10 Common Interview Questions for Care Workers

10 Common Interview Questions for Care Workers

A role in the care sector can be incredibly rewarding. Not only does it help you have an impact on other people’s lives, but it provides a career with serious potential. From those looking for their first job or seeking new employers to those wanting to change careers, a position in the social care sector can meet many needs. 

Potential employers will want to ensure that you’re a good fit, not just for their organisation but for a care role in general. Knowledge and skills are crucial, but your personal qualities will also inform hiring managers whether you’re a suitable candidate.

If you’ve seen a job posting on Care and Support Jobs and applied, your next step is to prepare for the interview. In this article, you’ll find essential information about what prospective employers are seeking. Additionally, we’ve set out eight carer interview questions and answers to help you think through your responses, though there are plenty of other types of care interview questions you may be asked.

Table of Content

How to Prepare for a Carer Interview

There are three key pieces of research that you can complete to prepare for your interview for a care assistant or care worker.

1. Research the organisation  

You’ll get a better understanding of their values, but also the kinds of clients you’ll work with. Use that information to improve your general knowledge of what kinds of conditions you might encounter.

2. Review the job description

It’ll point you to any skills or experience that you should highlight or mention. Even if you don’t have direct experience, now’s the time to find situations or roles with transferable skills that you can use as examples.

3. Consider the Care Character Qualities

Exploring the attributes of a good carer will assist you in finding examples of how you’re suited to the role. It’ll also help you come up with answers to how you’ll respond in hypothetical scenarios.

Seven Qualities of a Good Carer.

The Care Character Qualities have been academically researched and validated as competencies that predict who will be suited to a role in care. They can also be used to boost existing working environments.

1. Communication

2. Compassion and empathy

3. Dutifulness

4. Teamworking

5. Inclusivity and respect

6. Adaptable and resilient

7. Procedural compliance

In the questions below, we’ll highlight opportunities to link to these qualities so that you can demonstrate the personal attributes of a good carer.

1. Why do you want to be a care worker?

This type of question gives the interview some insight into your motivations. It’s an opportunity to express your enthusiasm for the role. It’s also an open question, so you can use it to display your skills, experience and personal attributes.

Use your research and review of the job description to show where your values align with the organisation.

Instead of listing your attributes, it’s best to use scenarios and personal stories to explain your motivation to obtain a care position.

Example Answer: ‘Spending time with my cousin inspired me to pursue a career in care. He has learning disabilities. As we grew up together, I came to appreciate the tasks that he struggled with. 

However, he has an excellent memory, so I often spend time talking to him about things we had done, said or watched as kids. It calms him and helps my aunt complete other tasks that need doing. 

I saw the power of such a small act, and how it impacted him and his main carer, my aunt, and I want to help more people in that way.’

2. What do you think a care worker does?

This is an opportunity to demonstrate you understand the role you’ve applied for. Carefully reading the job advert and job description is good preparation for this, whether you’ve worked in care before or not, focusing on the type of care you have applied for. It’s also a chance to share what you know about the specific care organisation you’re interviewing for.

Example answer: I understand that my role as a care worker is about supporting residents. This might be assisting with bathing and dressing, supporting them with household tasks like laundry and shopping, and making meals, drinks and snacks. A care worker always ensures dignity and respect at all times.

3. Can you describe a time when you had to respond quickly, perhaps to an emergency?

Staying calm and responding logically under pressure are necessary responses from carers who might find themselves in stressful situations. The interviewer will ask this question looking to see if you’ve had any experience in this area. Besides checking your ability to follow procedure, they’ll be looking to see if you can be methodical, adaptable and resilient.

Example Answer: ‘I was once with someone who had a heart attack. My first response was to call for emergency care. I spoke calmly to the person to see if they were conscious. They didn’t respond, so I didn’t give them an aspirin. 

I followed my first aid training, I explained to the person what I was doing, in case they could hear me. I checked their breathing which was irregular, so I started CPR. I asked a passerby to check the nearby offices for a defibrillator. I continued CPR until an ambulance came.’

4. Can you explain confidentiality and safeguarding?

Safeguarding and confidentiality are fundamental parts of care procedures, which means these kinds of questions are common in interviews. Researching these two aspects of care can help you demonstrate your ability to comply with procedures.

As well as explaining the two concepts, your answer should also stress the importance of confidentiality and safeguarding. The best answers will include a hypothetical situation showing how you would follow procedure while still completing your duties.

