When you’ve earned your Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credentials, you are ready to move on to the next step—landing a job in your chosen field. While you’ve likely had jobs and interviews in the past, this may be the first one in a professional setting and the process can be intimidating. Remembering a few key items and understanding what will likely happen during the interview is a great first step in making sure you are prepared and giving yourself a chance to be a step ahead of the other applicants.
As with most things, the key to a successful interview is being prepared. One aspect of this is wearing professional clothing. While a suit isn’t necessary, you shouldn’t show up looking too casual. Usually, a clean and pressed pair of slacks and a well-fitting and tasteful top will leave the best impression. Your hair, makeup, and nails should be tidy and clean. These traits are essential to the job, which means you must demonstrate them at the interview. You will want to leave early to make sure you have time to find your way to the building and find the correct individuals when you arrive.
You should also show up with important documents that the interviewer(s) might request. These include several copies of your resume (preferably neatly placed in a folder), your CNA certification, CPR certification, and any references or letters of recommendation you may have. It’s important to bring these items even if you have sent them in advance of your interview. Having these materials ready to distribute demonstrates that you are organized and prepared.
You should also try to anticipate the questions you may be asked during the interview. While you never know exactly what interviewers may ask, common questions include:
- Can you tell us more about yourself?
- Why do you want to be a CNA?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
You do not have to have prepared answers for these questions, but it’s a good idea to think about the things you want to highlight in your answers prior to the interview. That way, they will be fresh in your mind and you will be less likely to stumble on your answers. For any questions you hadn’t thought of or considered prior to the interview, take time to reflect on your answer before speaking. It is better to give a thoughtful answer after a brief pause than to impulsively answer with the first thing that pops into your head.
When you leave, conclude the interview with a meaningful “thank you” to the interviewers for their time. You may also draft a thank-you email or snail mail note and let them know that you are excited about the prospect. Many applicants don’t follow up after an interview, so the ones that do definitely stand out!