How to answer care home manager interview questions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 November 2022

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.

Care home managers oversee other care providers, manage daily operations and ensure that care home residents receive the best care available. When hiring a care home manager, these facilities test their abilities, experience levels and commitment to the profession by asking them key questions. If you're familiar with these questions and understand why interviewers ask them, it can increase your chances of success. In this article, we highlight the general and in-depth care home manager interview questions and provide examples of how to answer them effectively.

General care home manager interview questions

Interviewers ask general care home manager interview questions to ease the pressure on potential employees and get to know them. Besides helping candidates build composure, these questions also encourage rapport, which benefits both parties. General interview questions focus on everyday topics with little or no mention of the job. When in an interview for a care home manager role, these are examples of general questions you may encounter:

  1. How did you learn about this job opening?

  2. What are your strengths and how did you develop them?

  3. What do you consider the most challenging aspect of this job?

  4. Can someone in this role perform their duties efficiently without an emotional attachment to the residents?

  5. At what age do you plan on retiring?

  6. What is the best part of this job, in your opinion?

  7. What are your salary expectations for this role?

  8. Have you ever sacked someone and what were your reasons?

  9. What do you do on your days off?

  10. What are your thoughts concerning developing a relationship with care home occupants or patients outside of work?

Related: 10 simple reasons why work in a care home is worth it

Questions about the experience and background of a care home manager

People who employ care home managers often value the experience candidates have. This leadership role often involves making critical decisions, so there's usually little margin for error. For this reason, interviewers are likely to ask questions about your academic or professional background. Also, they may ask about your work experience and where you worked previously. They want to know if you have experience in dealing with complex situations and solving problems similar to those you may encounter in the role they're recruiting for.

Here are ten questions that recruiters may ask about your experience and background:

  1. What was the first major decision you took as a care home manager?

  2. Have you ever performed a medical procedure on a resident in critical condition without a doctor in sight?

  3. Tell me about a time when bending the rules to help a care home resident in critical health almost cost you your job.

  4. How would you handle it if a team or team member disagreed with your views?

  5. If a patient in recovery suddenly died, how would you inform their family?

  6. What critical decision have you taken concerning a patient's wellbeing that you're most proud of?

  7. Has a resident ever physically hurt you?

  8. How would you restrain an aggressive care home occupant?

  9. What crucial or routine activities do you find difficult to convince care home residents to partake in?

  10. What's the most significant number of care home occupants you've managed?

Related: Examples of confidentiality in a care home and its importance

In-depth interview questions for a care home manager

Although having a rapport with a candidate is beneficial, an interviewer aims to assess a candidate's skills and knowledge of the profession. After asking questions about previous experience, interviewers typically ask in-depth questions. These pertain to applying practical knowledge and skills to everyday care home operations. Here are some examples of in-depth questions:

  1. What management style do you employ?

  2. In your opinion, what are the essential local services for care home residents?

  3. Have you ever organised a fundraising event to support care home residents, and if so, what was the highest sum you received?

  4. What are care home residents' most fundamental rights and how can you help preserve them?

  5. How do you convince care home residents to participate in group or physical activities?

  6. How can you improve the quality of care each resident receives in a care home?

  7. From experience, what are the significant differences between caring for the elderly, children and people with terminal illnesses?

  8. What practical steps can you take to manage a care home's finances effectively?

  9. Would you sue if a mentally unstable patient or resident physically attacked you?

  10. Are there any questions you would like us to answer?

Related: What are health care manager responsibilities? (Plus FAQ)

Interview questions with sample answers

When preparing for an interview, it can be helpful to consider how to phrase your answers to questions an interviewer might ask. Here are some care home interview questions and example answers you can use to help form your own responses:

1. How long have you been a care home manager and how do you handle expectations?

Experience is crucial for management roles, especially in healthcare. When interviewers ask how long you have been in this position, they want to know if your experience is relevant to the role you're applying for. While giving your answer, mention your most attractive and relevant skills, achievements and accolades.

Example answer: ‘I worked as a care home assistant for six years before I became a manager three years ago. While I was familiar with advising and informing residents' families, managing the finances and creating a working structure for the care home were new challenges. I learned to seek advice from veterans and got extensive training on managing critical situations better.

Perhaps the best coping mechanism for me has been my unbelievable assistant providers. I have been fortunate to work with skilled and dedicated professionals who love the residents and execute their duties flawlessly. During this period, I earned a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership Management in Adult Care and I won my first Leaders in Care award last year.'

Related: Essential care management skills and responsibilities

2. What are the essential skills for a care home manager, in your opinion?

While most skills can help perform your duties, there are specific hard and soft skills for a care home manager. Employers want to be sure that their new employee recognises, possesses or can develop these relevant skills. Highlight skills that help you provide care effectively and expertly manage human and physical resources.

Example answer: ‘I believe communication is essential for a care home manager. As care home managers, we always approve care methods while informing our assistants on the ideal care methods and the latest developments in healthcare. In my opinion, it's important to create an effective communication channel to ensure that everyone in the team can get timely information, as this means the team can work more efficiently and provide effective care.

I also think people management is equally important. As a care home manager, I care for the facility while my assistant care providers care for the residents. Being able to help the care providers be at their best every day is the key to successfully running a care home.'

Related: What is a care worker's average pay? (With skills and scope)

3. How do you provide people-focused care for residents?

A care home consists of people of various upbringings, beliefs and medical histories. The most successful care homes focus on their residents by providing support that best suits each person. Personalised care is the best way to help them heal mentally, emotionally and physically. When answering this question, explain the procedure for making a care plan to suit each person's health condition, age and personality.

Example answer: 'From experience, providing personalised care stems from understanding your residents. Understanding their personality and needs is essential, and no one knows a person better than their friends and family. I work closely with the families and friends of my care home occupants to learn helpful information about them.

I also schedule meetings with their previous or current doctors or therapists. In these meetings, I get information on their physical and mental health history and progress. With the relevant information, I can schedule group activities, assign individual tasks and administer their medication to enhance their recovery.'

Related: What does a registered manager do? (Including duties)

4. How would you recommend or hire the best assistants for your care home occupants or patients?

Care home managers are responsible for hiring other care home assistants and can recommend other specialist care providers for specific illnesses. Employers want to ensure you can handle recruitment responsibilities in a care home. This process is similar to hiring employees in virtually every discipline. In your answer, explain the steps you took previously and what you would do differently in the future.

Example answer: ‘When hiring assistants, I focus on the needs of the facility and its occupants. Upon determining what each area lacks and what is necessary to make improvements, I create a job description to fit the specific need. I ensure that new care providers exhibit a high level of empathy and professionalism in addition to the required qualifications. If the candidate's experience, skills and qualifications meet our standards, I call their previous employers to vet their character.

I'm more careful with my selection procedure for patients with terminal illnesses like Alzheimer's. When I can't find an appropriate candidate, I contact my network of care home managers and veterans for recommendations.'

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