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Typical Care Worker Interview Questions

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Questions You May Be Asked

When you apply to become a private carer with Helping Hands you can expect to be asked a range of carer interview questions, so that we can determine whether you have the natural qualities of compassion and kindness that we are looking for. The following are some examples of what you may be asked during the recruitment process, and information we may expect in your answers, but the information you give us should always be your own and make the most of your own experience.

What Do You Think A Care Worker Does?

There is no short answer to this question! For care workers at Helping Hands, no two days are ever the same, yet the one thing that never changes is the desire we all have to ensure our customers get to live their best life possible in the home they love, for as long as possible. As an example though, our care workers can expect to do any of the following for our customers on a daily basis:

  • Personal care/Continence care
  • Meal preparation
  • Housework
  • Supporting mobility
  • Medication management & administration
  • Companionship
  • Helping your customer attend appointments, activities or other commitments outside of the home

Many of our care workers also support customers who are living with life-limiting conditions, are at the end of their life, have clinical needs or require other specialist support, so you can expect to undertake a range of responsibilities that we can’t hope to describe accurately here. We treat every customer as an individual and their care needs are individual to them too, so you can expect to never have two days exactly the same when you work for Helping Hands.

What Qualities Do You Bring To The Role?

Only you know what your strengths and weaknesses are and its important that you ‘sell’ yourself to us accurately when you want to work in care. This is because we want to hear about all the amazing qualities you will bring to the role and demonstrate how you will successfully support our customers to remain comfortably at home for their care. We would expect anyone who has natural care qualities to be patient, kind, compassionate and empathetic, want to work with people and help them to live their best quality of life, as well as supporting their independence and maintaining their dignity at all times.

Can You Provide A Previous Example Working In A Team?

When you become a Helping Hands care worker you may well find yourself working predominantly on your own, whether that’s travelling to visiting calls and carrying them out, or living in your customer’s home around the clock, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to be able to work as part of a team.

All of our home carers belong to their local care team, which will be coordinated by either your local branch care manager or a live-in manager in your area and will at one time or another find themselves working with other carers. It may be that your customer sometimes needs the assistance of more than one carer to ensure they are properly cared for, or you may even be part of a team of several carers who reside in their customer’s home at any one time. Therefore, it is essential that you can work well with people from all walks of life and all levels of experience.

Can You Outline How You’ve Dealt With A Stressful Experience?

Care work is immensely rewarding, but can also be stressful. Your customer may be living with a condition that means they are sometimes difficult to support or perhaps may feel they don’t need care at all, and not accept help willingly.

It could also be that your customer has taken a turn for the worse and you are supporting them to the end of their life journey, or they have an accident while you are taking care of them. Many circumstances can make care work stressful, however you will be supported to know what to do in such situations, while using your natural skills of common sense and remaining calm to cope with whatever you are faced with.

Have You Got Any Previous Care Experience?

Care experience isn’t necessarily paid experience; you may have been looking after your loved ones for several years, been caring for children, either yours or someone else’s, or maybe you have been working in a similar industry and have transferable skills. We are interested in people with loads of experience, or very little, however the thing that all of our carers have in common is the desire and passion for supporting our customers to the best of their ability, keeping them safe at home and comfortable in the place they want to be.

Are You Familiar with Safeguarding?

The SCIE website tells us that Safeguarding is fundamentally:

“Protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.”

Safeguarding refers to every aspect of a person’s life and The Care and support statutory guidance identifies ten types of abuse, these are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Domestic violence or abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological or emotional abuse
  • Financial or material abuse
  • Modern slavery
  • Discriminatory abuse
  • Organisational or institutional abuse
  • Neglect or acts of omission
  • Self-neglect

Safeguarding our customers’ wellbeing is fundamental to what we do at Helping Hands, and we expect all of our carers to ensure our safeguarding policies are adhered to at all times. If our carers suspect that the safeguarding of their customer is being compromised at any time then it is their duty to report this following the proper procedures.

What Do You Know About Person-Centred Care?

Person-centred care is what we’ve always delivered at Helping Hands. Providing a person with one-to-one, personalised care is what we’re known for and it’s important that all of our prospective carers are committed to delivering this too. This type of care puts the person at the centre of their care journey at all times and focuses on their needs, values and requirements, to help improve the quality of their life.

How Would You Handle An Upset Or Confused Service User?

Just as each of our customers are individuals and their care package is designed personally to their needs, then there is no one solution to handle an upset or confused customer. Each situation will need to be handled carefully and will depend on whether the customer is living with a particular condition or not.

