You’ve long held a dream to work in aged care. You’ve completed your training, and have been applying for jobs – for a few months now. It’s taken a little longer to find a position in the industry than you thought it would. But at last the day arrives. You receive a message to let you know your application has been successful and – finally – you have a job interview.
Now for the next hurdle: the interview.
Here are some of the most common questions that might be asked in an interview for someone looking to work in an aged care home, and we provide some brief pointers about how you could answer them.
1. Can you tell us about yourself and why have you chosen to work in aged care?
This question provides an opportunity to briefly explain what has brought you to this point in your career and why you have chosen to work in aged care. Provide a little personal background, particularly as it relates to your experience with older people. Try to demonstrate you have the personal traits that are suitable to working in aged care: for example, empathy, a caring nature, patience and flexibility.
2. What are the standard practices of infection control?
This question is likely to be at the top of many employers’ lists right now due, of course, to COVID-19. This document provides the latest information from the Department of Health about infection control in aged care.
3. What would you do if you were with a resident and they had a fall?
Falls are one of the most significant hazards for older people. Here you could say that you would call for help immediately and reassure the resident and try to keep them calm as best you can while you wait for help to arrive.
4. How would you handle a resident who had become confused or upset?
This question provides an opportunity to demonstrate your empathetic nature. Explain you would try to remain calm and focus on reassuring the person. You could also say that after an incident where a resident became distressed, you would try to learn more about the person to try to understand what might have triggered the incident, and have personal information that might be useful in trying to calm and reassure them.
5. Can you give an example of a time you have successfully worked in a team?
Teamwork is a very important aspect of working in aged care. Think of a specific example where you have been able to work collaboratively and have been able to communicate effectively with colleagues. Being able to demonstrate that you are comfortable talking to a wide range of people could also be an advantage here.
6. What is person-centred care?
Last year, the Australian aged care sector adopted a new set of quality and safety standards that were developed around the concept of ‘person-centered care’. Explain that person-centered care is respectful of and responsive to the preferences, needs and values of the person you are caring for. This document provides more information.
7. What would you do if a resident living with dementia refused to take a shower?
This question provides an opportunity to demonstrate you know how to care for those living with dementia. You could suggest providing gentle encouragement, but if the answer is still no, put off showering until the next day when you can try again. You could give them a wash, and change them into clean clothes or pyjamas, depending on what time of day it is. It’s not uncommon for those living with dementia to avoid showering.
Interviewers might also ask you about some of the regulatory aspects of aged care, such as the new Aged Care Quality Standards. Read up on the standards here on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s website.
It’s also a good idea to have a few of your own questions up your sleeve. Asking questions will show the prospective employer you have initiative, and that you’ve given considerable thought about the organisation and the role.
Some suggestions are:
Wear comfortable but smart clothing, arrive on time, be polite and look the interviewer in the eye.
Good luck – the job’s got your name on it!