How to Source and Interview Certified Nursing Assistants

By: John Rossheim

By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts certified nursing assistants will increase by 20 percent. Most jobs will be offered in long-term care facilities.

These recruiting tips will help you with sourcing and interviewing certified nursing assistants. 

How to Source CNAs:

  • A provider's positive presence in the community can help attract qualified CNA candidates
  • Recruiters can create pipelines from CNA programs at community colleges and vocational and technical schools
  • Word of mouth and relationships with well-placed CNAs are key

Recruiter Tips:

  • “We’ve not had a huge issue with sourcing; we do really well with getting quality staff," says Monica Bonderer, staff development coordinator at a skilled nursing facility in rural Missouri. "Sometimes we place an ad, sometimes it's just word of month. We’re in a small rural community and everybody knows about us."
  • "Sourcing changes — it’s cyclical," says Aram Svajian, vice president of recruitment for nursing and allied health at Randstad. "If there's an overabundance of CNAs, the schools training them shut down, and then there’s a shortage. When CNAs are abundant, you can just place an ad. In lean times, it’s all about referrals: you’ve got to find the head honcho CNA in the organization and take care of them."

What to Cover in the CNA Interview:

  • Evaluate the candidate's attitude toward work that is physically and emotionally demanding.
  • As in their daily interactions with patients and nurses, in interviews CNAs should communicate clearly

Recruiter Tips:

  • "You’ve got to look for somebody who is nurturing," says Svajian. "My recruiters ask question the candidate to talk about someone they've taken care of. And they’ve got to be able to deal with family members. But they have to be fast, too." 
  • "We do some behavioral interviewing, some testing of the terminology of what they do on a daily basis," says Svajian.
  • "We ask, why did you choose us, why should we choose you?" says Bonderer. "What is long-term care, and what are its goals?"

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