CNA Interview Tips


With a huge need for certified nursing assistants, commonly referred to as CNAs, you shouldn’t have trouble landing a job interview. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth for CNAs is growing faster than most occupations, at about 21 percent. But finding the job you want, whether at a facility or with a home health agency, takes preparation. You have a much better chance of landing your desired job when you go into an interview armed with appropriate answers to commonly asked questions, and a prepared set of questions to illustrate your commitment.

Talk About Your Background and Motivation

  • Employers usually ask open-ended questions so they can learn more about you. When asking the “tell me about yourself” questions, they don’t want to know that you enjoy surfing or baking cookies. They can get your educational and work history from your application. With this line of questioning, they want to know what kind of patient care background you have, whether it’s taking care of your grandmother when she was dying or being your mother’s primary caregiver after major surgery. Talk about your vision of your future, how you always wanted to get into some kind of nursing or how your passion is taking care of the elderly.

Mention Your Skills and Credentials

  • Employers will check whether you are on the state registry or not, but it’s useful to talk about your credentials during the interview to let the recruiter know where you stand. Mention any other credentials you also might have, such as medication aide certification or phlebotomy certificate. Emphasize any other pertinent training you’ve had such as Alzheimer's training or end-of-life workshops you attended. Include volunteer work when listing your credentials.

Prepare Statements About Your Motivation

  • Be prepared to explain why you want to be a CNA and why you applied with that particular organization. Share a defining moment when you knew what you were supposed to do with your life. Let your passion for caring for others show through in your stories. Bring up your training if you’re a recent graduate, and talk about how the clinical experience and coursework validated your desire to work in the field. Mention that you excelled at certain skills, such as taking vitals or calming excited patients.

Do Your Research and Ask Intelligent Questions

  • Interviewers expect you to ask questions. Candidates without prepared questions often falter at the end of an interview when they don’t have any. Show your professionalism with well thought out questions. Ask about the ratio of clients to CNAs. Check out the facility on your state’s registry to find out whether it has any reports of abuse, and ask how it handles problems. Ask about growth within the company and what kinds of opportunities you can expect to further your career. Illustrate your enthusiasm for the facility by mentioning the new wing you saw was just built, and what other plans are in store for the company. Take an active role in the interview, which translates into being perceived as a problem-solver and team player. Be the health care worker with effective communication skills to land the job you desire.

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