CNA Interview Questions and Answers

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Written by Morganne Skinner, BSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Ayana Dunn, BSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
Young African American male answering CNA interview questions for a job.

You completed your certified nursing assistant (CNA) course and passed your exam. Amazing! Now you’re ready to find a CNA job and embark on your new journey.

If you’re feeling nervous about potential CNA interview questions and answers, be assured that is totally normal. We’ve compiled a list of common questions you can review to help you plan for your next interview (and alleviate some anxiety).

CNA Job Interview Questions and Answers

Take a look at these examples of common nursing assistant interview questions and answers. As you polish your CNA resume and prepare for your interview, try rehearsing your own responses with these examples as a guide.

1. Why do you want to be a CNA?

This is one of the most popular CNA interview questions and answers can reveal your commitment to the job.

How You Might Answer

“Growing up, I spent a lot of time caring for my dad who had multiple sclerosis. I loved being able to assist him with his stretching exercises because I knew that maintaining his range of motion helped him keep his independence. I knew I wanted to provide that type of care for others, too.”

2. How do you handle difficult patients?

Working with people at their most vulnerable means you will encounter many difficult emotions and behaviors. Employers ask this question to see how you’ll navigate those.

How You Might Answer

“When people are scared and in pain, they don’t always act as their best selves. I understand that. I practice empathy when my patients are feeling frustrated and projecting their fears. I find that effective communication allows me to get to the heart of a patient’s true concern.

For example, one time a patient screamed at me and called me lazy for not answering their call light immediately when they had to go to the bathroom. I told them, ‘That must have felt terrible to really need to go and be reliant on someone else. I was helping another person, and came as fast as I could. How about we make a game plan for the future?’’’

3. What do you do when you first enter a patient’s room?

Of all CNA questions and answers, this question can give clear insight into your bedside manner. It can also demonstrate your ability to prioritize and think critically.

How You Might Answer

“I always knock on the patient’s door before entering. When I enter, I introduce myself — including my name and my role. I will tell the patient the plan for the day, and ask them if they need anything. Then, I always check to make sure their bed alarm is on and call light is within reach before leaving. I let patients know when I plan to return, and double check if there is anything I can do for them before I leave.”

4. What is a CNA responsible for?

This question is asked to ensure that you understand the job description and role. This is a great opportunity to mirror the job posting and use the same language. If they are specifically looking for a CNA with excellent communication skills, relay yours here.

How You Might Answer

“As a CNA, my priority is patient care. I am responsible for assisting patients with their daily living activities, like toileting, changing clothes, and brushing teeth. It is also my duty to provide timely communication with RNs. For example, if I take a patient’s vital signs and see their blood pressure is high, I need to promptly alert the RN.”

5. What are your strengths?

Not only does this question reveal self-awareness, but it is your opportunity to toot your own horn. Don’t be afraid to brag a little.

How You Might Answer

“I am very detail-oriented. I can walk into a room and immediately notice that something has changed. This helps me be alert to changes with a patient so I can notify the RN. It also helps me be organized, which all of my coworkers and patients love!”

6. What are your weaknesses?

We all have weaknesses. Think of something you know you are working on, and share that along with your plan for improvement.

How You Might Answer

“I used to have a hard time asking for help. I’m a natural self-motivator — when I see something that needs to be done, I do it. But sometimes that leads me to take on too much at once and feel overwhelmed. I brought it up to my manager in the past who praised me for voicing my concern. Now I stay mindful, speak up, and ask for help when I begin to feel overwhelmed.”

7. What would you do if a patient refuses care?

These types of CNA interview questions and answers highlight a fairly common occurrence in healthcare — refusing care. This also introduces conflict, giving you the chance to explain how you would act when things don’t go according to plan.

How You Might Answer

“If a patient is refusing care, I will be curious and ask why. Sometimes, I have found that the reason a patient refuses care is due to a misunderstanding or a fear of something unlikely. I will have a clarifying conversation, reinforce any education, and relay the information to the RN. If the patient understands the risks of refusing care and still refuses, I will respect their decision and document accordingly.”

8. What are your career goals?

This is one of the more common CNA interview questions and answers, and for good reason. Employers usually want to know what your career plans are for longevity sake.

How You Might Answer

“In the next 5 to 10 years, I see myself working in healthcare. I am dedicated to becoming the best CNA that I can be, and learning all that I can. If my finances and time allow, I would love to pursue a nursing degree.”

9. Tell me about a time you and your coworker didn’t get along. How did you handle it?

You are joining a team, and employers want to know that you’ll be a good fit. Use this time to show that you are not afraid of challenges, you’ll address issues professionally, and you are a good team player.

How You Might Answer

“One time my coworker and I were working in the same hall and sharing equipment. I noticed my coworker becoming short and irritated with me halfway through the shift. I asked them what was wrong, and they said, ‘You keep taking the blood pressure machine and leaving it unplugged, then when I need it, the battery is dead or almost dead!’ I replied, ‘You’re right, I haven’t been plugging it in. Where is a good location for us to put it when it’s not in use?’

We made a game plan together, so both of us felt respected and had equipment when we needed it. I have found that validating other people’s concerns and focusing on the things we can agree on helps deescalate situations.”

What to Do When You Don’t Have an Immediate Answer

Sometimes, you’ll be asked a question and you won’t have an immediate response. That’s okay. Pause, take a breath, and clear your mind. Consider building upon a previous answer or ask to return to that question later on.

Questions You Won’t Be Asked

By practicing these CNA interview questions and answers beforehand, you can make the actual interview a bit less intimidating. But rest assured, there are some questions you will not be asked. Thanks to employment laws, certain things are off topic. These include:

  • If you have a disability
  • Your religion
  • Your race
  • Your ethnicity
  • Your relationship status
  • If you are pregnant

Put These CNA Interview Questions and Answers Into Practice

Now that you’ve learned about potential CNA job interview questions, you’re well prepared to knock your interview out of the park. Still searching for opportunities? Let IntelyCare help. Check out the great CNA jobs available and apply today.