7 Essential CNA Interview Questions to Ask

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Written by Kayla Tyson Editor, B2C Content, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Katherine Zheng, PhD, BSN Content Writer, IntelyCare
Administrator asking CNA interview questions to candidate

The primary goal of healthcare facilities is to provide excellent, patient-centered care. To accomplish this, your facility will need a skilled and caring staff — yet, filling positions within any healthcare setting can be difficult. Many hiring managers face the challenge of a tight nursing professional supply, making it especially important for hiring teams to conduct effective interviews.

When hiring a certified nursing assistant (CNA), you’ll need to consider a variety of factors to ensure the candidate is a good fit for your organization, beyond the first impression left by the resume. In this article, we’ll review seven key CNA interview questions hospital leaders can ask to guide their hiring decisions.

  1. What inspired you to become a CNA?
  2. How do you ensure patients feel safe and secure while you provide them care?
  3. What would you do if a patient was uncooperative and resistant to treatment?
  4. How do you manage your workload so each patient receives the care they need?
  5. In your own words, could you describe the responsibilities of a CNA?
  6. Could you share an example of a difficult situation you’ve faced in healthcare and how you navigated it?
  7. Could you share an example of a time you provided exceptional care?

CNA Interview Questions and What Their Answers Reveal

1. What inspired you to become a CNA?

Asking questions about a candidate’s motivations at the beginning of an interview can provide valuable insight into their personal traits and level of dedication to the profession. For example, one candidate may answer this question by describing their passion for taking care of others, while another may focus on their practical need for employment. These types of questions will shed light on the candidate’s overall fit for the profession.

2. How do you ensure patients feel safe and secure while you provide them care?

Patients often feel vulnerable when receiving care, so it’s important for CNAs to have a plan for creating a safe environment. By asking how the candidate promotes a patient’s feelings of security, you can assess their ability to provide care in purposeful and compassionate ways. Listen closely for answers that indicate the candidate’s understanding of best practices for patient safety and how they might honor a patient’s preferences and values.

3. What would you do if a patient was uncooperative and resistant to treatment?

Working as a CNA sometimes involves providing care to uncooperative patients. It’s vital that a candidate has strategies to use if they encounter such a situation. The candidate’s answer to CNA interview questions like these will provide insight into their ability to de-escalate conflicts and whether they take the time to make the patient feel heard. Pay attention to their response as it relates to patients’ rights and responsibilities, such as informed consent and confidentiality.

4. How do you manage your workload so each patient receives the care they need?

Throughout a given day, CNAs are often responsible for multiple patients, each with individualized needs. A great CNA candidate will have time-management strategies in place to organize their workload and ensure patient needs are met. This CNA interview question might also lead to a description of how the candidate works collaboratively with other professionals in the facility, which is a vital skill for a CNA.

5. In your own words, could you describe the responsibilities of a CNA?

You can learn a lot by asking a candidate to articulate the main responsibilities of a CNA. This will help you understand their past experiences in the role, knowledge of key tasks, and ability to communicate effectively. As they answer the question, pay attention to their overall attitude toward the role, which could indicate whether they would be a good fit within your healthcare organization’s culture.

6. Could you share an example of a difficult situation you’ve faced in healthcare and how you navigated it?

Being a CNA can be challenging and the ability to address issues in real-time is essential. The candidate’s answer to scenario-based CNA interview questions will shed light on their problem-solving skills, resilience, and ability to reflect. By asking the candidate to describe a difficult situation they’ve faced, you can gain valuable information about their temperament. A great answer to this CNA interview question should include a clear explanation of their actions, their reasoning, and how those choices impacted the outcome of the situation.

7. Could you share an example of a time you provided exceptional care?

Of all interview questions for a CNA, this one will allow the candidate to highlight their successes, giving them confidence that they clearly displayed their strengths throughout the interview process. This can contribute to a positive candidate experience, which can help you compete for top talent and fill positions. In addition, this type of question will reveal what they believe qualifies as high-quality care. In their answer, look for specific references to patient-centered care, critical thinking skills, handling adversity, and collaboration with colleagues.

Use the Largest Nurse Hiring Network to Find Your Next Hire

Asking the right CNA interview questions can help you hire the best possible candidate, but many facilities struggle to find the right nursing professionals to interview in the first place. By posting your vacant positions on our nationwide nursing job board, you can save valuable time by connecting with qualified — and interested — nursing professionals near you.