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Job interviews can be incredibly intimidating no matter what stage of your career you’re at. Preparation is key to keeping your nerves at bay, so understanding the types of questions you will be asked and rehearsing your answers is the best way to pass a healthcare assistant interview.
As recruitment experts in the health care sector, we’ve been preparing healthcare assistants for interviews for over 20 years and can share the most common healthcare assistant interview questions you are likely to be asked. Just remember that a Healthcare Assistant is a very personable job, so the employer will ideally want to get to know you and your motivations to work in the healthcare sector as well as hearing about your skills and experience.
Q: Tell us about yourself
Give a broad overview of your education history and qualifications and previous roles you have held. If this is your first role in the care sector, you can mention roles where you think you developed relevant and transferable skills.
Example answer: I live locally and have been working as a Childcare Assistant in a nursery for the past three years, looking after babies and young children up to the age of five. I love the role, but I’ve always wanted to move into patient care and have just completed my Care Certificate. As you’d expect from working in a nursery, I am used to a busy environment where I’m constantly required to make decisions, monitor the health and welfare of the children, but also be a fun, personable and approachable presence for both the children and their parents.
I feel like I have the knowledge and transferable skills that would make me a great healthcare assistant, but would really like the opportunity to learn, develop and progress in this role too.
Q: Can you describe what you think a healthcare assistant does?
This broad question is a way for employers to gauge your understanding of the key aspects of this role, as well as day-to-day responsibilities. It’s an open question but try to keep your answer succinct. It’s a great opportunity to mention any relevant roles you’ve previously held, and show that you have done your research.
We already have a great resource which explains how to become a healthcare assistant, key qualifications, what responsibilities a healthcare assistant has, what skills you will learn, and progression opportunities.
Q: Why do you want to work in healthcare?
This is an incredibly common interview question, especially if you are changing careers and this is your first healthcare role. Answering why you want to work in healthcare gives you the opportunity to share your passion and motivation for caring for others. Ideas of things to cover include:
Q: Can you outline a challenging experience that you have had, and how you dealt with it?
It’s inevitable that everyone, no matter what industry they are in, is going to have challenging experiences at work but it’s how you deal with them that matters. Have a situation prepared that occurred through no fault of your own, and the steps you took to remedy the situation. Don’t be afraid to say how you felt as the challenging experience developed, you might have felt stressed, alarmed or distressed. But also show that you kept your cool and can work under pressure, that you prioritise patient care and safety in an unpredictable situation, and have the ability to remain calm and focused.
Q: What is your greatest strength?
Choose a strength that might have been mentioned on the job description and that you know is a core requirement of the role. It can be anything from being a good communicator, being able to react quickly to problems, or being a quick learner who can apply new skills immediately. You can mention your interest in this sector, such as always staying up to date on industry developments or focus on personality strengths such as compassion and patience.
You may have mentioned your strengths when you wrote a healthcare cover letter with your application, so reread that before your interview to remind yourself what you wrote.
Q: What is your biggest weakness?
Be honest, but make sure you keep your answer relevant to the job and show the interviewer that you are trying to improve. For example, you could struggle delivering bad news but have learnt that people need clear and understandable information when you are talking about healthcare so you are working on being more factual. Or perhaps you have always been so keen to help others and learn more that it meant you struggled to meet your own deadlines, so now you achieve everything on your own schedule – within reason – before you help others.
Q: What are your career goals?
This can be a tricky question to answer, as you want to strike a balance between showing you are committed to this role, are keen to learn and develop, but not just seeing it as a stepping stone so you can quickly move on.
A lot of Healthcare Assistants might be curious whether a Healthcare Assistant can become a Nurse, and what the other career progression opportunities might be.
Example answer: I want to carve out a career for myself in the healthcare sector. I’ve explained why I think I’m ready to take on the role of a Healthcare Assistant, and I want to learn and develop to do that role to the best of my ability. I don’t have a set career plan, but I am curious about whether nursing could be an option for me further down the road. I have read that Nursing Associates bridge the gap between Healthcare Assistants and Nurses, and that would be something I’d like to learn about further down the line.
The biggest part of the interview is to be honest about yourself and your abilities. This is a time for you to find more out about the role and about the company you will be potentially working with. By going over the example questions about you will be able to help map out your experiences in you mind and put your best step forward. Now you are ready for the interview make sure you check out our latest job listings.