Care Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 January 2023

Published 25 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as a care assistant can be a very rewarding career, which allows you to have a real positive impact on people's lives. Care assistant positions don't necessarily require a formal qualification, so working as a care assistant is a popular career choice for both young adults and older people who want to change their careers.

However, your potential employer will still want to see that you have the right knowledge, skills, and personality for the role. In this article, we share some common care assistant interview questions and sample answers.

Types of care assistant interview questions

Care assistant interview questions can be divided into three categories:

  • Technical questions: These are to test whether you have the basic technical or medical knowledge required to work as a care assistant. Although a medical qualification is not required, interviewers do want to see that you are at least generally aware of some of the more common conditions you may encounter as a care assistant, as well as relevant policies and procedures.

  • Personality questions: With these questions, the interviewer is trying to determine whether your personality is suited to working as a care assistant. These could also include questions that are designed to test how you would react in specific scenarios.

  • Experiential questions: These questions test whether your past experience has prepared you for working as a care assistant. If you are an experienced care assistant, interviewers may ask you questions about your approach to care work. If you do not have experience working as a care assistant, they will be looking to find out whether you have gained transferable skills from your past professional experience, and even how your personal experiences, such as caring for a loved one, have prepared you for care work.

Care assistant interview questions may also include questions to test how well you know the company you are applying to work for, as well as general questions about your career and approach to work.

Related: 31 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)

Care assistant interview questions and answers

Here are some examples of common questions you may be asked in an interview, along with sample answers:

1. What do you think a care assistant does?

With this question, the interviewer is assessing your knowledge about working as a care assistant. If you don't have previous experience as a care assistant, prepare for your interview by carefully reading the job description. Remember to check the company's website for more specific information about what they expect from care assistants.

Example: 'I understand that working as a care assistant involves helping clients, who are often elderly, to live their best possible life by assisting with their immediate needs like washing, dressing and going to the toilet. It also includes providing basic medical care like giving clients medication or monitoring temperature and blood pressure.'

2. Why do you want to be a care assistant?

This question is designed to test whether your personality is suited to working as a care assistant. If you are interviewing for a more senior care position, you may be asked why you chose this career. Either way, your answer needs to show the interviewers the reasons you are suited to care work. If you have a personal story that highlights this, it could be a good opportunity to show your human side by including it.

Example: 'When I was younger, I had a close family member with a degenerative disease, who I was involved in caring for. Although it was very sad, I learned a lot about taking care of others and how much this person got out of my care, which also made me feel fulfilled. I realised then that I wanted a career based around helping people.'

Related: How Do I Answer: "Why Do You Want This Job?"

3. Imagine your patient has a heart attack. What would you do?

With this question, the interviewer wants to know that you are able to stay calm during a stressful situation, and also that you have some awareness or training in procedures for emergency situations. It's important to break down your answer into specific steps.

Example: 'The first step would be to call for emergency medical care. If the patient was conscious, I would give them aspirin unless there was an allergy noted in their records. If they had a prescription for nitroglycerin, I would administer this. If the patient was unconscious, I would proceed to CPR until help arrives.'

Related: What Are Competency-Based Interview Questions?

4. What do you know about safeguarding policies?

Questions about safeguarding are very common care assistant interview questions. If you aren't familiar with this topic, it's a good idea to do some research before your interview. In your answer, offer a definition of safeguarding policies, and tell the interviewer how this would affect your work as a care assistant.

Example: 'Safeguarding policies are in place to protect a client's health, wellbeing and human rights, as outlined in the Care Act of 2014. As my work as a care assistant would mean working with vulnerable adults, I would learn to recognise signs that someone is not living in a safe environment, such as not having somewhere clean to sleep or access to food and water, or if there are any physical signs of abuse or neglect. If I suspected this to be the case, I would speak to the person to see if they reveal anything, and report my concerns to my manager or the relevant authority.'

5. Imagine a patient doesn't want you to come into their room. What would you do?

As well as testing your reaction to a specific situation, this question is designed to see whether your personality is suited to working as a care assistant. In your answer, you need to give information about your approach to care work more broadly.

Example: 'It's important to me to show empathy to my clients, and to allow them to maintain their dignity and make choices for themselves. However, I also have a duty to provide my clients with the care they need. In this situation, I would say to the client, "I hear what you are saying. I will come back and check on you in 20 minutes". I would then inform a nurse of the situation and ask their opinion before going back to my client.'

Related: What are care assistant duties and key skills? (Plus salary)

6. How would you maintain confidentiality in your work as a care assistant?

This kind of care assistant interview question is very common, as patient confidentiality is crucial in the health care sector. You need to show that you are able to create a trusting environment for your patients. If you haven't worked as a care assistant before, you could draw on previous professional or personal experience and tell the interviewer about a time you had to maintain confidentiality.

Example: 'Maintaining confidentiality for my patients is a vital part of my work as a care assistant. I never disclose my patient's medical information to anyone, unless my patient has given me written consent to do so. I take pride in creating a trusting environment for my patients, so they feel comfortable sharing sensitive information with me. This helps me to develop strong, trusting relationships with my patients.'

Related: What does a live-in carer do? (With salary information)

7. Tell us how you would handle caring for a patient with Alzheimer's disease.

The interviewer may ask you questions to test your knowledge of common conditions. If you aren't familiar with these already, it's a good idea to look them up before your interview. In this case, as well as your knowledge about the disease, you need to show that you are adaptable in your work, as patients with Alzheimer's disease can sometimes be unpredictable.

Example: 'I know that patients with Alzheimer's disease can often become confused about their whereabouts or situation, which can make them angry or upset. As a care assistant, I would be tolerant and understanding with my patients, especially on their bad days. I would also need to monitor the progression of the disease to make sure that my care is adapted to my patient's specific needs.'

8. How do you deal with situations that make you sad or angry?

Although working as a care assistant can be very rewarding, it also involves situations that can be upsetting to professionals as well as to patients and their families. With this question, the interviewer is once again testing whether your personality and experience are suited to a career as a care assistant. You need to show that you are able to deal with your emotions so that they don't negatively affect your work. Ideally, you should back this up with an example.

Example: 'When I first began working as a care assistant, I lost a patient, which made me very sad. I didn't talk about my feelings and lost sleep over it, which affected my work. Over the years, I have learned how to deal with my emotions when it comes to my patients.

Although I remain positive and caring with my patients, I also know that I need to take care of myself and acknowledge my anger and sadness by attending a weekly support group. I am still sad when a patient dies, but I am also happy that I was able to give them the best possible care when they needed it.'

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