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Are you preparing for an interview as a support worker? Like any interview, the best way to prepare is to understand the type of interview questions support workers are asked. By practicing your answers you will be able to confidently answer questions and settle any pre interview nerves.
Using our 20+ years of care recruitment experience, we’ve prepared some of the most common support worker interview questions and answers to help you prepare. We’ve also created a free downloadable PDF doc with support worker interview questions and answers at the bottom of this blog that you can download to practice your answers with a friend of family member.
Quite early on in any interview, you are likely to be asked a question along these lines. This broad question offers you the chance to demonstrate your grasp on and overall knowledge of the care sector. Being a very open question, it will show the employer whether you understand the expectations of the job.
It’s also your chance to show them any research that you have done. Be fully prepared, especially if it is a new area of support work!
“I believe a care worker is responsible for providing personal care and assistance to individuals who may be elderly, disabled, or otherwise in need of support. This could include personal care such as helping with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and grooming, or providing and organising transportation to appointments. A care worker should be ready to run errands, prepare meals, administer medication, and provide personal companionship where required. Overall, the primary role of a care worker is to help individuals live as independently as possible and maintain a good quality of life.“
In other words, “what more can you offer…”. Certainly, a daunting question in any interview, though one with no one right answer! Rather it is your chance to speak openly about your personal qualities, skills and previous experience.
This is your time to sell yourself as the right candidate for the role. So be sure to show confidence and pride when communicating your previous experience.
As a profession with many subjective experiences, due to the inevitable encounters with unique individuals and situations, sharing a diverse background of experience with some unusual cases will give you that edge!
“As a support worker, I believe I have a number of skills and qualities that would make me an asset to this position. First and foremost, I consider myself a compassionate and empathetic individual who is dedicated to providing the highest level of care and support to those in need. I am also a strong communicator and have previously taken responsibility for shift management, helping to navigate my colleagues through busy shifts.
Through my experience to date, I have been able to build positive relationships with clients and their families, which helps solidify trust. I have a strong work ethic and am committed to delivering high-quality care in a timely and efficient manner. I believe that my combination of personal qualities and professional skills make me well-suited to succeed in this role.”
This is important if you are changing careers and entering care for the first time. Interviewers may want to know if there’s any transferable experience from your previous roles. They will likely ask why you’re leaving or left your current employment.
Don’t be negative and stay as positive as you can. But try to shift the focus to the new opportunity that you see with them. If you’re moving from another care worker role, you should be able to use experiences that qualify you for the new position.
Unfortunately, it is the nature of support work to encounter challenging and different situations. It is only natural that the employer will want to know about your ability to work under pressure and, when supporting a range of different individuals, how you would cope in new and unfamiliar situations. You should draw on previous challenging roles that required quick decision-making and where you were able to strictly follow regulations and procedures.
As a support worker, your potential employer wants to know about your ability to work under stress. Unfortunately, support workers may find themselves in situations that can be stressful and even traumatic. So, think about the times when you have had to deal with a stressful situation in previous roles.
Describe how you manage each situation individually, rather than merely reacting to ‘stress’. Managing a stressful situation with the proper care and attention can immediately make things less stressful.
Think about how you remained calm and helped the client to become calmer. It could also be a situation that was too much for you to handle alone, and you knew when to request assistance from colleagues or supervisors.
As a support worker, there will always remain a sensitive balance between assisting and advising clients and leaving them to their own abilities. Knowing when to draw the line is key to facilitating their independence and learn on their own to be less reliant. Unless, of course, it is physically required, you should express the importance of functioning independently, and the happiness that comes with independence.
“As a support worker, I start by identifying the patient’s goals. I’ll then work with the patient to achieve these through personal development activities. This might include improving their hygiene habits, completing light chores around the house, or developing new skills. I would then use this information to plan activities that are tailored to the patient’s interests and goals, whilst consider any limitations or restrictions. Having a plan allows me to monitor the patient’s progress and make adjustments to help development.
I am always keen to involve the patient and/or their guardian in the planning process to ensure that the activities we plan are meaningful and engaging. For example, if a patient’s goal is to improve their hygiene habits, I might plan activities such as helping them to shower or bathe, or assisting with grooming tasks like brushing their teeth or combing their hair. I would then take less of a lead and allow them to develop these as habits if possible.
I would monitor the patient’s progress and make adjustments to the plan as needed to help them achieve their goals.”
Clients can often find themselves in vulnerable positions, especially when they have previously been independent prior to illness or disability.
As part of your role as a support worker, you will help them with what they may consider basic tasks. It’s essential to maintain a client’s dignity and respect. A good example is personal care and ensuring that clients provide consent before helping them. And at the same time providing them as much privacy as possible.
Encouraging a client to do as much as they can while you assist them will help them to stay as independent as possible.
“Maintaining a client’s dignity and respect is of the utmost importance as a carer. There are several ways that I would ensure that I uphold a client’s dignity and respect in this role.
I believe it’s important to establish the client’s privacy wishes and personal space as early as possible, so any personal care tasks are performed in a way that is discreet and dignified. I always approach my clients with a positive and respectful attitude, using language and behaviours that demonstrate my appreciation for their individuality.
I believe in working closely with the client or their guardian to develop a care plan that meets their specific needs. Collaborating together helps to build trust and ensure that they feel like their input is valued.
Finally, I would keep the client and/or guardian informed about their care and treatment and involve them in the decision-making process to the extent possible, as this can help to empower them and maintain their sense of control and independence.”
Care work certainly isn’t your typical 9 – 5 job! Clients will require support at all hours of the day and night. The flexibility that caring roles can provide is attractive to some people, especially those who are managing other responsibilities. So, think about the days and times you’re available to work and how flexible you can be in your availability.
Any interview is a two-way thing. The employer is looking to see if you would be a good fit for their organisation and the role. But you are also interviewing them to see if they fit you well.
It’s expected at the end of the interview that they will ask you if you have any questions. Be a great interviewer as well as a great interviewee, and have some questions prepared. This is an excellent opportunity to get the answers you need to make a decision on your future.
Whether you’re an experienced support worker or going for your very first interview, you must demonstrate an understanding of the responsibilities involved whilst expressing a passion for working in care. Asking questions about the patient, the scope to learn new skills, the team dynamic, or even what a good support worker looks like to the interviewer will be a great way to show interest and initiative.
If you are considering a career as a children’s support worker check out our guide on what it’s like.
Of course, not all interviewers will ask the exact same questions. But preparing responses to some of the most commonly asked questions will give you a “bank” of answers. These can then be adapted in an interview when you get a question around the same theme or topic.
Once you have an outline for your responses get a family member or friend to do a practice interview. Get feedback on your responses and how they think you did. Also by practising what you want to say, it will be easier for you to remember and be confident in your interview.
Download our support worker interview questions pdf by clicking the image below and start practicing today.
If you’re considering a career in care but need more information on the roles and responsibility our blog why do you want to work in healthcare? is a great place to start.
If you’re a job seekers looking for a local support worker job or if need help finding a health or social care job, please get in touch with one of our experienced team of healthcare recruiters who will be happy to help you secure your next rewarding role.