How to Ace Your Care Job Application: Tips for Candidates
Over the past year, as people’s needs and priorities have changed, there has been an increase in care jobs available for live-in carers. This means, that if you are looking for a job as a carer, your chances of gaining a position have never been better.
Of course, these jobs will not just go to anyone. To work in care, you will not necessarily be expected to have certain qualifications or experience, but this will depend on the company. The most important thing, for any company, is your qualities; and, as always, it will be up to you to highlight what makes you best suited for the role in your job application – a somewhat daunting task for most would-be candidates.
To help you with this process, we’ve put together this guide to help you ace your care job application.
TIPS FOR CANDIDATES
> The ‘Paper’ Application
In order to be invited to interview with a care company, you will be asked to submit an application, usually in the form of your CV and a cover letter, or the company may even ask you to fill in an online application form to accompany this.
The purpose of this stage is to allow companies to filter out unsuitable applicants in the early application stages. Therefore, if you want to stay in the running, it is important that you provide accurate details about your:
* Qualifications (although its often not necessary, it is desirable if you have at least a Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care)
* Employment history
* Personal qualities
* Eligibility and fitness to work
When writing your application, particularly your cover letter or extended answers in an application form, be sure to focus on that which is relevant to the job and highlights your suitability for the role.
It is also essential that you remain truthful and avoid the temptation to over-inflate your experience; remember that employers may check on details you have included – either in the interview or via reference requests.
> The Interview
For many care-job candidates, the interview can be the most nerve-wracking part of the application process. However, by following this advice, you should be able to get through it successfully:
Dressing professionally is important, even if the interview is online. First impressions matter a lot, and you want to give the interviewers the signal that you are an organised, clean, tidy and respectable person. For some employers, things such as long nails, too much makeup, visible tattoos and multiple piercings may also be deterrents. Other important aspects of appearance to consider relate to being punctual, looking engaged and enthusiastic, asking appropriate questions when prompted and taking notes during the interview.
Demonstrate respect and dedication to upholding the dignity of elderly people
When answering questions, refer to elderly people respectfully and avoid referring to them using slang words or potentially derogatory terms such as OAPs, fogies, etc. In your answers, always show a consideration for the dignity of elderly people, showing that you would consider the whole range of their needs – including their need for privacy and independence.
Show your positive, personable, attitude
The interview is your main opportunity to demonstrate that you have the right kind of personality to support others. To be a carer, you need to be able to get along with a wide range of people and to deal with interpersonal challenges positively and proactively.
Therefore, you must demonstrate that you have the ability to connect with people and can relate well. Smiling and nodding are good signals; and be sure to convey your patience, compassion and ability to make the best of situations.
Know about the agency
Interviewers will ask questions to test that you have researched about their company, so make sure you have a good look through their website before your interview.
Convey your passion for care work
Sound enthusiastic. This is not a job for people who are unsure – care companies want to ensure they have dedicated people in their team.
Demonstrate your trustworthiness
The elderly and vulnerable people you will be supporting need to be cared for by people they and their families can trust. It is essential that you are honest. Care companies will not hire people who they believe are insincere.
Prepare examples for different questions
* What is your experience of caring for elderly people?
* Describe a challenging situation you have overcome
* Can you describe a time where you demonstrated exceptional care or kindness?
* Describe a time where you had to overcome a barrier in order to keep to your commitments
* Describe a time where you have demonstrated sound judgement and competency in your work
* How would you respond to arriving at an assignment, finding that the client had soiled themself?
* How are you with changing incontinence items?
* What could you do if you were running late for an assignment or could not make it?
* Describe a time where you remained calm and focused in a crisis.
This article is a guest blog by
Freelance writer | Avid Walker | Chai Lattes 'Til I Die
- Hannah Friend, The Guardian, ‘Seven questions you may be asked in a care worker interview’, https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/questions-asked-care-worker-social-care-interview, 2014
- Helping Hands, ‘Helping Hands Launches 20 New Branches Across the Country in March’, https://www.helpinghandshomecare.co.uk/live-in-care/, 2021
- Skills For Care, ‘Care Worker’ https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Careers-in-care/Job-roles/Roles/Care-worker.aspx 2021