Three Reasons to Choose a Health Care Assistant Career

Three Reasons to Choose a Health Care Assistant Career

Three Reasons to Choose a Health Care Assistant Career

If you’re looking for a career that will provide you with job satisfaction and security, while also making an impact in the lives of others, consider a job as a Health Care Assistant.

WorkBC’s Labour Market Outlook 2018 Edition estimates that 5,980 Health Care Assistant jobs will be created in British Columbia over the next ten years, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, several of today’s fastest growing professions are in the health care industry. This means that as a health care professional, you’ll have more career opportunities – and find jobs more easily – than those in other industries.

There are a number of industries losing jobs in BC but the health care field continues to grow rapidly. You will not only be enjoying more options as a health care professional; you will also have better job stability and security.

Competitive Earning Potential

Due to the high demand for workers in the health care industry, careers in health care are some of the most well-paying options available. The more training you have and the more highly skilled you are, the higher your pay will be. Even in entry-level health care jobs the earning and growth potential are better than in many fields. According to information from the Health Employers Association of BC, the starting hourly wage of a Health Care Assistant working in a publicly funded setting can range from $22.38 to $25.33, depending on the employment sector. As a full-time or part-time employee, you would have access to a comprehensive benefits package and a benefit pension plan through the Municipal Pension Plan. Most graduates usually start with casual or part-time employment and work up to full-time status gradually.

You Can Live & Work Anywhere in BC

Almost every region of the province has a strong demand for HCAs, meaning that you can live and work almost anywhere in British Columbia once you receive recognized training and register as a Health Care Assistant. There are very few fields that offer such widespread career opportunities as the health care field.

You Can Finish School in As Few as Seven Months

Health Care Assistant training program duration varies from school to school, but an average time range is seven months. Most HCAs graduate and register to start working in less than a year.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward becoming a Health Care Assistant, check out these recognized HCA training programs in British Columbia.

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Preparing & Handling Your HCA Job Interview With Confidence

Preparing & Handling Your HCA Job Interview With Confidence

Preparing & Handling Your HCA Job Interview with Confidence

Preparing for Successful Job Interview

Even the most qualified job seekers feel nervous before a job interview, but the more you prepare, the more at ease you will feel. Nowadays, job seekers may go through a number of interviews: a phone interview, an in-person interview, and sometimes a follow-up interview with a larger group. However, Health Care Assistants are mostly interviewed only once. In this article, we share a few tips with you on how to prepare for your interview and ensure that you make a great first impression on your potential employer.

Do Your Research

In order to ace your interview, you need to do more than demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of the job and what will be required of you. You also need to show that you know the employer. You can do this by researching. Spend time reading their website, paying particular attention to the “About Us” page, current news releases, and any articles written about the employer. If you have any contacts or reliable sources who can give you more in-depth information, make use of them so that you get a larger and more authentic picture. Doing this research is also a good way to come up with a list of genuine and relevant questions to ask at the end of your interview.

Practice Your Answers

It’s essential to practice before the interview so that you have answers ready to go that will resonate with your interviewer. Read the job description carefully and think about the skills, accomplishments, and stories you have that match what they’re looking for in a candidate. This will help you clarify your thoughts and guide you when you’re preparing and practicing your answers. Search online for a list of common interview questions, and also for specific interview questions regarding your position. Practice both so that you aren’t thrown off by classic questions like “Tell me about yourself” or “What are some words your previous employer would use to describe you?” You can practice by yourself or enlist the help of a few friends or family members who will give you honest feedback. Do this until you feel comfortable and confident talking about your experiences and skills, but don’t try to memorize your answers. Being yourself is essential, and responses should feel and sound natural.

Prepare Yourself for the Big Day

On the night before your interview, make sure that you have everything in order, such as printed copies of your resume, references, and other application materials. Load the address of the interview location into your GPS app or Google Maps so that you can plan your journey. Next, choose an appropriate outfit to wear. Pack the notepad you used when preparing for the interview, a few pens, and some emergency items such as a stain stick, a phone charger or backup battery pack, and cash. And don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep so that you are well rested on the big day.

