What Questions Do They Ask At A Care Home Interview?

You’re taking the first steps towards a rewarding career in care – congratulations! You’re starting a journey that positively impacts the lives of others, as well as yourself. Care homes are challenging, yet nurturing workplaces and can be a springboard for your career. If you feel like taking care of others is your purpose and live for making meaningful relationships then you’re on your way to a successful interview experience. 

Understanding the care home interview process

When preparing for an interview it’s essential to understand what to expect. Interviews are usually scheduled for an hour, which isn’t much time to make a lasting impression, so use these tips to use this time wisely. 

Typically, interview panels will be 1-3 people, all looking for a diverse set of qualities from a candidate. You need to showcase all the assets and skills you have that make you a perfect fit for the role. Firstly, plan your transport route and outfit in advance, this will free your mind to concentrate on this job opportunity.

Common questions asked in care home interviews

Understanding the types of questions you might face can help ease your nerves. Planning for them and preparing answers is essential. Here are some common categories:

  • Patient Care and Clinical Skills:  

    - A question related to clinical expertise needs a factual answer. If you have this experience talk about the training you’ve received and the roles you’ve had which allowed you to develop further. 

    A good way to structure your response is with the STAR method - Situation, Task, Action, Rewards. If you have an example situation to share and can frame it like this it helps you hit the marks of the story, keeping it concise and factual. Be sure to mention the essential clinical skills you possess.

    If you don’t have these skills, you might choose to discuss times you’ve worked with doctors and nurses, how passionate you are about patient care and how determined you are to develop these skills to advance your career in care. 

    - An example answer to ‘why are you pursuing a career in patient care?’ : ‘I have completed training in [insert course], it affirmed that this is what I want to do and has assisted me in providing excellent care to my patients. We had a resident whose personality had changed for the worse. I was talking to them in their room when they explained they had pain. I knew I needed to escalate this, but I had a strong relationship with them and got them to open up about what was wrong. After hearing the personal details I realised this resident had a water infection. I assured them we could get this sorted together. I spoke to my manager and got the resident the treatment they needed. I stayed with them during medical discussions and they were soon back to their old self. My clinical experience and dedication to individual patient care allowed me to help someone so fundamentally.’     

  • Communication and Teamwork

    - These answers should be on the tip of your tongue. Cover the successes and challenges you’ve experienced whilst working with others. Highlight the benefits of good communication with colleagues, which enables the exchange of ideas and new ways of working. Good communication with residents and colleagues should be displayed in your answers. 

    - An example of good communication: ‘I prioritise providing good patient care, by listening actively to residents. I believe that to give the best care we need to take the time to get to know residents. Allowing them to feel secure in their space makes them feel comfortable, improving mental health and quality of life overall. In my previous role, I got to know all of the residents on my floor enabling me to provide the personal care they all deserved.’ 

    - An example of teamwork: ‘I thought we could have better communications with our residents’ families. I proposed that we start a small newsletter, and working with my whole team, we gathered stories from each of the residents and produced a quarterly newsletter. We used all the skills in the team to research, write, and design the newsletter, which led to very happy families and more recommendations to our care home.’ 
  • Ethical and legal considerations of working in a care home 

    - No interviewer is expecting you to be a lawyer, so don’t panic if a question on this theme comes up. Concentrate on displaying your awareness and any understanding you have around the legal factors of running a care home. Have you had any training or been to talks on the matter? If so reference it, otherwise emphasise your commitment to providing care that meets all legal guidelines. 

    - Example: I am familiar with the laws and regulations that govern care homes. In my three years of experience in my last home, I saw the impact of complying with the regulations and following all the applicable laws to ensure residents receive the best standard of care. I am keen to learn more about the regulations your care home has.’  


  • Behavioural Questions and How to Approach Them

    - Behavioural questions are usually about your skills and require specific situation examples in your answers. Be sure to answer with the skills you believe are most important to those working in a care home. They might begin ‘Please describe a time when…’ or ‘Give me an example of when you’ve faced…’ Preparing for these can include writing down some of your strengths, or motivations, and then listing examples of those skills, like time management or multitasking. 

    - Example of strengths: ‘I believe you need passion and problem-solving skills to work in a care home, and I believe these are two of my greatest strengths. I love what I do and use it as a driver to help tackle the challenging days. Problem-solving skills encourage us to keep making improvements to processes and handle the unexpected. We had a senior staff member leave unexpectedly and the team started losing our way and people began struggling with their workload. I gently suggested we add a daily check-in into the morning routine. It took no more than 10 minutes and reduced frustrations almost immediately, helping the team get back to a more efficient way of working.’ 


  • Experience of long-term care and geriatric expertise

    - Questions focused on the experience of long-term care and geriatric expertise might be about gaining your understanding of older residents having different needs to other people in care. You’ll want to discuss the compassion needed and the emotional needs of older residents and their families. 

    - An example answer could be: ‘I cared for a resident with late-stage dementia who didn’t have family nearby. Despite their agitation and confusion leading to occasional outbursts, I knew they weren’t angry with us but fearful and distressed. Choosing to be understanding instead of frustrated, I kept reassuring them with patience and clear explanations. This sense of security calmed them and made it much easier for them to trust me and accept our care.’ 


Our top three tips for a successful interview:

1. Do your research – Specifically around the care home you want to interview with. Reviewing the job description and the skills required to be a care worker should give you a good idea of what kind of questions could be asked about your abilities and experience. 

2. Ask questions – A guaranteed way to impress an interviewer is to ask questions. Prepare a few questions beforehand, you might want to focus on training opportunities, team structure, or the home’s ambitions. This displays your interest in a long-term position with them. 

3. Be yourself – Nerves are to be expected, but try to embrace the interview process. This is time for a potential employer to get to know you and your personality alongside your experience, so keep taking deep, calming breaths and show them who you are. If you stumble over your words be gentle with yourself. Your nerves are coming from a place of desire, this job is important to you, and interviewers will understand that. 

Always add specifics to your answers. Make sure you tailor them to your experiences. Even if a time you worked well as a team was in a project in college, or you used your problem-solving skills to save your shared house money on bills, these are relevant displays of how you operate as an individual and interviewers want to know who you are.

Remember, you're not the only one being interviewed though – you’re there to see if they feel like a good fit too. Your journey into the world of care is an exciting one. We wish you luck with your interview.

Register with Social Care People today to support finding the perfect role for you. We can send you job alerts and assist you with finding the role of your dreams. 


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