Questions to Ask a Caregiver Before Hiring

Hiring the right caregiver for your home care agency can be quite challenging. Mistakenly hiring a candidate who ends up performing the job poorly can negatively impact your agency’s reputation. If you are an agency owner, you need to really be careful when hiring caregivers. One best way of spotting a good candidate is during the interview process. More importantly, you need to prepare the right questions to ask a caregiver during the interview.

Conducting an interview is not enough. Even with an interview, you might still end up hiring the wrong candidate. The interview process is a crucial step in recruiting a caregiver. Hence, it is important that you ask the right questions. Your questions need to be more thorough and inquisitive so you can acquire insights on what kind of caregiver the candidate is.

Think of this way. If you ask the right interview questions for a caregiver, chances are, you will get the right candidate. When interviewing, you need to start asking general questions first before delving into more specific and candidate-oriented questions. That way, you will first get an overall idea of what kind of caregiver is the candidate. You then get to know them by looking into their experience and skills. Finish up with asking hypothetical and situational questions so that you would know how they would react when confronted with certain problems and situations.

To give you an idea of what to ask during the interview, we have created a list of caregiver interview questions. You can use these questions as a guide. We have arranged them in several categories. Feel free to use several questions from each and modify as needed. Hopefully, by using these questions, you will get the right caregiver for your agency.

General Questions to Ask a Caregiver

  1. Can you give us your full name, address, and contact number?
  2. When is the best time to call you?
  3. What qualities do you have that make you a great caregiver?
  4. Why are you applying as a caregiver?
  5. Why did you choose to apply to work at our agency?
  6. Do you like working with seniors? What makes you excited about working with them?
  7. If we hire you, what do you wish to accomplish as a caregiver in our agency?
  8. What traits do you have that make you valuable to us?
  9. What do you think is the biggest challenge of working as a caregiver? How are you going to overcome this challenge?
  10. What is your greatest flaw as a caregiver and as an employee in general? What have you done or what will you do to improve this?
  11. What are your work-related and personal goals? How are you planning to accomplish them?
  12. What aspects of work will most likely discourage you or wear you out?
  13. What makes you feel good when working? Tell us about what your best day at work is like.
  14. Share with us an experience where you display your company’s values.
  15. How do you motivate yourself to work hard, especially during hard times?
  16. When you begin a new job, do you set some goals for yourself? If yes, what are they?
  17. Can you tell as an interesting thing about you which you didn’t include in your resume?
  18. What are the personal values you uphold?
  19. Outside of work, what do you think is your proudest achievement?
  20. Where do you live and how far is it from this office? Do you drive? If yes, do you have a driver’s license and insurance?
  21. Will you allow us to conduct a background check on you?
  22. Do you smoke?
  23. What animal do you think best represents the kind of employee you are?
  24. If you are going to write an autobiography, what will be the title?
  25. If you are to use three words to write on your epitaph, what words are these?

Questions Related to the Candidate’s Past Experience

  1. What is your level of experience with caring for seniors?
  2. In your past experiences, what was the most meaningful and what was the most challenging part in caring for a senior?
  3. Did you experience working with a difficult senior or client? If yes, what made it so difficult and what did you do to overcome the challenge?
  4. Did you undergo formal caregiving training? Have you had first-aid and CPR training?
  5. What diagnoses and conditions have you cared for?
  6. Did you care for a client with Alzheimer’s or other similar conditions? What were the challenges you encountered when you worked with these clients and how did you overcome them?
  7. What was your reason for leaving your last job? Did you find it hard to leave your previous job? IF yes, what was the hardest part of it?
  8. What is your favorite past job? Tell us why.
  9. What achievement from your past job are your proudest at?
  10. What mistakes did you commit in your previous job? How did you correct it?
  11. What are the things you have learned from your previous jobs?
  12. Tell us about a time you failed, whether in your personal life or at work. If given a chance, what would you do differently to prevent such failure?
  13. Tell us an experience when you were reprimanded at your previous job. How did you react when you were reprimanded?
  14. How do you hand fearful, stubborn, and angry people?
  15. What do you wish to do differently at this job?

Skills-Based Questions to Ask Caregivers

  1. How did your experiences help you build your skills as a caregiver?
  2. What do you think is the most important skill that a caregiver should have? Describe to us how you demonstrated such skill in your previous job.
  3. What skills do you have that made you think you are most qualified as a caregiver? What skills do you lack that make you least qualified?
  4. If you are to hire a caregiver for your loved ones, what skills and trails will you look for?
  5. If you are to hire someone for this position, what skills and traits will you look for? Give us your top three skills and traits.
  6. Tell us about a time when you lacked a particular skill in performing the job required. How did you develop such skill afterwards?
  7. What skills would you like to develop more and improve on?
  8. What skills and traits do you have that you think clients will most likely value?
  9. Are you aware of the duties required for the position we are looking for? Can you perform such duties?