Maintain the Connection

Waiting to hear whether you got the job can be nerve-wracking, so before you leave the interview, ask your interviewer these two important questions:

When will you be making a decision?

Who can I follow up with? When may I do that, and how?

To stand out from the crowd, send a short thank-you email immediately after the interview. Thank the interviewer for meeting with you, say how much you enjoyed learning about the role and the organization, and add something memorable about your skills that will reinforce why you are right for the job.

What’s Next

Now that you understand how to prepare for the job interview, if you’re ready to take the first step toward a career as a Health Care Assistant, publicly funded and private employers for HCA job opportunities.

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How to Be Prepared for Common Interview Questions

How to Be Prepared for Common Interview Questions

How to Be Prepared for Common Interview Questions

You will likely be asked many questions during an interview for a role as an HCA. To improve your chances of landing the job, you should familiarize yourself with most common questions, and prepare and practise well-thought-out and comprehensive answers. Being prepared will also help calm your nerves and make you more confident and self-assured during your interview.

Outlined below are the most common questions that are asked in interviews for HCA positions. Of course, not every possible question is on this list, but you can use it to guide your preparations and give you a sense of the types of questions that might come up on interview day.

Introductory Questions

At the start of an interview, your prospective employer will likely ask you to share some information about yourself, your work experience, your skill sets, and why you applied for the job. Make a good first impression by practising introducing yourself.

Some common introductory questions you can expect:

  • Tell us more about yourself
  • Walk us through your resume
  • Tell me about your experience with this type of work
  • What made you want to become a Health Care Assistant?

Practical Experience Questions

You will be asked questions about your previous work experience and how that has prepared you for this role. Use this opportunity to discuss the kind of clients you have cared for in the past (e.g., older adults living with multiple chronic health challenges; young adults with developmental disabilities) and how you provided them with quality care. You may also be asked about your education and training. If you are an internationally educated health care practitioner, be ready to explain your pathway to registration (e.g., NCAS, transitional education).

Some common practical experience questions you can expect:

  • Do you have experience caring for a client with [insert condition]?
  • Can you give me an example of how you worked as part of a team?
  • What formal training do you have in health care?
  • Do you have first aid/CPR training?

Behavioural Questions

As a Health Care Assistant, you will be working very closely with your clients and their families. Difficult situations can and will come up, and a prospective employer will ask you questions to determine how you’ve handled similar situations in the past and how you might handle them in the future. For example, you may be asked about a time when you had to deal with a family member of a client, or a time in which you had to make a difficult decision.
To prepare for behavioural questions, make a list of real-life situations you feel comfortable discussing during an interview. Choose examples that show you have the characteristics of a good Health Care Assistant, such as patience, empathy, critical-thinking skills, and effective communications skills. Your answers will give your interviewer insight into how you might behave on the job. Remember, never reveal any private information about the persons involved in any situations you choose to discuss.

Some common behavioural questions you can expect:

  • What are some strategies for working with a client who is resisting care?
  • Can you describe a time you went above and beyond for a client?
  • What do you do if you suspect a client is being abused by his or her family members?
  • Tell me about a conflict you had with a client or co-worker. How did you handle it?

Company/Industry Questions

You will not be fully prepared for an interview if you cannot speak about the organization, company, or agency offering the job. Take the time to study the organization: know their mission and values, and be able to talk about why you want to work for them. Read information available to the general public, such as the company website, and talk to any friends, instructors, and acquaintances who may know the employer. Be sure to read up on industry news as well, as you might be asked general questions about the health care field or Health Care Assistants.

Some common company/industry questions you can expect:

  • Why did you select our agency/company/organization?
  • What have you learned about us?

Your Questions for the Employer

Most interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. Be sure to prepare your questions; this shows interest in the company and it helps the conversation flow. Use this opportunity to ask questions that cannot be answered by the job ad.

