Tips for Interviewing Potential Caregivers for Elder Care

You have identified your need for a caregiver and now you are ready to find the right one for your situation. Doing a little pre-interview preparation and then asking the right interview questions will help you identify the right candidate to care for your elderly loved one. Here are some tips for interviewing potential caregivers for elder care. 

One important thing to remember is to keep the person receiving the care involved as much as possible. Let them help you prepare for and conduct the interviews if possible. No one wants to be thrown together with someone they don’t feel comfortable with or haven’t previously met.

Preparing for the Interview

Who, What, When, & Where: First decide where and how you would like to hold the interview. Some care seekers may want to conduct the interview in person, by phone, or using Skype. Make sure you are comfortable with how the interview will be conducted. If you are using an unfamiliar technology such as Skype, practice with a friend or family member beforehand. After you have the logistics worked out, let the potential caregivers know where, when, and how you will conduct their interview. If any other individuals will be part of the hiring decision make sure they are present during the potential caregivers’ interviews.

Questions and Answers: Be prepared to answer and ask questions. Think about the information you need to know to hire the best caregiver for your family member, and be prepared to ask those questions. Also be prepared to answer specific questions about the care needs of your senior.

Write your interview questions down. Ask the same questions of all caregivers you interview. Remember you should not ask personal questions of caregivers that do not relate to their ability to care for your senior. Examples include asking about marital status, religion, number of children, etc.

Questions you should consider asking –

• Why do you want to be a caregiver for a senior?
• Tell me about your previous experience providing care to a senior?
• What do you like best about caring for a senior?
• What do you like least about caring for a senior?
• What days and times are you available?
• Do you have reliable transportation (if your senior needs this service)?
• Do you have any restrictions that we need to know of (allergies, days of the week you can’t work, don’t like pets, etc.)
• What rate would you charge for this type of care?
• Why should we hire you to take care of our senior?

Rate and Hours: Think about the range of hourly rates you think would be appropriate for this care.
Be prepared to discuss the schedule of care for your senior loved one and explore each potential caregiver’s ability to meet that schedule. Consider hiring more than one caregiver if you have a difficult schedule to fill.

Don’t forget to think about hiring backup caregivers who will be available should you need occasional help (regular caregiver’s time off, etc.).

Conducting the Interview

Etiquette: Treat all people you meet in the interview with respect and kindness. Make sure everyone involved in the interview gets a chance to participate. Don’t take cell phone calls during an interview. If you carry a cell phone, turn it off during the interview to be sure it doesn’t ring.

Asking Questions: Give the caregiver a chance to answer all questions. Be careful not to interrupt the caregiver as they share their information with you.

Listen very carefully to each answer you are given and ask thoughtful follow up questions if you need more information. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand an answer. It is OK to take a few moments of silence to gather your thoughts before asking a question or answering a question from a caregiver.

Next Steps: Make sure you communicate the next step in the hiring process. Will you send them an email or will you contact them by phone? Know how and when you expect to make the potential caregivers aware of your selection. If you are using, you can use our system to help you follow up on this next step.

Thank the caregiver for his or her time at the close of the interview.

After the Interview

Notes: After the interview, make notes right away so you don’t forget important details about each potential caregiver. Also write down any additional questions you may have. You can then ask the follow up questions via email or phone.

References: Check the references for your preferred candidate(s).

Contact: Reach out via phone or email to communicate with the caregiver(s) you select. Also be sure to contact the caregivers you did not select to let them know that the position has been filled by another candidate. You may also want to reach out to these caregivers for your “back up” network if you think they have potential.