start from there. Research the hiring organization or facility.
2. Know the details of your application. If you say in your resume that you know how to operate an ECG machine, you should be able to tell them on which limb a color-coded electrode should be attached.
3. If you haven't been to the interview venue, it is wise to visit once before your interview to get an idea of how to get there and how much time it will take to drive there. Or, use a mobile app to help estimate the time of arrival at the venue and to navigate roads.
4. Prepare your attire. Wearing scrubs is a no-no, unless in the very rare case that you are asked to. Your appearance should be professional: no overdone or unkempt hair, no glittery or dirty nails, and no revealing attire. There is no need for a tux, business casual is appropriate, such as a suit jacket over dress slacks. Remember, no extremes.
5. Prepare to bring:
a. Three sets of a printed application—there may not be a need for these, especially if you submitted an online application, but it is best to have them on hand.
b. A pen and a notebook (or your mobile phone), in case you need to take down instructions.
c. Your CNA certification as well as a copy.
d. A CPR card, if you have it and if your state requires it.
e. List of references, who ideally should be former colleagues, supervisors, or mentors, who can say positive things about your work ethic and practices.
f. Letters of recommendation, if you have them.
6. Prepare to answer possible interview questions, such as why you chose a job as a CNA, or your professional goals after one year. Situational questions are favorites, such as describing a certain challenging situation and how you handled it. Previous experiences that taught you invaluable lessons as a CNA are frequently asked about, too. Do both mental and verbal rehearsals.
7. On the day of interview:
a. Eat a decent meal and stay well hydrated. This is the best way to prevent brain fog or mental block.
b. For women, wear light make up; for men, keep a neat hairstyle and facial hair.
c. Arrive at least 30 minutes early, and show up at the interview location 15 minutes before your appointment. Take advantage of that extra 15 minutes in between to freshen up and take a breather.
d. When you see your interviewer, maintain eye contact, smile, greet them, and be ready to offer or take a firm handshake.
e. Relax and keep an open but professional posture. It might help to think of it as more of a conversation than an interview.
f. Answer questions with confidence. If the question asked is unclear, restate the question and ask if you understood it correctly, or else politely ask them to repeat the question. It is fine to pause for a moment to think of your answer, but not a second longer.
g. Wait to ask about salary, benefits, vacation, and leave time until the interviewer brings it up.
h. Toward the end of the interview, ask about professional growth and development opportunities.
8. Wait for the interviewer to end the interview. Ask how and when to follow-up, if it was not discussed. Thank them for their time and give a firm handshake.
9. Follow instructions on how to know if you made it or not, and be hopeful.
A job interview can be intimidating, but having the right focus and confidence, while doing the above steps, could be your ticket to getting that dream job!
Try reviewing the course material on professional behaviors of the nursing assistant class from our course library.
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