Caregiver Interview Questions

Caregiver Interview Questions: The Opportunities and Pitfalls

Home health care providers play a crucial role in the lives of medically and physically vulnerable adults. It is not surprising that families and businesses hiring home health caregivers ask tough questions to assess a potential caregiver’s professional expertise and their commitment to providing outstanding and compassionate care.

Employers want to ensure they are hiring qualified people who can make a positive impact in the lives of those they are caring for. Asking the right mix of interview questions can filter out the best candidates and keep employee turnover rates low.

But not all questions are created equal. While some are straight-forward, others can be very challenging. Hypothetical cases that ask the interview subject what they would do if something happened give employers a glimpse into the candidate’s experience, decision making, and logic.

Caregiver Interview Questions

It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all way to respond to caregiver questions and answers. Different interviewers are looking for different pieces of information, and all caregiver candidates have various life experiences and personalities.

Rather than trying to guess what the interviewer is looking for, it is important for candidates to authentically communicate their goals, values, and personality. The interviewer wants to make sure that they are hiring someone who is genuinely committed to providing best practice care and ensuring that clients live their best quality of life.

Caregiver interview question

4 Types of Questions to Ask Potential Caregivers

An astute interviewer will ask a variety of well-selected questions to gauge a candidate’s personality, skills, and hiring potential. Here are some common types of questioning encountered during the interview process: [i]

1. Direct Questioning.

As the name suggests, these are straight-forward questions that require a short response. For example, “What is your experience with clients with Parkinson’s?” These questions are easy to answer and provide valuable information to the interviewer about the candidate’s skills and background.

2. Hypothetical Scenarios.

These “what if” questions can tell a lot about the senior care provider. Hypothetical situations will revolve around experiences they may encounter on the job to determine if they have the skills to handle themselves in a professional and compassionate manner. If you are a family member, you can use hypothetical situations based on the specific needs of your elderly family member to see which caregivers might be the best fit.

3. Behavioral Questioning.

These questions center around past experiences because old habits die hard. An interviewer can learn a lot about the potential elderly caregiver by listening carefully to their responses. Rather than focusing on specific skills, these questions reveal the conduct and personality of the caregiver. As an example, the interviewer might ask, “Describe an instance when you encountered a combative client and how you worked to deescalate the situation.”

4. Skills-Based Questioning.

Of course, the interviewer will include plenty of questions to assess the candidate’s current skill level as it relates to the job as well as their readiness to get started. A common question might be something like “What actions would you take if a client was showing signs of a stroke?” This can be done through questioning, pre-employment assessments, and observations within the home care setting.

Caregiver Background Information

An interview will generally start with the interviewer establishing basic facts about the candidate who is being considered for the position. This may include asking about the person’s experience in a similar role, past employment history, and personal questions to get a sense of the applicant’s personality. [ii]

Common background questions may include the following:

  • Describe your past work experiences
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • What is your idea of a nurturing caregiver?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What achievements are you most proud of?Do you have caregiving experience?
  • If you are currently a caregiver, why are you looking to leave your current position?

Knowledge of / Passion for Working with the Elderly

Once the interviewer gets to know a little about the candidate’s background, they will likely begin to assess the caregiver’s knowledge of the elderly population and their passion for the job.

Here are examples of questions that may be asked:

  • What made you decide to become a senior caregiver?
  • What qualities do you possess that help you be an excellent caregiver?
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a caregiver for the elderly?
  • What is the most challenging part?
  • How long have you been caring for elderly individuals?
  • What shifts are you most comfortable working and why?
  • Assessing the Candidate’s Skills

    The interviewer will typically ask several skills-based questions to determine the caregiver’s skill level and ability to perform the job duties. These questions include establishing educational credentials and additional training that they may have in CPR or first aid– basics for any caregiver position. These may include the following:

    • What is your experience in dealing with elderly individuals?
    • Do you enjoy interacting with senior citizens? What do you like best about it?
    • Have you ever been responsible for helping an elderly individual with personal care like grooming, bathing, or dressing?
    • Do you have a clean driving record and auto insurance?
    • Would you be willing to drive an elder to appointments or errands as needed?
    • Do you speak a language other than English?
    • Are you comfortable administering medication or assisting with things like checking blood sugar?
    • Do you have a consistent schedule you can work?
    • Are you trained in first aid? What other training have you undergone? Do you hold any certifications?
    • Are you willing to assist with cooking and housework?
    • Are there any duties you are not comfortable doing?
    • What is your experience with individuals with dementia?
    • Are you comfortable with patient transfers (ex. bed to chair)?
    • Do you have any physical limitations that would prevent you from assisting with lifting or transfers?
    • Introduce hypothetical scenarios based on real-life situations the caregiver is likely to encounter

    Questions Regarding Employment

    Once the interviewer is confident that the caregiver has the personality and skillset needed for the position, they will begin to hammer out the details of employment with questions like these:

    • When can you start?
    • What is your availability?
    • What hourly rate are you expecting?
    • How many hours would you be available each week? What are your preferred shifts?
    • Can you work holidays?
    • What distance are you willing to drive to care for a client?
    • Do you have any allergies or sensitivities that would keep you from caregiving in some homes? (ex. cigarette smoke, cats, etc.)

    Finding the Best Caregiver for the Elderly Loved One in Your Life

    Interviewers understand that being a home health care provider is a challenging career to tackle. During the interview process, they want to find the best candidates who can make a positive difference in the lives of the elderly.