For many people, a job interview can make them feel nervous. However, preparing ahead of time for the big day can make you feel at ease.
These days, interviews can be conducted in different ways.
In fact, some employers may schedule a pre-interview through a phone call. Some employers may want you to come and meet with staff —requiring two or three interviews.
Having said that, Personal Support Workers are interviewed only once and rarely twice.
Before you begin preparing for your PSW interview, find out all of the details ahead of time.
BEFORE THE BIG DAY
When an employer invites you in for an interview, you should be very proud. After reviewing your resume, the employer feels that your experience, education and skills will be a great asset to them.
At this stage, the hiring manager invites you and a few more candidates in for the interview.
This is no easy task to get selected for an interview and you should commend yourself for getting this far in the process.
Whether through email or over the phone, the employer will provide you with key details about the interview along with the location, time and documents to bring with you.
Don’t think about relaxing and crossing your fingers before the big day. You still have to prepare for meeting with the hiring manager.
Know Your Employer
The first thing you should do is research the employer. Don’t use your common knowledge about the employer.
For example, you may be familiar with a hospital in your area. For an interview, you should have in-depth information about this hospital by looking at websites and reading articles.
Also, check local newspapers in your neighborhood and find out if there have been any recent changes happening with this employer.
For example, this hospital may have started hiring PSW’s recently after expanding their palliative care unit. If you are applying for a PSW position working in Palliative care, then you should know all about this area.
You may want to do a mock interview and practice with family and friends. The more comfortable you feel talking about your experiences and skills will make you feel more at ease during the interview.
Also, your family and friends will be honest about how you did on the mock interview.
Some people use camcorders or smart phone recorders to tape a mock interview. This is actually a good way to see how you would look and sound during the interview.
Do you use a lot of filler words, such as “umm” or “you know” on an interview? If so, practicing ahead of time can make you aware of using these words too much.
While you are practicing, focus on how you introduce yourself.
Remember, it takes one time to make a good impression.
If you are asked “tell me about yourself” and “describe your interests about this Personal Support Worker position”, you should be able to provide in-depth details relating to your personal experience.
However, don’t go off on a tangent.
Your focus is making sure the interviewer knows you are the best candidate for this position.
Therefore, don’t spend too much time talking about every job responsibility from a previous position.
Before the interview, you have time to really think about the interview and how your skills and background can benefit the PSW position that you applied for.
On the night before the interview, make sure that you get plenty of rest and have your clothes prepared ahead of time. If you have an early interview, it helps to already have your clothes ironed so you don’t have to think about it in the morning.
READY…SET…YOUR INTERVIEW DAY IS HERE
On the day of your interview, you may feel anxious and scared at the same time. Feeling nervous is completely normal.
Despite being nervous, anxious and scared you should focus on things that will make you feel confident during the interview.
What to Wear
Although you have applied for the position of a Personal Support Worker, don’t wear scrubs to the interview.
You should dress professionally (see also PSW dress code).
Women should wear a business pants suit or skirt suit with proper dress shoes. Do not wear loud earrings or bright nail polish.
Men should dress formally and conservatively. You should also consider wearing neutral or conservative colors, such as tan, blue and black. Don’t wear loud colors that can distract the person interviewing from paying attention to you.
If you are not familiar with the location, leave earlier so that you will arrive on time.
Also, expect delays due to traffic, public transportation, etc. If the time of your interview is 9 a.m., leave your home as if your interview is 8:30 a.m.
Also, use the restroom before you enter the building. If you are chewing gum, get rid of it before the interview.
When You Arrive
When you arrive at the location, tell the person at the front desk who you are coming to meet for your interview.
It is important to treat everyone you encounter with respect. When you arrive on the floor, sit down quietly and wait for the employer to call you.
At this time, you should turn off your cell phone completely. You definitely don’t want your phone to ring during the interview. If the assistant tells you that it will be a few minutes, sit there quietly or read any materials located in the area.
It’s Your Turn
When the hiring manager calls your name, introduce yourself and shake his or her hand. Also, you should be smiling and keeping eye contact with this person.
At this time, remain friendly and professional.
You don’t want the hiring manager to think you can’t relate well with people, especially for the position of a Personal Support Worker.
The Questions and Your Answers
The core of any PSW job interview is the questions.
