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Preparing for the Job Interview

So you’re a little nervous. Okay, you’re very nervous. That’s to be expected. Fortunately, there’s plenty of preparation you can do before the interview to boost your self-confidence and ensure you make the best first impression possible.

Keep in mind that a good interview is a win-win. Your goals are to learn more about the company, job and culture to see if they are a good fit for you, and to persuade the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job. The interviewer’s goals are to promote the company and gather information about you. Everyone has something to gain from a good interview. The following tips will help make your interviews a success. 

Nail Down the Details

Double-check the interview time, location and the interviewer’s name and title. Scout out the address and parking options in advance.


Dress for Success

Plan to dress formally, in clean, properly-fitting business clothes. If you can, investigate acceptable business attire at the company and dress accordingly. Style your hair neatly. Make sure your shoes are clean and polished. Wear a watch and be conservative with your jewelry.

Do Your Homework

Conduct research about the company and the position you are interested in. Check the company’s website and annual report. Prepare questions you’d like to ask the interviewer about the company’s philosophy, aspects of the job you are applying for and what the company requires of its employees.

Prepare Your Answers

Give yourself a competitive edge by being able to provide well-organized, confident answers in the interview. You can prepare for many of the interview questions in advance by:

  • Reviewing your own experience and employers.
  • Reviewing your technical skills, so you can answer specific technical questions about your expertise. Assessing your strengths. Make a list of your strengths by category: Knowledge-based skills from education and experience; communication skills and other transferable skills you take to each job; and your unique personal attributes. Memorize several from each category based on the strengths your employer will need.
  • Examining your weaknesses. Make a list of your areas for improvement. Practice answers that minimize the area and focus on ways you handle that weakness.
  • Preparing your “elevator speech.” Have a short, concise response ready about reasons you want the job, and ways you can make a difference at the company.
  • Demonstrating your “fit” with short stories about your accomplishments.

Anticipate Positive/Negative and Neutral Questions

Practice listening carefully to whether a question prompts an automatic positive or negative response. Turn the negative and neutral questions into positive examples.

Positive Questions

  • What are your strengths?
  • What can you contribute to our company?
  • What are your most significant accomplishments?
  • Why do you think you are qualified for this position?
  • Why have you been successful?
  • Describe the ideal position for you.
  • Tell me about a situation in which you felt very effective on the job.
  • In what type of business environment do you function best?

Neutral Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How do you communicate with managers/peers/subordinates?
  • How do you handle pressure?
  • What are your salary requirements and expectations? (Give a range, not a specific figure. Leave room to negotiate after the position is offered. Make it clear that salary is not the main reason you are interested.)
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What is important for me to know about you?
  • What is the key thing you have learned in your management career?
  • How do you set priorities?

What NOT to Ask

  • Personal questions about your interviewers, such as how they got their job, or what they think of the company.
  • The interviewer’s opinion of a former employee.
  • Politics or religion, unless the position is of a political or religious nature.

Wait to ask about company retirement plans, vacations, bonuses and holidays until you have received an offer or are in the process of negotiating an offer.

Phone Interview Tips

Phone Interviewing

Tips Tip #1: Treat the phone interview as important as or more important than an in-person interview… Why? Because you are not inperson with the interviewer you miss out on subtle social interactions such as a firm handshake, eye contact, and overall body language. Due to the fact you’re on the phone means you have to work extra hard to stand out as the interviewer can’t ‘feel out’ the chemistry in-person. Take notes, ask questions, and do research beforehand like any other interview.

Tip #2: Focus… Cut out all distractions from your interview, it’s usually best if you can make the call in a quiet place at the comfort of your own home; but be sure that the television is turned off, your children are preoccupied, and the dog is fed. You, as well as the interviewer, need to have full attention on the phone call, and that can’t be accomplished with background noise.

Tip #3: Give yourself time… Many phone interviewees may try and fit their interview during their lunch break or in between classes. Make sure you have enough time to continue the conversation without cutting the interview short for you next commitment.

Tip #4: Have a computer handy… Having access to the web can be a huge advantage to your interview. The interviewer can’t see that you have a tab with the company’s website and a search engine for questions. Just be sure that the interviewer can’t hear your keyboard. Invest in a quiet keyboard if possible.

