32 Caregiver Interview Questions to Help You Find the Right Hire
If you’re looking to hire great caregivers who will be long-term employees at your agency, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why building a team of home care aides who will provide exceptional care for clients and become a lasting part of your company starts with asking the right caregiver interview questions.
While a lot of valuable information can be found in a caregiver’s resume, finding great staff is about more than their experience – especially as many agencies are preparing for future home care labor shortages by hiring from outside the industry. Our guide will help you ask caregivers the right job interview questions to feel confident you’re adding the right people to your team.
And in today’s candidate-driven market, it’s essential that you also let caregivers interview you to help them decide between job offers faster and feel more confident about choosing your agency. That’s why we included some common questions home care hiring managers should be prepared to answer.
We asked Dan Bofoya, FirstVisit CEO and Founder, for his insights on the best interview questions for caregivers. Before starting FirstVisit, Dan owned and operated a private duty home care agency that grew over five-fold in both caregivers and clients and has interviewed hundreds of caregivers.
Here are his recommendations for the best interview questions to help you find and hire quality caregivers.
Caregiver Screening Interview Questions
Dan highly recommends that hiring managers at home care agencies conduct a screening interview when possible.
What is a screening interview? These first-stage interviews are usually informal, quick conversations over the phone. They’re an excellent way for managers to quickly verify experience and assess if candidates are a good fit to advance to an in-person or video interview.
1.Tell me about your past work experience
Although you’ve probably already reviewed the candidate’s resume, comparing their verbal answer to what’s on their CV will allow you to spot any inconsistencies.
2. What made you apply for this opening? Are you looking to leave your current role?
A candidate applying for your role doesn’t necessarily mean they’re looking to work for you full-time since many caregivers work for numerous agencies.
3. What do you know about our agency?
This will reveal a candidate’s level of interest in your open role. Perhaps they’re applying for every local caregiver role, but if they’ve taken the time to research your agency further, you can assume they have a higher level of engagement.
4. Do you have any restrictions on your driver’s license or insurance? Do you have access to a vehicle for transportation?
Aside from the densest urban centers, a driver’s license, insurance and a vehicle are must-haves for every caregiver.
5. What languages do you speak?
Caregivers that can speak clients’ native languages are a huge asset. Many agencies find that Spanish-speaking caregivers are in high demand. You may also be able to charge a premium for caregivers that can communicate fluently in other languages such as Cantonese, Hindi or Arabic.
6. What certifications do you have? When does your CPR certification expire?
Your job description should specify the certifications required for the open role. This question will help confirm if the caregiver meets those needs and reveal if they have additional qualifications that could boost your agency’s service offerings.
7. What diagnoses do you have the most experience caring for?
While caregivers are often adaptable to numerous client needs, some will end up in a niche role at their agency as the first choice for dealing with a specific type of support needs, such as recovery from hip surgery or dementia.
8. How soon can you start?
Avoid wasting your time – and theirs – by confirming if your timelines are aligned.
9. How many hours per week are you looking for? What shifts are you available for? Can you work overnight?
Unlike your typical 9 – 5 office job, finding a suitable scheduling fit for your caregiver role can be challenging. Offering an attractive schedule is critical to retaining caregivers, so it’s best to confirm if this is something you can offer right from the start.
Caregiver Skills Interview Questions
Skills-based questions are the most traditional type of interview question. These caregiver interview questions and answers confirm if the candidate can perform the duties and tasks outlined in the job interview and highlight how they would fit into your team overall.
10. Are you proficient with using a computer and smartphone? What programs are you comfortable using?
Technology is critical in modern caregiving – whether it’s clocking in with Electronic Visit Verification, using a caregiver mobile app or logging ADLs. While tech skills are not correlated with caregiving ability, you’ll need to invest a lot more time in training a caregiver who isn’t familiar with these applications.
11. Have you worked with clients who have dementia or Alzheimer’s before?
If you have an open role at your organization, chances are there are a few specific clients you need to consider for staffing visits. Ensure that you’re covered with the right skills and experience your clients need.
12. Do you have any limitations around lifting things or people?
Caregiving requires a level of comfort around heavy lifting, whether it involves bathing clients, helping them in and out of a wheelchair or performing duties around their home. Sometimes you may need to accommodate a caregiver’s physical limitations and it’s critical to know this in advance.
13. Are you familiar with cooking and preparing meals?
While preparing food is undoubtedly an expected part of any caregiver’s job description, uncovering employees with a higher level of interest or passion in meal preparation is a huge plus for most clients and their families.
14. Are you comfortable with pets?
Matching caregivers with clients on personal preferences is one of the trickier parts of home care scheduling. Finding home care aides willing (and maybe even prefer) to work in a home with pets can help your schedulers out of many binds.
15. How has your experience prepared you to be a caregiver?
Many agencies hire home care aides from other industries, such as childcare, housekeeping, retail or hospitality. While these candidates may not have directly relevant experience, they’ll have many other transferrable skills.
Caregiver Behavioural Interview Questions
These interview questions take skills analysis one step further by asking caregivers to describe how they’ve applied their skills in past roles and the outcomes. Their answer will not only verify if they have the right skills but also allow you to learn more about a caregiver’s soft skills rather than only their qualifications and experience.
16. Tell me about a time you dealt with a challenging client. How did you handle it?
Clients can be demanding at times and caregivers need to be able to handle a variety of different dispositions. Depending on their personality and traits, each caregiver will have their own unique methods of handling adverse interactions with clients.