Example Answer: Confidentiality is essential in care. It means I wouldn’t repeat personal conversations with clients outside my workplace, and I would never share details, like addresses or phone numbers.

Safeguarding is another vital aspect of care. As set out in the Care Act of 2014, there’s a duty to protect a client’s well-being, health and human rights. In a care position, I would look for signs that an environment isn’t safe, follow up on any signs of neglect and report them to my manager.’

5. How would you maintain confidentiality in your work as a care worker?

As explained in the previous question, when working with people in a care setting, it is important that you maintain confidentiality. For example, you should not share information within medical records with anyone who is unauthorised to have access to the information.

Example answer: I would ensure confidentiality in my work as a care worker by not sharing confidential information with people I shouldn’t – for example medical records. I would also respect the conversations I have with the people I care for and not share private information with others unless it is something I need to discuss with my manager.

6. Imagine you’re caring for someone who doesn’t want you to help them with a particular task; what would you do?

Sometimes the tasks of a carer can be difficult, although they are necessary. This question aims to discover whether your personality and characteristics are suited to the work. In your answers, it’s important to demonstrate patience, compassion and empathy

Your answer will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate how you respect your clients and will help them to maintain their dignity.

Example Answer: ‘I would want to give my clients room to make their own choices, as this allows them to maintain their dignity. However, I still have a duty of care. I would show the client empathy by saying, ‘I understand you don’t want me to brush your hair right now. Is there a particular reason?’

They could have a painful scalp or prefer a comb, so a dialogue might resolve the issue. If they say that they just don’t want me to, I might answer that we’ll leave it for now and come back to it after some other tasks. If it’s due to pain or the client still resists, I would check the opinion of a nurse.

7. Can you provide an example of how you’ve worked in a team and what your role was?

Your ability to provide quality care will depend on you and your colleagues. In high-pressure or emergency situations, you’ll need to call on others for help. Communication and team working are necessary to get the job done. 

From passing on essential information to other carers, cooperating with the nurse or a care manager, to getting your client to cooperate, these skills are invaluable.

A potential employer will want to know that you can work well with others, use initiative to allocate yourself a role in an emergency and contribute to a pleasant working environment.

Example Answer: ‘I play football in my spare time. I act as a player/coach for the team, where I’ve learned that listening to my teammates is essential to our success. I also take the time to choose my words carefully in delicate situations and speak clearly to give instructions that need to be acted on immediately. 

We each have our positions on the field and know our roles, but we need to be aware of what the others are doing to win a match.

8. What can you tell me about why you might involve a client in their care process and how you would do it?

Many employers will be focusing on person-centred care, as evidence suggests it’s more effective. An interviewer will be looking at your ability to be inclusive and respectful. These two qualities are necessary when considering an individual’s needs.

It’s also an opportunity to show that you understand the duties are to help the client but that that doesn’t always mean doing everything for them.  

Example Answer: ‘Talking with a client is one of the best ways to involve them in the care process. To establish open communication, I ensure that my actions give them space and privacy, so that they feel respected.

I also speak and act with empathy. As well as asking direct questions with options of how to proceed, I create the space for them to tell me when they’re unhappy or would prefer to do things another way. I do this by listening and showing that I’ve heard and respect what they’ve said.’

9. Can you give us an example of a time you went out of your way to help someone?

This question aims to find out about your personal qualities as well as your experience caring for someone or completing an act of care. You’ll need to come up with a personal story that captures your dutifulness, as well as your compassion and empathy

Example Answer: ‘When my elderly neighbours were sheltering due to covid, I made a point of phoning them before I went shopping to find out if they needed anything. Sometimes they had some requests for food, but other times, I could tell they just wanted someone to talk to. I kept phoning, even if it was to ask them how they were and hear about their day.’

10. What is your availability?

Care work might include unconventional hours. If a potential employer doesn’t ask it, then you might want to bring up the subject when you’re asked if you have any questions.

It’s crucial to discuss what kind of hours you’ll need to work and to plan your availability accordingly. The hours can work for you, especially if you have childcare or study obligations.

Example Answer: ‘I am available for morning and evening work. On most days, I need to pick up my children from school at 3.30 pm. If I have a shift pattern that I know in advance, I can be flexible and work any hours, as I will make arrangements for childcare, but I would prefer to work in the evening.’

Closing Thoughts

At the end of your interview, you might be asked if you have any questions. You can discuss the hours of work, the training process, any potential routes for career progression and the team structure.

If you do your research, prepare some answers that bring out your personal qualities and keep the specific job role in mind, you’ll feel ready. Good luck!