Interview

17 Personal Support Worker Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a personal support worker, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Personal support workers, or PSWs, provide assistance to people who are elderly, disabled, or chronically ill in their homes and in long-term care facilities. They often help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.

If you’re looking for a job as a personal support worker, you’ll likely need to go through an interview process. During your interview, you may be asked a range of questions about your experience, skills, and abilities. To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve put together a list of common personal support worker interview questions and answers.

Are you CPR certified?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have the necessary skills and training to provide care for their clients. If they are looking for a personal support worker who is CPR certified, they might want to know that you have this certification before hiring you. You can answer this question by telling them whether or not you’re CPR certified and what your certification level is.

Example: “I am CPR certified at the basic level. I took a course in high school where we learned how to perform CPR on adults, children and infants. I’ve used these skills several times since then when I was working as an aide in hospitals.”

What are some of the most important skills for a personal support worker?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your strongest skills and how they relate to personal support work.

Example: “The most important skill for a personal support worker is communication. This job requires us to communicate with many different people, including patients, family members and other healthcare professionals. I am very good at communicating clearly and compassionately, which helps me build strong relationships with everyone I meet.”

How would you handle a client who is resistant to your care?

This question can help the interviewer assess your interpersonal skills and ability to work with challenging clients. In your answer, try to highlight your problem-solving and conflict resolution skills by describing a specific situation in which you helped a client overcome their resistance.

Example: “In my previous role as a personal support worker, I had a client who was very resistant to taking his medication. He would often refuse to take it when I offered it to him, so I tried different ways of encouraging him to take his medicine. For example, I would offer him food or snacks if he took his pills, but this didn’t always work. Eventually, I learned that he liked music, so I brought along an MP3 player with some of his favorite songs on it. When I played the music for him, he would usually take his pills without any issues.”

What is your experience with working with clients who have dementia?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with working with clients who have dementia and how you approach this type of work. Use examples from previous experiences to highlight your skills, such as patience, empathy and communication abilities.

Example: “I worked in a long-term care facility for two years where I primarily helped residents with dementia. One of my favorite aspects of working with these residents was helping them remember things they had forgotten or teaching them new information. For example, one resident would forget that he had eaten breakfast each morning when I saw him later in the day. I would remind him that he already ate breakfast and then offer him something else to eat. He always seemed happy to learn something new.”

Provide an example of a time when you went above and beyond for a client.

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your dedication to helping others. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation where you went above and beyond for a client or family member. This can include an example of when you helped someone with something that wasn’t necessarily part of your job description.

Example: “When I worked as a personal support worker, I had a client who was blind. He would often ask me questions about what he could hear outside his window. One day, I noticed he didn’t have any books on tape in braille. So, I contacted a local library and asked if they had any audio books in braille. They said they didn’t, but they were willing to record some books for him. I volunteered to read them so they could use my voice.”

If a client has specific dietary requirements, how would you ensure that they are met?

This question can help the interviewer assess your ability to work with clients who have unique needs. Use examples from past experiences where you helped a client meet their dietary requirements and how it positively impacted their health or well-being.

Example: “I once worked with a client who was vegan, so I made sure that all of his meals were plant-based. He also had celiac disease, so I ensured that all food prepared for him was gluten-free. In addition to ensuring he got enough protein in his diet, these dietary restrictions helped him feel better overall. It also reduced his risk of developing other conditions like osteoporosis.”

What would you do if you noticed a safety hazard in a client’s home?

Employers ask this question to make sure you are aware of your responsibilities as a personal support worker and that you can handle potentially dangerous situations. In your answer, explain how you would report the hazard and what steps you would take to ensure the client’s safety.

Example: “If I noticed a safety hazard in a client’s home, I would first speak with them about it. If they were unable or unwilling to fix the problem, I would immediately report it to my supervisor so they could address it. I would also check back with the client after the issue was resolved to make sure everything was okay.”

How well do you handle stress and pressure?

Working as a personal support worker can be stressful at times. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to handle stress and pressure in your job. In your answer, share how you manage stress and give an example of a time when you were able to do so successfully.

Example: “I am good at managing stress. I find that taking deep breaths is one of my favorite ways to relieve stress. When I feel overwhelmed or stressed out, I take five minutes to breathe deeply and relax myself. This helps me get through any tough situations I may encounter on the job.

At my last job, there was a patient who had dementia. He would often become upset because he didn’t know where he was. One day, he became very upset and started throwing things around his room. I took a few deep breaths and calmed myself down before approaching him. I spoke calmly to him and helped him understand what we needed from him.”

Do you have experience working with clients who have physical disabilities?