17. Have you experienced conflict with coworkers before? How did you resolve it?
Although caregivers often work independently without much collaboration from coworkers, productive communication with teammates is still critical. Especially when it comes to maintaining a company culture that retains staff.
18. Everyone runs late sometimes. How do you handle your ADLs when you’re pushed for time?
Working in home care requires employees to have intrinsic motivation and manage themselves. Between previous visits running late, heavy traffic or tricky care plans – every caregiver should know how to manage their time at visits.
19. How do you keep client personal health information safe?
Keeping PHI secure is essential to avoid cybersecurity attacks or legal fines – and caregivers play a significant role in keeping your client’s data safe. While security training should be provided to all caregivers, this will give you an idea of how much they already know about best practices.
Caregiver Situational Interview Questions
Situation interview questions give you great insight into how a caregiver would respond to a scenario – and give you a window into their insights, decision-making style and confidence about choosing an answer. While these might sound similar to behavioral questions, the difference is that situational questions are hypothetical whereas behavioral questions are based on past experiences.
20. What would you do if you showed up at a client’s house and they were not home?
You can always expect the unexpected when it comes to home care. How does your candidate stay calm, cool and collected in this unusual situation? How do they notify management? And how do they make the most of their time?
21. How would you adjust your working style if the client’s family was at their house?
Caregivers often work without any supervision – whether directly from a manager or indirectly from the client’s family. While the presence of a family member shouldn’t affect how the candidate delivers care, they may see it that way.
22. If you needed to hire a caregiver for a parent or loved one, how would you select a provider?
This caregiver interview question will give insight into what they think are essential qualities in a caregiver and demonstrate their level of empathy for a client’s family.
23. What would you do if you disagreed with a client’s care plan goals?
Caregivers should typically be consulted when building client care plans, but ultimately care plans are finalized by a manager with nursing experience. The candidate’s answer will tell you how they would address a discrepancy in professional judgment.
Caregiver Cultural Fit Interview Questions
While many of the previous skills, behavioral and situation caregiver interview questions will allow the candidate to describe why they would be a good fit at your agency – cultural interview questions will help you decide if that’s the case. Hiring caregivers that mesh with your agency’s norms, management style and work ethic will help you keep great caregivers longer.
24. What are your career goals?
For many, caregiving is a calling. And for many others, caregiving is a steppingstone. Both are valid career goals and allow you to set up candidates for success with mentoring, training and opportunities.
25. Are you working towards any new certifications or taking a class?
Perhaps your agency has expansion plans that could benefit from a caregiver upskilling through additional qualifications or certificates. This is also a great time to discuss any tuition reimbursement you may offer or internal training opportunities.
26. What is your ideal management style?
A strong fit between employees and managers is a reliable predictor of staff retention. To address caregiver turnover right from the start, hiring managers should learn about their candidate’s preferred management style to ensure it’s something they can provide.
27. What are your top three strengths and weaknesses?
Finding a good cultural fit doesn’t mean that everyone on your team should be the same, but it does mean considering the symbiosis between your caregivers’ qualities.
28. How would your current manager describe you?
This caregiver interview question will give you more detail into how the candidate sees themselves. It often reveals information from recent performance reviews – or allows them to share a special recognition they received.
Common Hiring Manager Questions
The caregiving recruiting landscape has shifted over the last few years. While interviews used to be a one-way question and answer period from the hiring manager to the caregiver, agencies that recruit top caregiving talent structure them as a conversation. Here are some common questions you can expect from caregivers.
29. What is the pay for this role?
Getting this question out of the way early is best to avoid wasting time on interviews if the pay doesn’t match the candidate’s expectations. Be sure to describe the pay frequency (on-demand, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.), how often you give raises and overtime opportunities.
30. What benefits does the agency offer?
The right caregiver compensation benefit package is critical for hiring and retaining the best candidates. You’re likely to be asked about overtime, bonuses, free training and other employee incentives.
31. How much time off do you offer?
This typical caregiver job interview question should cover what types of time off are given (paid vacation, sick days, family leave or unpaid personal days), how quickly it accrues and if you require caregivers to take a certain amount on an annual basis.
32. Why did this role become available?
Candidates are just as concerned about cultural fit as hiring managers are. Caregivers often want to know whether you’re hiring to expand your business, if someone was terminated, if they’ve been promoted to a different role at your agency or if they chose to move on.
Other tips to help you find the right hire
Hiring talented caregivers who will stay at your agency is challenging and competition for great candidates is fierce. To ensure your agency can find and hire the best caregivers, keep these other interview tips in mind:
- Move quickly. Caregivers are often interviewing at multiple agencies. Deciding too slowly can cause you to miss out on great candidates.
- Be consistent. If you’re interviewing several candidates for the same role, try to ask the same questions to different people so you can compare the answers and get a sense of the best fit for the opportunity.
- Have a conversation. Interviews are a two-way street in today’s recruiting landscape. Ensure you spend as much time selling caregivers on working for you as you do asking them questions about themselves.
- Market your agency. Good online marketing isn’t just for acquiring new customers. Candidates will often look up your agency before even applying. If your website doesn’t dedicate real estate to positioning your agency as a great place to work, you’re missing a big opportunity.
Already have a great team in place? We’d love to help you schedule more efficiently. Check out our free caregiver scheduling templates. Or get in touch with an Account Manager to learn how FirstVisit’s easy, affordable software can help you retain them for longer.