Success Strategies for a Care and Support Interview

Success Strategies for a Care and Support Interview

Entering a career in care is a rewarding experience with attractive prospects. Besides making a difference in your community, you’ll have several opportunities for growth and development. It all starts with applying for a job and showcasing the very best ‘you’ during the recruitment process.

When you walk into an interview for a care and support role, the interviewers will want to get to know you. They’ll be looking for signs that you have the right values and motivations, and that you’ll fit in with the team and the environment. 

You can make their job easier for them by sending them the right signals through what you say and do. Read on to get helpful advice and craft a strategy to make your next interview a success.

How To Make A Positive Impression

What you say is crucial to whether you succeed or not, but it’s not the only factor to consider during your interview. Your expressions, tone and body language all send a message, too. In fact, it all starts with how you present yourself, which begins with getting dressed for the interview.

What To Wear To Your Interview

It’s best to dress in smart clothes for an interview. It’s all about looking presentable, so make sure your shoes are smart, too.  Even if the environment is quite casual, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. If you’re coming from another role where you have a uniform – our top tip is to let the interviewer know ahead of time.

Your appearance goes beyond your clothes. Ensure your hair is neat, too. Being clean and comfortable before an interview can help you with your confidence.

Sending the Right Signals

Don’t forget to use your smile at the right moments to show that you’re relaxed and pleased to be there. A smile can show that you’re an open and warm person, which will make a good impression on the interviewer.

Other signals are sent through your body language. During the interview, try not to fidget too much. Sit still in a comfortable and neutral position so you can focus on answering the questions. Try to avoid crossing your arms or hunching over, as the interviewer could find it harder to connect with you.

Maintain eye contact while speaking. If there’s only one interviewer, it’s ok to look away while thinking or look above their eyes to their forehead if maintaining direct eye contact feels too intense. If there is two interviewers, be sure to direct your answers to both.

When you think of what you want to say, it can often tumble out too quickly. Practice speaking slowly and clearly without shouting, so that you can appear confident and deliver the information you need to.

Show Your Interest

Make sure you have researched the company, the role and the home or service before the interview. Look for opportunities to show how interested you are in the role. It could be mentioning something positive you’ve spotted on your way into the interview room – i.e. a staff member offering excellent support to a resident.   

Other opportunities include congratulating them on a recent award they’ve won or complimenting the calm and organised environment. Thank the interviewer for their time, and ask questions that show you’re serious about working there.

If you don’t know already, you can ask about the team structure and who you would report to. You could also ask them their favourite thing about working for the company. Another excellent question is to ask how people have succeeded in the role before. You’ll gain useful insight into how the company measures success.

Demonstrating Your Skills and Experience

The main part of the interview will involve you answering questions. You can find out more about preparing for an interview and the common questions for care workers to get ready. For now, let’s focus on the tips that will help you best demonstrate your skills and experience.

How to take a moment to think 

Many of us have experienced a blank mind after being asked a question in an interview. Rehearsing your answers helps, but it’s also wise to take a moment to think of what you want to say. If you have some water, take a sip to give yourself some time.

The crucial point to remember is that the silence often feels longer than it is, so don’t rush yourself. If you’re feeling the pressure, calmly and politely tell the interviewer that you just need a moment to collect your thoughts. If nothing comes, stay composed and ask if it’s possible to come back to the question later. 

Structuring your answers

One way to feel confident in what you’re saying is to follow a structure when answering a question. Start by using the keywords the interviewer used to show that you’ve listened. If they asked about a time you had to respond during an emergency or something expected, use the words respond and emergency in your opening sentence.

Your next sentences should explain the situation. If it was a previous role, make it clear by saying, during my time as a care assistant at x care home. Continue by explaining what happened and what you did. 

Your explanation should include the skills you used. For this example, thinking on your feet, staying calm, following procedures and showing compassion would all be suitable. Finish your answer by outlining the positive outcome and something that you learned from the experience.

This is known as using the STAR approach – Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Points to focus on

Have the care and support role’s job description in mind so that you can focus on what the recruiter is looking for. While you want to make a good impression and show off your skills, it’s essential to frame them in the right way.

When asking your questions, chatting with the interviewer or answering their questions, focus on what you can do for them. That’s especially important when they ask you why you want that role. Let your enthusiasm shine through!

If there is an opportunity to look around the home or service – take it (or even ask if you can have a tour even if it’s not offered). Demonstrating positive interactions with residents and staff as part of the walk around will come across fantastically.  

Good Luck!

With these tips, you’re sure to make a positive impression and your next care and support interview. If you’re nervous, remember that this meeting is an opportunity to find out if the company will be a good fit for you, too.