Employers may ask this question to see if you have experience working with clients who have physical disabilities. They want to make sure that you are comfortable and confident in your ability to provide care for these types of clients. In your answer, try to explain how you feel about working with people who have physical disabilities. Try to highlight any specific skills or experiences you have that would help you work with these types of clients.

Example: “I do have experience working with clients who have physical disabilities. I worked at a daycare center where we had several children with physical disabilities. One child I helped was a little boy named Timmy. He had cerebral palsy, which made it hard for him to walk. I learned how to support his body while he walked so he could build up his strength. It was rewarding to be able to help him learn new things.”

When is it appropriate to call a client’s doctor?

This question can help the interviewer determine your knowledge of medical professionals and how you interact with them. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific time when you called a doctor for advice or guidance on a client’s care.

Example: “I have worked with many doctors in my career as a personal support worker, so I am familiar with their schedules and know which ones are best to call at different times. For example, if a client is experiencing an emergency situation, I would call their primary physician immediately. If they were having a more general concern that required medical expertise, I would call their specialist instead. This helps ensure that all clients receive the highest level of care possible.”

We want to ensure that our clients feel comfortable communicating with our staff. What is your process for making people feel at ease?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you interact with clients and their families. It can also show them your interpersonal skills, which are important for this role. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you helped someone feel more comfortable.

Example: “I find that making people feel at ease is all about building trust. I try to make sure they know I’m there to support them and answer any questions they have. If they’re nervous or uncomfortable, I’ll ask if there’s anything I can do to make them more comfortable. For example, when I was working in an assisted living facility, one of my clients had trouble sleeping because she was worried about her family members. I asked her what we could do to help her sleep better, and she told me that hearing her grandchildren’s voices would calm her down. So, I recorded some videos of them playing together and played them on a loop while she slept.”

Describe your process for documenting your work and updating a client’s file.

The interviewer may ask you this question to understand how well you follow protocols and procedures. Your answer should include a specific example of when you documented your work, including the steps you took and what information you recorded.

Example: “I always start by documenting my client’s current condition before I begin working with them. This helps me keep track of any changes in their health or behavior throughout the day. At the end of each shift, I update my notes on the client’s file so that other support workers can access it if they need to. If there are no significant changes in the patient’s condition, I also document that in the file.”

What makes you an ideal candidate to provide personal support?

This question is an opportunity to highlight your skills and abilities that make you a great candidate for the role. When answering this question, it can be helpful to discuss what attracted you to personal support work in the first place. You may also want to mention any specific experiences or training that makes you qualified for the job.

Example: “I have always been passionate about helping others, so I decided to pursue a career as a personal support worker. In my previous position, I learned how to provide care for people of all ages and backgrounds. I am especially skilled at communicating with patients and their families, which helps me build strong relationships with everyone I meet.”

Which personal support services have you had the most experience providing?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience in a variety of personal support services. It can also show them which ones you enjoy most and are most comfortable with providing. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention two or three specific services that you have had extensive experience with and briefly explain why they’re among your favorites.

Example: “I’ve worked extensively with bathing, dressing and grooming clients as well as helping them get around their homes safely. I find these tasks very rewarding because I know how much comfort and independence they provide for my clients. I also really enjoy working with speech therapy clients because I love hearing them improve their communication skills.”

What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of being a personal support worker?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you as a person and understand what motivates you. It also helps them determine if your values align with those of their organization. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about what aspects of being a personal support worker have been most meaningful for you in the past.

Example: “The most rewarding aspect of being a personal support worker is helping people live more independently. I love seeing my clients make progress toward their goals and knowing that I had a part in making that happen. I feel like I am able to really make a difference in someone’s life when I work as a personal support worker.”

How often do you think a client should be bathed?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience and how you apply it to client care. When answering, consider what is most comfortable for the client and what would be best for their health.

Example: “I think a client should be bathed every two days or as needed. Bathing too often can dry out the skin and cause irritation, but if they go longer than two days without a bath, they may develop an odor that could make them uncomfortable. I always ask my clients about their bathing preferences and try to accommodate them.”

There is a conflict between two clients that you are caring for. How do you handle this?

This question can help the interviewer assess your conflict resolution skills. It is important to show that you are able to resolve conflicts in a calm and professional manner, while also maintaining the trust of clients.

Example: “I would first try to understand both sides of the situation. I would then speak with each client separately to get their side of the story. If there was still a disagreement between the two parties, I would ask them if they would be willing to meet together to discuss the issue. If they agreed, I would facilitate the meeting and make sure everyone felt comfortable speaking about their concerns. After this meeting, I would check in with each client individually to see how they were feeling.”

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