11 Support Worker Interview Questions (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 3, 2023

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Support workers have a testing role with physical, emotional, and mental challenges. Therefore, employers will ask some interview questions during the screening process to better understand your fitness for the role. That's why it's crucial to prepare for the interview to understand some of the common skills and competencies employers look for when interviewing for this role. In this article, we will cover some of the most common support worker interview questions and how to answer them.

11 common support worker interview questions

The following are some of the most common support worker interview questions:

1. How do you assess a client's needs?

The client's needs are always vital when offering care or support. Patients' needs are usually sensitive and vary depending on the situation. There is a time to advise, assist, or leave a patient alone as they wish. Tell the employer that you understand a patient's need to feel independent or accommodate their additional requests in your answer. Also, outline what you would do if the client refuses an activity plan or treatment.

Example: "I sympathize with my patients, but I understand that it's important to distinguish between their wants and needs. I cared for a patient who wouldn't eat peas or other important nutrients because her teeth had started to fall out. Despite how soft we cooked them, she complained they were raw and too hard. We started in squashing or blending some of her food, and she was really appreciative of the accommodations we made."

2. Tell us about a challenging experience. How did you handle it?

Support workers experience stressful and challenging situations. The employer wants to know if you can work under pressure. Provide an answer with an example of a stressful situation in your previous roles. It's also essential to focus your answer on the positive side of the situation. Therefore, describe the issue briefly, and then focus most of your answer on the positive results of the situation.

Example: "When I face a challenging situation, I focus on the merits rather than the stresses. I've learned that proper attention and care help make a situation less stressful. I've had patients who have issued threats or acted aggressively. I am always careful not to let the situation escalate, and I never take it personally. I exercise patience to give the individual space and time to reflect. If I feel a situation is about to get out of hand, I always request help from my colleagues. Teamwork is essential in these situations to ensure the safety of both myself and the patient."

Related: How to Prepare for a Job Interview

3. How do you maintain confidentiality as a support worker?

The hiring manager wants to know your level of professional knowledge and awareness. Confidentiality is vital in health care. It cultivates a trusting environment, and patients feel safe sharing sensitive information. In your answer, acknowledge that you are aware of the importance of confidentiality and can maintain it.

Example: "A patient's medical information is highly confidential, and I never share or disclose it without written consent from the patient. I understand the details are personal and sensitive, which means I have to exercise complete discretion. Exercising confidentiality helps to build trust and quality relationships with patients."

Related: Professionalism in the Workplace

4. Have you ever been sad about a patient's situation? How did you cope with it?

This is a behavioural question, as the hiring manager wants to know how you react and respond to the challenging elements of the role. Support workers sometimes encounter emotionally challenging situations. Give a relevant example in your answer and explain how you responded to the situation. Discuss how you used the experience as a learning opportunity.

Example: "The saddest and one of the most challenging periods of my career was when I first lost a patient. At that time, I didn't know how to talk about the emotions I was going through. I had trouble sleeping for some time because of it. My colleagues helped me open up to discuss my feelings, and I learned to accept this part of the job. I joined a support group with other support workers to help me work through my emotions and challenges, and we all support each other."

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

5. What do you do if your patient experienced a heart attack?

Support workers have procedures they must follow during emergencies. Show in your answer that you are prepared and well-trained to handle these situations. Detail the steps you take in such a scenario and show your ability to be calm.

Example: "The first step I take is to call for emergency medical assistance. Unless the patient has an allergy listed in their medical records, I give them aspirin. I also administer nitroglycerin if they have a prescription. I give CPR as I await emergency help if the patient is unconscious. I renew my CPR training every year to make sure I'm up-to-date and ready for emergencies."

Related: 13 Nursing Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

6. How do you care for a patient with Alzheimer's disease?

Interviewers use this question to assess your clinical knowledge. They use it to evaluate whether you are familiar with care procedures for common diseases. In your answer, demonstrate your clinical knowledge by describing some symptoms. Discuss any experience you have treating patients with this illness and how your training has prepared you to provide care.

Example: "I understand that Alzheimer's patients usually get confused about their whereabouts. It's important to be patient and tolerant, especially when a patient has a bad day. I am also always vigilant to monitor the progress of the disease. It helps me to adapt to their needs as they change."

Related: How To Write a Personal Support Worker Cover Letter (With Example)

7. What would you do if a patient wants you out of their room?

Hiring managers use this question to test your ability to assess a patient's needs and show empathy, especially in difficult situations. Support workers need to distinguish between a patient's needs and wants. Your answer should show your ability to balance empathy and provide quality care.

Example: “Patients need to see that we listen to them. However, it is also important to be firm when it comes to giving them the necessary care. In such a situation, I tell the patient I understand, offer to give them space, but assure them I'll be back in 20 minutes to see how they are doing. After that, I return to the patient to continue providing treatment or care as needed."

8. How do you approach health-care support work?

The hiring manager provides an opportunity to explain your professional philosophy. It also tests if you understand the job expectations and the industry. Ensure your answer is specific and provide examples from your experiences.

Example: "I believe that the care I provide makes a difference in the lives of my patients. Therefore, I usually prioritize my patients' needs and satisfaction to offer quality services. For example, when a patient asks me to leave, I'll respect these wishes for a short duration of time and get back to addressing their needs. Also, I request feedback regularly to help know how I can improve my approach to offering care."

Related: Interview Question: "What Motivates You?" (With Examples)

9. Why did you choose a career as a support worker?

This is a common interview question in most professions. The employer wants to know what motivates you, apart from wanting a good support worker. Use a personal story to show your clinical skills and what motivated you to follow this career path.

Example: "My grandmother had a degenerative disease. I had to care for her early in life because my mother worked full-time so I stayed with my grandmother all day. I always felt fulfilled whenever she felt better. When I got older, it influenced my calling to help others as well. My motivation is my compassion and commitment to providing excellent care."

Related: How to Answer "Why Do You Want This Job?"

10. What do you know about the policies to protect a vulnerable adult?

It's essential to know what policies the government has in place to protect vulnerable adults. Support workers have a responsibility to protect patients who are at risk. Interviewers want to see your practical and theoretical knowledge. You can define some current policies and how to help a patient at risk.

Example: "The government allows for vulnerable adults to give testimonies if they are able. It's an important step to protect them from physical or mental abuse. As a support worker, I always listen to their complaints. I'll refer them to get the appropriate help to express that they are in a tough situation. If I notice signs of abuse I note them in my reports, and discuss them with other health-care professionals depending on the severity of the situation."

11. What sets you apart from other candidates for this social worker position?

The question provides an opportunity to sell yourself. Therefore, it's essential that you show confidence as you summarize your key skills, qualities, and experience.

Example: "I find so much happiness in helping people, and am passionate about providing excellent care. I learned a lot about support work during my time volunteering in shelters for the homeless. There, I developed skills such as communication skills, listening skills, and time management, which are essential for this role. My natural compassion makes me an excellent candidate for this role and I look forward to using my skills and expertise in this facility."

Thought it's challenging to predict support worker interview questions, these 11 questions mark an excellent start to prepare for your interview.

Related: What Does a Support Worker Do? (Examples and Average Salary)

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