Nail your Interview in Social Care

Getting your first job or changing jobs in the Social Care sector can be a bit daunting. We understand why people get nervous in interviews, but the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be when answering and asking questions.

We have written this “Nail Your Interview” guide for several care organisations we work with, so thought we best share it on our blog.

We are sure this advice will help you.

Confirmation information

1 Has the service you are interviewing with sent over who you are meeting, when and where? Have they specifically asked you to read information and complete pre-interview forms? Make sure you read all the confirmation well in advance so you can plan your route, either by car or public transport and where you can park and the walk from the station or bus stop.

Turn up

It is important NOT to be late! This might sound silly but 1 in 5 applicants don’t show up and do not confirm non-attendance. This means important Management staff are taken away from providing care. If you are not able to attend, always call to explain and reschedule.

Why are you great?

Take time to think in advance why you are right for this position? What is it about you that makes you great to work in this sector, who have you supported and why did you make a difference to that person’s life? What do you enjoy and excel in? Skills for Care – talk about the Cs in Care –

Think about your values and the impact you want to make to vulnerable lives. You may get asked hypothetical or real-life example questions so be ready to think on your feet and give relevant examples about how you might deal with a situation.

What is essential to know?

There could be questions around Health and Safety, Medication, Qualifications, or any training you have completed. Having a good understanding of the type of care provision and CQC for the service you are meeting are all good things to research before an interview. This information should be readily available on a service website or by googling the CQC for the service. Spend time refreshing your knowledge on where you are with your training and development.

Body language and building rapport

Nobody likes awkward silence or being made to feel uncomfortable so it’s important to try and read the person you are meeting. Be relaxed but not too chilled! Give good eye contact and be mindful of who is doing the most talking and whether the interviewer is engaged with what you are saying. Always be polite and speak clearly and slowly (especially if English is not yours or the interviewers first spoken language). It’s good practice to build rapport so ask questions like.

  • How are you?
  • What does your role involve?
  • Why do you love working in this sector and specifically within this service?

Conversation in interviews flow when you can find some common ground.

Asking questions

Questions will arise throughout the interview, but you might want to take a couple of your own with you. It is hard to guide you on what questions to ask, but good ones are always around:

  • The team you will be working with
  • The hours you will be needed to work
  • Why the service is a good place to work
  • The types of training and support you will be given to increase your confidence and ability
  • The rate of pay you will get (don’t make this the first question)
  • Flexibility offered / additional shifts offered.

Think about your career progression

An interview for a specific job can sometimes only be about the here and now and the expectation on the day you start. Having no progression is one of the main reasons people leave jobs so does need to be discussed at interview. You should be asking about the training, the next level of opportunity and the time it might take you to achieve this. Showing willing to do more and be better at your job is always a positive conversation to have.

Be interested

Making a comment like, “I would love this job”, “I am so keen to learn more” are great ways to show you are enthusiastic and start conversations around why you are the best person for the position. Most managers that run the interviews really want to hire staff that want to work there – make that known to them.

Next steps and feedback

It is good practice to ask how you have done? If there is a second stage, then you can hear how you can improve or what more information or research you will need to do, you can also ask how many other people and when are being interviewed for the position. This can be as simple as asking “how was my interview?”. Remember to confirm contact details so you can follow up. It is polite to follow up with a quick email to say thank you and it’s a good opportunity to ask those questions if you ran out of time, or just forgot to ask some of the ones you had prepared.


Skills for Care are the go-to organisation to read up about all things related to working in Social Care and the skills you will need to succeed.

Skills for Care prepared the 6’Cs that are the core values of someone joining and progressing a career in the sector. Think about how these 6 Cs compare to you and your values and be able to discuss in an interview if asked.


CARE: Care is our core business and that of our organisations and the care we deliver helps the individual person and improves the health of the whole community. Caring defines us and our work. People receiving care expect it to be right for them, consistently, throughout every stage of their life.

COMPASSION: Compassion is how care is given through relationships based on empathy, respect, and dignity – it can also be described as intelligent kindness and is central to how people perceive their care.

COMPETENCE: Competence means all those in caring roles must have the ability to understand an individual’s health and social needs and the expertise, clinical and technical knowledge to deliver effective care and treatments based on research and evidence.

COMMUNICATION: Communication is central to successful caring relationships and to effective team working. Listening is as important as what we say and do and essential for ‘no decision about me without me’. Communication is the key to a good workplace with benefits for those in our care and staff alike.

COURAGE: Courage enables us to do the right thing for the people we care for, to speak up when we have concerns and to have the personal strength and vision to innovate and to embrace new ways of working.

COMMITMENT: A commitment to our patients and populations is a cornerstone of what we do. We need to build on our commitment to improve the care and experience of our patients, to take action to make this vision and strategy a reality for all and meet the health, care, and support challenges ahead.

With all this information in your armoury, we know you have a much better chance of nailing that interview.

Author: Emma McNamara. To discuss any hiring headaches contact

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