Finding the right caregiver to care for your loved one is extremely important. And, often times not an easy task. And, if you’re not used to interviewing, it’s easy to make a bad hiring decision. I’ve put together a list of the best interview questions for hiring a caregiver.
In addition, I will teach you how to conduct an interview using behavioral interviewing techniques. Following these guidelines can make the difference between hiring an employee who’s rehearsed versus one who’s actually ready.
First – Prepare for the interview
- Have the candidate complete an application and review thoroughly. You can download an application here.
- Do the applicant’s answers to the questions about seniors suggest patience and compassion for seniors?
- Are all references provided including phone number?
- Do the dates on the job experience section make chronological sense? Are there periods of time not accounted for?
- Did the applicant sign the application?
Next – Establish some rapport
Understand that caregiver candidates are often not experienced in interviewing and will more than likely be nervous. You want them to feel comfortable and respected. Go out of your way to put them at ease and build some rapport. Greet them by their name and introduce yourself with a smile. If they feel comfortable and at ease with you they will share more about their skills and experience.
Get to know the candidate
- Tell me a little about yourself, how long have you lived in this area?
- What are some of your hobbies and interests?
- What kinds of jobs have you had in the past?
- Which one did you like most? Why?
- Which one did you like least? Why?
- What caused you to apply for this Caregiver position?
Find out what they know about working with seniors
- Ask if she/he has worked with seniors before. If so, in what ways?
- What do you like most about working with seniors?
- What do you like least about it?
- What do you think are a senior’s greatest fears and concerns?
- What topics do you think seniors would enjoy talking about?
- Do you think it’s important to help a client maintain as much of his/her daily routine as possible?
- What do you think are the characteristics of a good Caregiver?
- Which of these qualities do you have?
- Which do you think you need to improve on?
Dig deeper using behavioral interviewing
The basic premise behind Behavioral Based Interviewing technique is that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. In other words the best way to predict the behavior of a person in some future situation is to see how he/she had responded to a similar situation in the past.
If you would like more information on behavior based interviewing, there’s an inexpensive book on Amazon that should be your go-to guide.
The bottom line is you want the candidate to give you a “specific example” to the question you ask. What you are looking for in their answer is 3 things:
- What was the situation? (SITUATION)
- How did they handle the situation? (BEHAVIOR)
- What was the outcome? (OUTCOME)
Using this technique will give you an indication of how they handled a past situation and how they are likely to respond in a future situation. Here are some of the top questions to ask.
Behavioral interview questions
- Have you ever lived with or spent time around someone who is aging? Tell me about it. In what ways did you provide companionship to that person?
- Once in a while something unexpected happens. For instance, a senior who usually takes care of her own bathroom needs may have an “accident” and lose bladder control. Of course this would be very embarrassing for the senior. Have you ever cared for someone who experienced this or something like it? What happened? What did you do? How did the senior respond? Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
- Many people think care giving is a thankless job. What rewards have you received or think you will receive from care giving?
- Tell me about a time when you had to provide first aid to a client? What happened?
- Have you ever come across a situation where a patient with dementia tested your patience? Tell me about it and what did you do?
- Describe a time you offered emotional support to a senior. What effect did it have?
- Tell me about a mistake you made while caring for a client.
Go find your ideal caregiver
Using a structured interview approach and behavioral interviewing techniques will improve your chances of hiring the best possible caregiver. Getting this right is critical to ensuring that your loved one is well cared for and that you have peace of mind.
Please leave a comment if you have used other interviewing questions or techniques that have worked well for
2 thoughts on “Interview Questions For Hiring a Caregiver”
What about a first time client? In other words, if someone were to interview for the position of taking care of your loved one and they had never had a client, would the interview process be hampered in any way? Would it just be getting a “feel” for the persons qualities and capabilities? Do red flags go up with no prior references? My mother is 77 and diabetic and i know that i will need to consider this one day.
In my experience the best caregivers are ones who have had some kind of experience caring for someone but not necessarily as a paid caregiver. Many of my most successful caregivers have never had a formal job as a caregiver but they have taken care of a family member or a friend. Or, they have raised children. I would always try to get some references, even if they are not from a “formal” client. Someone who can vouch for their character. Kindness and compassion are oftentimes more important than formal experience. I wrote another article about the top characteristics of great caregivers if you want to take a look at that. The link is below. Thanks. All my best to your mother.