Common PSW interview questions may focus on your experience working in the Personal Support profession and handling different situations, also known as scenario-based interview questions.
For example, an employer may want to know how you handle difficult patients. Provide real-life examples from previous positions.
An employer may also want to know your experience working with terminally-ill patients, especially if you are applying for a PSW position on a palliative unit.
Your focus should be sharing how you have the skills necessary to handle the job. These are PSW interview questions to help starting with your work.
The Importance of Eye Contact
During the interview, you want to maintain eye contact with the person interviewing you.
Don’t look at the wall or at your hands. Your focus should be on the person conducting the interview.
During a group interview, you should make general eye contact with everyone in the room.
Focus on speaking slowly and clearly. Don’t talk too fast, which can make it hard to understand what you are saying. Also, talking to fast or too low can make you seem nervous and lack confidence.
When you are sitting down, pull your shoulders back and sit up straight. This way, your voice will project clearly in the room and make you feel more at ease.
If the employer requests that you bring your resume, certification documents and references, you should hand all of this information to him or her at the beginning of the interview.
Some people tend to move their hands around when they talk. While others may sit still and look straight ahead. Think about what makes you feel best. You may feel more comfortable sitting with your hands crossed in front of you. It is best not to move your hands around too much. The employer may think you are nervous or anxious.
The Non-verbal Cues
It is important to pay attention to non-verbal cues during the interview. If the employer makes eye contact with you and leans in to hear you talk, they are listening to you carefully.
If the employer tends to look around the room when you are talking, you may be going off on a tangent and talking too long.
Crossing your arms can tell the employer that you are not paying attention and not really interested. Also, if you put your hand on your chin, this cue can tell the employer that you are making a decision or really thinking about a question.
During the interview, stay focused on the person interviewing you. Pay attention to the questions and take a few seconds to think about the answers. You don’t want to rush and provide an answer without really thinking about the question.
Employers want to know more about your personality. If you have a funny work-related story to share with the employer, it is okay to tell them as long as it relates to the position.
Be honest and show your personality during the interview.
Turning the Tables
Along with answering questions, be prepared to ask questions. Some questions you can ask include the size of the floor where you will be working, number of patients or clients typically assigned to one PSW.
Also, you can ask about the workplace culture. For example, you may want to know if Personal Support Workers have to rotate and cover other floors or work on one particular floor.
These type of questions let the employer know that you are really interested in the position. They also inform the employer that you have conducted research and familiarized yourself with the facility.
Be aware of questions that you should not ask during the first interview.
For example, do not bring up salary or benefits unless the employer asks you questions on these topics. Also, don’t ask questions common to the PSW field. For example, you shouldn’t ask about working long hours or what days you will have off.
These are questions that shouldn’t be asked until you receive a job offer.
At the end of the interview, ask the employer when they expect to fill the position.
// ]]>You want to ask this question for several reasons. First, this will help you get an idea of how soon you will hear back from the employer. Also, you can get a sense of how fast they want this position to be filled.
MAINTAINING THE CONNECTION
After an interview, many people sit back and wait to hear from the employer.
However, this is not the best thing to do. You want to maintain the connection with the employer.
First, send a short thank you letter immediately after the interview. The letter can basically say that you enjoyed meeting the employer and learning more about the organization.
One more thing to add in the letter is something memorable about your skills and background to make you stand out from the crowd.
Remember, this employer may be interviewing three or even more people for the same position. A letter helps the employer remember your conversation and the possibility of bringing you in for a second interview or even offering you the job.
Although you can consider emailing the letter, there is something special about taking the time to mail a letter to someone.
If you have your own stationery cards or letters, you can also consider handwriting a note to the employer. The whole idea is to really find a way to make the employer remember you and continue to consider you for the job opening.
If you do not hear back from the employer within two weeks, send a follow-up email or make a phone call.
However, you don’t want to call too many times or before the employer makes a decision. By doing this, the employer may think you are desperate for the position.
Also, it is not professional to continue to contact the employer. When you follow-up, let the employer know that you are interested in the PSW position.
Regardless of what the employer says, remain courteous and thank him or her for their time.
If you don’t get the position, don’t feel disappointed. Continue to send out your resume and pursue other PSW job opportunities.
Sooner or later, the right opportunity will come up.
Following these key steps will make you better prepared to succeed on your next Personal Support Worker Job interview.