SNA Interview Questions

A job interview can be an intimidating experience. An interview for the role of an SNA at a school is no different. It is, therefore, advisable to be prepared well in advance. To make the process a little smoother for you, we have collected all the possible SNA interview questions that candidates have been asked previously and briefly discussed them.

 

Introductory SNA Interview Questions

Tell us about your career to date.

Give as much relevant information as possible.

What skills do you have which will enhance the classroom?

Good communication skills, approachable, creative, positive attitude

What specific qualifications do you have?

I am qualified in Special Needs Assisting QQI Level 6 (add in other qualifications).

What are your personal interests and hobbies? How might these help in your work as an SNA?

Answer accordingly.

 

SNA Specific Questions

How do you see the role of the SNA?

The role of the SNA is to assist the child/children in daily tasks including yard duty school tours / out of school trips, toileting and hygiene under the instructions of the teacher and/or principal. 

What will the role of the teacher be in relation to your duties?

The teacher is there to outline the SNAs duties.

What do you believe your role would be on a daily basis? 

Make sure you are fully familiar with and can talk about the following document published on the Department of Education and Skills website. https://assets.gov.ie/13324/62fdf3b19c674eab80fd98468a00290a.pdf 

What do you see as the most important issue in relation to the child/children?

The well-being as well as the safety of the child at all times. 

Do you have any prior experience in working with children/children with disabilities?

Answer in accordance with your experience. 

What do you see as your primary responsibility?

The child/children are the primary responsibility.

What do you see as the line of authority for the SNA?

Principal, Vice principal, Teacher.

What is your understanding of who is responsible for assigning work to SNA?/supervising work of SNA

My understanding is that the teacher, resource teacher, vice principal and/or principal are responsible for assigning and supervising work.  

Why do you find Special Education an area that you want to work in?

Answer accordingly. 

Situational Questions

Working in Special Education can involve dealing with meltdowns and particularly upsetting or confrontational situations. How do you deal with a crisis or volatile episode? 

The school should have published a behavioural policy which outlines the appropriate code of conduct.

Which health & safety needs of a student do you feel you must be aware of? 

Firstly, ensuring the student’s safety and of those with whom the student is in contact with, particularly if the student has epilepsy or seizures. Being aware of and avoiding any  destructive or self injurious behaviour is another key point. Reinforcing excellent behaviour on the student’s part and serving as a positive role model for the student is also crucial. And lastly, assisting to record information on student behaviour and behavioural development.

While teachers participate in curriculum training days, SNAs are required to be present in school, even though no students are present. How best would you use this time in such a way as would most benefit the pupils, class and school? 

Refer to Appendix 1 in this document published by the Department of Education and Skills. https://circulars.gov.ie/pdf/circular/education/2011/71.pdf 

Any child needs to be part of a group. What could the SNA do to ensure this?

Encourage the child/children to join a group. Encourage other children to invite the child/children into the group. Monitor the situation. 

You will need to work with other children in the group, how will you manage this?

I would treat the other children with respect and encourage them to engage in their work. I’d also assist them, if needed.

If you have a question about the care of the child where will you get the information?

I will ask the teacher for any relevant information that I might need. If required, I will ask the teacher to arrange a meeting with the parents for any additional information needed.

If the child with special needs does not need your attention, what are the skills you could use in the classroom?

I could work with the other children in the class under the instruction of the teacher. Additionally, I could also assist the teacher in any duties relating to the class or classroom.  

If a parent engages you in conversation in relation to a child or teacher, how would you handle this situation?

I’d explain in a professional and formal manner that I am not in a position to speak about the subject and would refer them to either a teacher or the management.

You are in the playground and see another pupil misbehaving – what do you do?

I would inform the teacher in the yard of what I saw and ask them to deal with the situation. 

How would you handle a situation where you met a parent or a grandparent of a student out and about in your personal time? How would you maintain confidentiality?

Explain that the school policy prohibits to speak about the students. Furthermore, always keep the conversation formal and to the point. 

You are working with a specific child and have formed opinions on how the child can best be helped. What do you do?

Approach the teacher with your ideas and ask if it would be possible to discuss them in privacy. 

If you have a disagreement with a colleague, how will you solve this?

By speaking to the colleague in private and discuss the disagreement in a civilised and professional manner.

How will you relate to parents?

In a formal professional manner.

Duties & Responsibilities Questions

An SNA may have an expectation of their duties/responsibilities – how flexible are you to meet a particular situation or unexpected need from a student?

Respond accordingly.

Are you willing to take courses or undertake reading in relation to the role?

Yes, I am very willing and open to undertake courses or reading in relation to the role. I have already researched courses in …. (have a course/courses in mind) and the book …. (have a title relevant to the role) is something I’m interested in reading.

You may be required to spend 12 days in the school when the school is closed to carry out assigned duties.  How will you arrange these duties with the Principal?

I would arrange these duties with the principal at the beginning of the school year so that the dates and duties are laid out clearly in order to avoid any confusion. 

If you have issues or questions, how will you address these?

I would approach the teacher first with any issues or questions I may have. If I need to progress further I would approach the vice principal or the principal with issues or questions.

How would you handle conflict?

I would handle conflict in a private and professional manner while following guidelines set out by the department of education and school policy. 

What support do you need for this position?

The support of the whole school including parents.

Have you any idea as to how you might keep a record of your work?

I’ll keep a record of work in a day to day diary which a member of authority can obtain on request.  

Your duties will include toileting and physical care of a child at some stage in your employment.  How will you carry out these duties?

I will carry out these duties to the highest standard following any directions the teacher may have and the guidelines set out by the DOE.

What could be the issues in relation to toileting?

The child may feel uncomfortable with me assisting with toileting.

What would you suggest to overcome these problems?

I would try and make the child as comfortable as possible while respecting their dignity and independence. 

What is your understanding of confidentiality?

Confidentiality is extremely important. No matters should be discussed unless it is with a designated person in private. All relevant documentation relating to the child/children must be kept confidential and only disclosed to relevant parties. 

To whom are you ultimately responsible?

The child

On a day to day basis, how do you see yourself carrying out work in the classroom and playground

I would follow the instructions given to the best of my ability as well as remain professional at all times. 

What type of work relationship should SNA have with child/class teacher/principal/other staff members/parent of child

Friendly yet professional relationship

Is there any clarification needed on the Duties & Conditions (applicants should have received a copy)?  Examples of difficulties could be shifts before and after school & extra days either before or end of term.

I have read and understand all the duties and conditions in relation to the post.

What is your understanding of appropriate dress in the context of a school?

To dress appropriately at all times. 

 

Concluding Questions

What are your strengths?

Talk about relevant skills.

What are the anxieties you may have about the position?

 Discuss any concerns regarding the job.    

Can you offer any future plans for courses and, if so, outline how these might help in work as SNA?

I plan to continue upskilling in the area of special needs. Additionally, I have also looked at courses in relation to this area (add in courses you are interested in). I feel these courses would certainly help me grow and improve as an SNA. 

Why should you be given this position over the other candidates?

Answer accordingly.

What are the difficulties which could arise for you in this position?

Mention any uncertainties that you may have regarding the position.

Any questions in relation to the school? The role? 

Always ask a question to show interest in the role.

 

An SNA interview tests your interest and understanding of the job. Once you have familiarised yourself with these questions, you’ll definitely start feeling more confident. If you want to learn more about the role of an SNA, go through our blog on how to become an SNA here: https://forustraining.ie/latest-news/how-do-i-become-an-sna/

Good luck!