Some questions to ask the employer:

  • Could you describe the organization’s culture?
  • What are the opportunities for professional growth in the company?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • What are some of the largest challenges for HCAs in this organization?

Health Care Assistants work in different settings—continuing care homes, assisted-living residences, group homes, acute care hospitals—and depending on the setting, you might be interviewed by an agency, a hiring manager, or even the family of the prospective client. The type of questions you are asked might vary based on who interviews you and the nature of your job. For example, if you are being interviewed to work in a client’s home, the questions you are asked might focus on your bedside manner and your character. As you prepare for your interview, think about the nature of the job and use that as a guide.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward becoming a Health Care Assistant, find an HCA job opportunity near you.

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Writing a Quality Resume & Cover Letter

Writing a Quality Resume & Cover Letter

Writing a Quality Resume & Cover Letter

A resume and cover letter are your first introduction to a potential employer. These documents contain all the information an employer requires to decide whether to invite you to an interview for the job. When writing a resume and cover letter, you should summarize your training and experience relevant to the requirements of the position. Your resume and cover letter should also give the reader a picture of who you are as a person, and what characteristics makes you a strong and passionate HCA.

Writing Your Resume

When writing your resume, be sure to include the following main components: personal data (name, contact information, address); career summary; employment experience; education/training/certifications; additional information (e.g., volunteer experience).

Career Summary

Many jobseekers begin their resume with an “objective statement.” A far stronger way to begin your resume is with a career summary: five to seven bullet points stating your most important qualifications (e.g., HCA training; BC Care Aide Registry Number; years/type of experience; certifications; skills). This summary gives the employer an overview of the most important aspects of your application first.

Employment Experience

In the employment experience section of your resume, list all your work experience relevant to role to which you have applied, starting with the most recent. For each position, be sure to include the name of the employer, your job title, and your dates of employment (including month and year).

For each position listed, provide a brief summary of your roles and responsibilities. However, instead of listing all your duties and tasks, such as “assisting clients with activities of daily living,” highlight your accomplishments. Accomplishment statements demonstrate how you have used your strengths, knowledge, resources, or authority to improve a situation, or to benefit your clients, peers, or employer. Such statements demonstrate that you are someone who can get the job done, and they make your resume stand out from other applicants who may have similar experience.

When writing accomplishment statements, consider the following format:

  • Action verb to attract the employer’s attention
  • Background information and actions you took
  • Results achieved, including how you helped make the situation better, and skills demonstrated

Example: “Provided person-centred care to clients with varying needs within a community home support environment.”

Quick Resume Tips  

  • Always ensure your contact information is up to date. Include both an email address and telephone number at which you can easily be reached.
  • Clearly highlight key requirements for the role, such as your BC Care Aide Registry number, in both your resume and cover letter.
  • Do not include personal information such as your age, marital status, social insurance number, or a photo of yourself.
  • Tailor your resume to the job. For example, if you are applying for a role in which you will work with older adults, be sure to highlight if you worked with older adults in a previous role. If you don’t have experience working in a similar setting or with a similar client population, highlight the skills and characteristics you will bring to the role that you think will make you successful.
  • If you find it difficult to decide what to include in your resume, put yourself in your potential employer’s shoes and think about what information will demonstrate you are a good fit for the position.
  • Include keywords from the job description to attract hiring managers and applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Writing Your Cover Letter

Think of the cover letter as a supporting document to your resume. It should expand on your resume, not summarize it, and it should clearly and concisely connect your experience to the position you are applying for. Your cover letter, like your resume, should be tailored to the job. It needs to stand out from the crowd, so use it as an opportunity to demonstrate who you are as a person and as a professional.

Demonstrate You Have Researched the Employer

Your first paragraph should express excitement about the employer and provide some insights about why you have applied for the role. Do your research! Make this section unique to each employer. This paragraph should also include the title of the position you are applying for and the job posting number, if one has been given.

