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How to Interview and Hire a Caregiver for Seniors

To hire in-home caregivers for the elderly, thorough and effective interviews are essential

When it comes to hiring a caregiver for your older adult, conducting a thorough and effective interview is essential. Janelle Leavell from CareVine shares 8 steps that help you navigate the process of interviewing a caregiver, from preparing beforehand to evaluating candidates after the interview.

Many people find themselves in need of a compassionate, experienced, and reliable caregiver for their loved ones.

When it comes to hiring a caregiver for private care, conducting a thorough and effective interview is essential.

It can be an involved process, but it is necessary to ensure the safety, comfort, and happiness of your older adult.

By adequately preparing, asking the important questions, and carefully evaluating each candidate, you can find a great caregiver to support your loved one.

This guide has 8 steps that help you navigate the process of interviewing a caregiver, from preparing beforehand to evaluating candidates after the interview.


1. Understand the care needs

Before diving into the interview process, take some time to consider your older adult’s specific needs.

Make a list of the services and tasks you expect the caregiver to perform, such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication management, and companionship.

Determine any special skills or certifications that are important, such as dementia care or mobility assistance.

2. Make a list of interview questions

Develop a set of interview questions that cover a range of topics, including the caregiver’s experience, qualifications, and personal traits.

Some questions to consider asking include:

  1. Can you provide references from past clients or employers?

  2. What caregiving certifications or training do you have?

  3. What types of care have you provided to your previous clients?

  4. How have you handled emergencies or difficult situations?

  5. How do you ensure the safety and well-being of your clients?

  6. What is your approach to providing companionship and emotional support?

  7. What do you consider as your caregiving weaknesses and strengths?

Use these questions as a starting point. Tailor your questions to suit your loved one’s specific care needs, personality, and preferences.

3. Ask scenario based questions

Develop scenarios that are relevant to your loved one. During the interview, ask how they would handle the situation.

Some examples of questions you might ask include:

  1. The person you’re caring for has a fall. What would you do?

  2. The person you’re caring for is upset with you. How would you handle the situation?

  3. The person you’re caring for is exhibiting unusual symptoms, such as confusion, weakness, significant pain, swelling, etc. What would you do and who would you contact?

  4. The person you’re caring for is trying to do things without help, but this isn’t safe. How would you handle this?


4. Conduct thorough background checks

A caregiver will have a significant impact on the life of your older adult, so it’s crucial to ensure they have a clean background.

Conduct a thorough background check, including checking references from past employers or clients, validity of professional licenses, criminal records, abuse registries, driving records.

This will help ensure the safety and security of your loved one.

5. Evaluate communication skills

Effective communication is crucial in caregiving because the caregiver will need to understand your loved one’s needs, preferences, and any concerns.

During the interview, pay attention to how the candidate communicates.

Are they patient, clear, and empathetic? Do they listen actively and ask thoughtful questions?

Evaluating these skills will help ensure a successful caregiving relationship.

6. Assess personality fit

Compatibility between the caregiver and your loved one is essential for a positive caregiving experience.

During the interview, consider whether the candidate’s personality and approach to caregiving align with your older adult’s preferences and values.

For example, assess whether they are a bubbly, high energy person or a quieter, more gentle individual and which would better fit your loved one’s needs.

Ask about their personal caregiving philosophy, hobbies, and interests to help gauge compatibility.

7. Discuss compensation and scheduling

It’s essential to discuss compensation and scheduling expectations upfront.

Be transparent about your budget, and ask the caregiver about their desired salary or hourly rate.

Discuss any scheduling requirements, such as overnight shifts or weekends, to ensure the candidate is comfortable with the proposed arrangement.

8. Post-interview evaluation

After each interview, take some time to evaluate the candidate. Consider their qualifications, experience, communication skills, and personality fit.

If possible, discuss with your loved one and listen to their thoughts and preferences.

Take your time in making a decision because finding the right caregiver is crucial for your loved one’s well-being and your peace of mind.

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Guest contributor: As a former home health physical therapist, Janelle Leavell would often see seniors who could no longer safely stay in their homes without assistance but still desired to live in a home-like environment. As a solution to this, she opened her first senior care home in Salem, OR in 2008 and has since opened multiple others. In addition to operating the care homes, Janelle is now focused on building CareVine, a platform for seniors to connect with private caregivers, giving them the opportunity to continue to live in their homes while also getting the assistance that fits their specific needs.

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


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