Questions Relating to Hypothetical Scenarios

  1. If your client refuses to go to the bathroom, or eat a meal, or take a shower, how would you go about it?
  2. If your supervisor reprimanded you, but you believe that it was uncalled for and unjustified, how would you react? How would you handle it?
  3. If the client uses derogatory language or is rude at you, how would you respond?
  4. Are you willing to adjust your schedule when we require you to?
  5. What do you think is a justifiable reason for being late for work?
  6. If the client requires meal preparation, what food can you cook? Do you have experience with cooking for clients or other people?
  7. If the client needs to be transferred from a wheelchair to a bed or into a car, will you be able to do it? Can you do heavy lifting when required?
  8. If you are the employer, what traits would you be looking for in an employee.
  9. If you are the client in need of an in-home care, what kind of caregiver would you want to take care of you? Do you meet this criteria?
  10. If you are given the chance to work again in your previous job, what things would you do differently?
  11. If there is a person who would tell us that we must never hire you, who is this person? Why do you think that person would discourage us from hiring you?
  12. If there is a person who would tell us that we should hire you, who is this person? What do you think that person will say?
  13. If you have a pet and your pet can talk, what would it say if we ask for a reference regarding your personality?
  14. If we are going to ask for a reference from the last person you interacted with, what do you think that person would say about you?
  15. If all the caregivers we hire for our agency have the exact skill set, experience, and personality as you, what positive and negative effects would that have in our business?
  16. If we ask your previous employers, what negative thing would they say about you?
  17. If we ask your previous employers, what positive thing would they say about you?
  18. If we hire you right here, right now, what will you do to make yourself the best caregiver you can be?

Questions to Ask Caregivers to Understand Their Needs

  1. If you want to be paid something other than actual money, what would it be? Why?
  2. What positive are you really looking for? Upon reviewing the job description, do you think this is still the position that you are looking for?
  3. Are there anything included in the job description you are not comfortable performing?
  4. What motivates you as an employee in terms of recognition and rewards from your employer?
  5. What other things best motivate you to do great at your job?
  6. What factors make a job fulfilling? Name three.
  7. If you are to name three things that will persuade you to stay long-term at a job, what would these be?
  8. What do you want your future employers to do differently than your previous employers to motivate you and help you be more fulfilled and effective at your job?
  9. If there are things that you wish your past employers had done differently that could have made you stay there longer, what would these be?
  10. Tell us how you feel about disabled person, a client with memory problems, or an elderly.
  11. What things will you do to keep your client’s family informed?
  12. Do you use a computer? Do you keep daily records of your work?
  13. If we are to hire you, what training do you want us to provide you in order to make you better at your job?
  14. Will you be able to work the hours required for the job?
  15. How committed are you at this job? What time can you commit to this job?
  16. When can you start working?

You don’t have to use all the above-mentioned questions to ask a caregiver. Feel free to modify them and add similar questions. Just remember to keep your questions varied so that you will get well-rounded answers. Some questions may be silly-sounding; but these questions are necessary in order for you to fully assess the candidate’s personality. Make sure to ask more questions regarding their past experience.

During the interview, do not forget to take down notes. There may be plenty of candidates and you will not be able to remember all their answers if you are not taking notes. Before hiring the final applicants, always verify their references. Do not just simply rely on what is written on the references. Call their references and ask them yourself regarding the applicant’s work ethic, job performance, skills, personality, and other relevant information. Also ask former employers if, when given the chance, would they be willing to work with the candidate again.

While you need to be as thorough as possible, do not take too long before making the offer. Most likely, the applicants are also applying in other agencies. You may lose great caregivers to another home care agency if you’re taking too long. Once you have fully assessed the candidate, it’s time to make the offer. Then set a date for the signing of the contract and start of work. Make sure that you and the caregiver each has a copy of the signed contract.

Never underestimate the importance of an interview in the hiring process. Ask the right questions and find the best caregiver for your agency.

Mike Miller

Mike Miller

Mike Miller is the CEO and Founder of At Home Care Service, a Home Care agency located in San Diego, California. Senior Caring Solutions was the previous name of the business. He has been involved with senior care for over 15 years. Mike knows the ins and outs of the home care industry, and he is a great resource for people looking for elderly care services. Mike is well-known in California as an expert in the industry.


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