Go Beyond your Resume

In the paragraphs that follow your introduction, provide additional detail of how your qualifications match the position, and the skills and the experiences you have that make you a suitable candidate. Your cover letter should go beyond your resume—emphasize your strengths and provide relevant examples from your work. Use real examples that demonstrate your personal approach and the passion you bring to your work.

In the closing paragraph, reaffirm your interest in the position, include a request for an interview, and thank the employer for their time and consideration.

Both your resume and cover letter should be clear and concise. Try to keep your cover letter to one page and your resume to two pages. Carefully proofread both documents before you submit your application, and submit it in the format requested by the employer. If the employer does not specify a format for submitting your application, combine your cover letter and resume into a single PDF file, which can be easily opened by most software programs.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward becoming a Health Care Assistant, find an HCA job opportunity near you.

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BC Health Authorities Application Process

BC Health Authorities Application Process

BC Health Authorities Application Process

How-To Guide: Application Process

The content below was adapted from a resource developed by the Island Health Human Resources team.

Create a Profile
Search for Positions
Apply for Positions
Important Elements to Getting Your Resume Noticed

Steps:

  1. Go to the Health Authority Website
  2. Go to the Careers page
  3. Go to Public/External Job Postings
  4. Create an Account and Build Your Profile

Create A Profile

Step 1 – Profile Creation/Profile Changes

Most fields are straightforward (name, address, email, etc.) Resume is a mandatory field. It is recommended you include a customized cover letter for each job you apply to. Cut and paste your resume and cover letter into the appropriate boxes. The system generally maintains about 90-95% of your formatting. You can also attach a copy of your resume and cover letter as an attachment (PDF or Word document).

Step 2 – Optional Attachments

You are encouraged to include attachments in your profile to help support your job application, such as applicable certificates and proof that you meet the qualifications listed for any jobs you are applying to (e.g. scans of Health Care Assistant Registration, drivers licence, First Aid, WHMIS, Food Safe Certificate, etc.) You can have multiple attachments on file.

Step 3 – Diversity Information

You may be asked if you self-identify as a First Nations, Metis or Inuit person. If so, the information is primarily collected for statistical purposes to support recruitment. There may be a possibility of requesting the support of an Aboriginal Employment Advisor, who would follow up to assist you in your application, like providing feedback on your cover letter and resume.

Step 4 – Preview

This is your opportunity to review your information prior to submission. Make sure all the information is accurate and documents are attached. Submit your application.

Step 5 – Apply

Go to the How to Apply page or the Contact page if you have any questions

Search for Positions on the Careers Page

1. Do a Job Search

Keyword Search – Use the Keyword Search when looking for a job that has a specific word in it, such as the position title. This works well if you are certain of the job title or know the job posting number. Make sure to use the same terminology as the system to get a full list of positions that match your skills and qualifications.

*Employers may use different terminology when referring to Health Care Assistant positions. Some of the keywords to search for include: Health Care Assistant, Care Aide, Community Health Worker, Community Health Worker II, Long Term Care Attendant, Patient Care Aide, and Patient Services Aide.

Location – You can select/multi-select communities of interest. If you leave the location field blank, the system will search for all jobs across the health authority’s regions. This is a great approach if you are willing to move for the right opportunity!

Category / Occupational Group – If you search in one category and the hiring manager has posted the position under a different category, you may not find applicable jobs of interest. Pay special attention to how Health Care Assistant positions are categorized in the health authority website.

2. Create Job Alerts

If the search filters you used bring up a list of jobs that are a good fit for you, create a job alert so the system automatically emails you every time a new job that matches your search criteria is posted.

Apply for Positions on the Careers Page

1. When You Find A Position Of Interest

Where your qualifications meet the education, work experience and skill requirements, you can apply for the job. Note the posting number and closing date and return to your profile to apply for the position. Update your resume/cover letter for the specific position before submitting your application for this job.

2. If You Want To Apply For More Than One Job

You need to Submit Your Resume for each posting. You may not be able to make changes to your profile after you have submitted your resume.