Tip #5: Print out your resumé… Having a hard copy of your resumé can help tremendously. Sometimes you may forget certain points or the interviewer may ask a question about your resumé they saw when you first applied. Above all else, you can use your resumé to take notes in the margins.

Tip #6: Be ready… Make sure you’re ready to answer the phone call five minutes before scheduled. Hiring agents sometimes call early as a tactic of testing candidates.

Tip #7: Do your homework… Prior to your interview, research the company online, talk to any contacts you have that might work there, and get a feel for the company’s culture by identifying its key focuses/priorities. Thoroughly review the job description of the position for which you are applying and come prepared with questions, as well as highlight why you would be the best fit.

Tip #8: Smile… The interviewer can’t see you, which makes it harder to project enthusiasm. Fortunately, if you smile it is proven to help convey happiness, enthusiasm, and excitement even over the phone.

Tip #9: Give clear, concise answers… Since the employer can’t see you face to face, you must be even sharper and concise with your answers. If you need a minute to gather or collect your answer, share that with your interviewer so there isn’t undefined quiet time.

Tip #10: Be honest… Just because you aren’t meeting in person doesn’t mean you should over-exaggerate yourself and your capabilities. Hiring managers sniff out candidates that seem too good to be true. Be honest about your capabilities. Not only does it convey trustworthiness, but also it helps the interviewer select their best candidates. The last thing you want as a new employee is to step into a role that is above your capabilities, because you fudged some details. Do yourself a favor, your future self will thank you for getting rid of overwhelming stress.

Tip #11: Avoid talking about money… If an interviewer decides to ask you about your desired salary don’t answer with phrases like: “I currently make X, but I want to make Y,” “I’m negotiable,” or “I’d rather discuss in person” These phrases tend to make interviewer move on. Answer instead with something like: “I need a better understanding of the total compensation package before I can state my desired salary.”

Tip #12: Follow up… Be sure to ask the interviewer for a timeline as to when a decision would be made, as well as their preferred way for you to follow up. Be sure to follow any guidelines the employer establishes.

Tip #13 Next steps… Be ready to be flexible to possible next steps or subsequent face to face interviews. Have your calendar readily available to schedule a next interview, if given the opportunity.

Tip #14: Say thank you ASAP… You didn’t have an interview at the office so there’s no commute home. Send the interviewer a thank you email as soon as possible before the interviewer stops thinking about you. You want to create a good impression, don’t wait to do so.

CNA - COA - Tuition and Fees


1  Tuition and Fees $800
2  Nursing Assistant Textbook $40
3  Nursing Assistant Kit $40
4  ZHI Student ID Card  $20 
5  Background Study | Read more $50
6  Fingerprinting and photograph fees payable to fingerprinting site $9.10
7  Uniform (Navy Blue)  $30 - 39
8  Onsite Tuberculosis | Mantoux Screening | Chest X-ray | Read more   $30 - 99
9  State Exam Fees Payable to a Technical or Community College  $205 - 250 
 10 Parking | Internet | Student Lounge | Career Counseling | Job Placement  FREE 

Reimbursement for Tuition and Fees: Both federal and state law require Medicare-certified health care facilities to reimburse nursing assistants for the cost of their training and testing if they meet the following conditions:

  1. The nursing assistant has received a job offer from the facility within 12 months of completing the training and testing. The facility is not obligated to reimburse the nursing assistant if more than 12 months have passed since completion of training and testing.
  2. The nursing assistant has not already been reimbursed by another facility. Reimbursement must be made by the first facility where the nursing assistant is employed 90 days from the date of the job offer.
  3. The nursing assistant has not quit or been terminated within 90 days of the job offer.
  4. The nursing assistant has actually paid for the cost of training and testing him/herself. It is important to keep all receipts, as the facility is not required to reimburse the nursing assistant without proof that he or she paid for the training and materials.

Nursing assistants must be reimbursed for the following expenses:

  1. Tuition and mandatory fees and insurance
  2. Required textbooks and supplies
  3. Uniforms and shoes that are required for the clinical experience
  4. Mileage: To be reimbursed, the student must have kept mileage records and must request reimbursement.
  5. Cost of the State Competency Exam: The facility is required to reimburse the student for the cost of the test and up to two retakes. (If either portion of the test is not passed in three attempts, the nursing assistant must retake the nursing assistant course).

ZANDU HEALTH INITIATIVE | Learn More. Inspire Communities.

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