For instance, if a customer is living with dementia then you may already be aware that your customer becomes confused at times, so you will be able to prepare for this in advance. Distraction is a useful tool when your customer is living with dementia, so if they become confused or upset about something then offering them a cup of tea, putting on their favourite TV programme or helping them with an activity can often be all it takes to resolve the situation.

Have You Ever Handled An Emergency Situation Or An Event Which Required Quick-thinking?

You may come across situations while working in care that are considered emergencies, including ones that necessitate a call to the emergency services. As carers, we do all we can to protect our customers’ wellbeing and prevent them from being hurt or needing medical attention, however sometimes accidents unfortunately happen and its important we know what to do if this does occur. Your manager will tell you what the policy is for reporting accidents, although its fair to say that common sense is also very important for a carer, and if your customer requires urgent medical attention, you must call for it without delay.

What Would You Do In The Event Of A Service User Collapsing?

Again, your manager should ensure you have all the information you need to effectively support your customer, from their personalised support plan being in their home, to knowing what to do if your customer has a problem with any medication they may be taking.

As previously stated, common sense is an essential quality for a carer to have and when you’re asked certain home carer interview questions you will be expected to use your common sense and answer them to the best of your ability. For instance, if your carer was to collapse it’s likely that it would be considered an emergency situation and you would therefore need to seek medical assistance and report it as such.

What Kind Of Support Would An Elderly Client Require?

Certain carer job interview questions are more difficult to answer than others, and this question is one of them! As we discussed near the start of this page, no two days are the same for most care workers and consequently, no two elderly clients’ needs are going to be the same either.

Typically though, an elderly care customer may need additional support with their mobility, help taking their medication, support with making meals, undertaking their personal care and accessing the community outside of their home. Other customers require some help with keeping their house clean and tidy, or may prefer someone to keep them company while sharing a pot of tea and having a chat.

How Would You Care For Someone With a particular condition, e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease?

Every customer that Helping Hands supports is always treated as an individual as we’ve stated before, so the most important way to care for your customer is getting to know them as a person and learning all about their likes, dislikes and routines. If your customer is living with a condition that means they are not able to communicate in the traditional ways then it doesn’t mean you don’t try and discover what they need, or ask someone else to speak for them, there are other ways that you can support your customer to express their wishes.

This could be through picture cards, photographs, eye movements and many others, and we have had carers who have painstakingly developed an intricate system of communication with their customers, to ensure that they still get to express their wants and needs at all times.

How Would You Perform A Client Needs Assessment?

You will be fully supported by your manager to discover what your customer’s care needs are, and they will have already carried out a full needs assessment before you arrive at your customer’s home. This will have resulted in your customer having a personalised support plan already present in their home, which will contain information about their daily routines, care requirements and emergency contact details. You will be responsible for your customer’s day-to-day care and will be the ‘eyes and ears’ in their home, being expected to report any changes in their condition immediately.

How Would You Maintain A Client’s Dignity And Respect?

We’ve been supporting our customers to live as independently as possible since we were founded in 1989, and part of the reason we’ve continued to grow over the decades is because we always put our customers at the centre of their own care; ensuring their dignity is promoted and needs respected. If you would like to become a Helping Hands carer then it is essential you have a real passion for helping people, while caring for them in such a way that their dignity is never compromised.

Tell Me About Your Previous Job

It’s important to ensure that you are honest about previous roles you’ve had and explain any gaps in your employment carefully. If you don’t, when we request references and clearances for you it will flag inconsistencies that may result in your application being rejected. If you’ve never had a job before it doesn’t mean that you won’t be eligible to work for us, it just means that you should think of other examples that demonstrate why you’d be an asset to your local carer team. For instance, you may have looked after younger siblings, volunteered at an event, or helped out in your local church or youth group, all of which will have taught you valuable transferable skills that you can bring with you into care.

What Hours Are You Available To Work?

It can be tempting to overstate your availability when you are applying for a job, thinking that it will endear you to potential interviewers and give you a better chance of progressing your application, however if you know you have restrictions on your working hours, it is usually better to say so right from the start. Whether you’re at college, are planning to work as a carer alongside another job or you have family commitments, don’t offer to work more hours than you can manage, as it will only mean that your manager has to try and cover the hours you originally said you would be able to do.

At Helping Hands, we have many different contracts available for carers, such as guaranteed hours, zero hours, part-time and full-time, meaning that whatever your ongoing commitments are, we can usually fit around them and give you a great work-life balance. Certain roles have different work commitments though, so its best to discuss your availability when you first contact our recruitment specialists, so that we can find the pattern that works best for you and your availability.