When you Apply to this Job, the hiring manager will gain access to a snapshot of your resume/cover letter that is in your profile at the time of your application. If you make changes to your resume/cover letter after your submission, the manager of the posting you applied to will most likely not see the changes.

If you withdraw your application from a job posting before the close date, you can reapply before the close date, but any edits to your original application will most likely not be viewable by the hiring manager.

Pay attention to any Additional Information for Applicants section in the job postings, as it often contains special instructions/information regarding the posting.

Health Authorities hire based on the qualifications described in each job posting.  If you do not meet the listed qualifications, it is unlikely you will be shortlisted for an interview.

*If there is an equivalency clause in the qualifications section of the posting (e.g. “or equivalent combination of training, experience, or knowledge”), make it clear in your cover letter why you think your training, knowledge and experience is equivalent to the listed qualifications.

Keep track of your job applications:

The job submission history in your Career Profile keeps track of all the jobs you have applied to and the status of the job (open / closed).

Important Elements to Getting Your Resume Noticed

A quality cover letter and resume are the most effective tools to get shortlisted for an interview.

1. Resume Format

In most instances, it is recommended to use a chronological resume format, where your experience is listed in historical order starting from most recent. A functional resume format, where information is grouped by skills or function, would only be used if you: a) Worked multiple jobs over a short period of time; b) Had 1-2 jobs for many years; c) You are looking to move to a completely different labour sector.

2. Professional Summary / Career Summary

It is recommended that the first section on your resume is not an Objective, as employers generally know that an applicant’s objective is to get the job they applied to. Instead, have the first section be a Career Profile, Career Summary, Career Highlights, Professional Summary or Summary of Qualifications. In this section, include 5-7 bullet points that directly speak to the most important qualifications listed in the job posting, such as BC Care Aide Registry Number, HCA training certificate, education, years of experience, and skills.

3. Employment Experience

This is one of the most critical areas of your resume. It is recommended that instead of listing your job duties in previous positions, such as assisting clients with activities of daily living, you highlight accomplishments. These statements demonstrate how you have used your strengths, knowledge, resources, or authority to improve a situation, to benefit your clients, peers, or employer. This will demonstrate you are someone that can get the job done and makes your resume stand out from other applicants who may have similar experience.

When writing accomplishment statements, consider the following format:

  • Action verb to attract the employer’s attention
  • Background information and actions you took
  • Results achieved, including how you helped make the situation better, skills demonstrated
  • Example: Provided person-centered care to clients with varying needs within a community home support environment.

4. Education

List your education in chronological order, with most recent education appearing first. Include Credential (i.e. degree), Name and Location of School, and Completion date.

5. Important Tips

  • Make sure you clearly highlight key requirements, such as BC Care Aide Registry Number, in both your resume and cover letter, to increase your chances of being shortlisted for an interview.
  • Proofread your resume and cover letter for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Ask someone to read through your application documents before submission.
  • Avoid acronyms and abbreviations (e.g. Health Care Assistant instead of HCA).

References

Employers will only contact referees you have provided. Consider including your references as a separate attachment. Have a list of 3-4 professional references; ideally at least 2 of which are previous managers.

When not to include references at the time of application:

  • When you are presently working and you would prefer your current employer does not know you are looking for another job, wait until after a job interview when you would be asked to provide references.
  • If you think your current employer may say something negative about you. In this instance, when asked to provide references, give your side of the story first so that when the reference is sought there are no surprises. Employers appreciate applicants who are open, honest, and transparent.

As external applicants, people are often hired in Casual positions first. Once hired, employees will be able to view internal job postings that the public cannot see, including regular and temporary full-time and part-time positions across the organization. Some areas see new staff quickly moving into regular and temporary positions.

Characteristics Employers Are Generally Looking for:

  • Caring, compassionate, friendly and respectful
  • Understanding, patient, gentle and non-judgmental
  • Maturity, reliability, availability and dependability
  • Ability to handle stress
  • Strong work ethic
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Strong organization and time-management skills
  • The ability to communicate effectively and get along with people

We thank our partners at Island Health for sharing content adapted to create this resource

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