Hiring Caregivers Guide: Senior Caregiver Interview Tips

If hiring a senior caregiver on your own, use the following interview questions to narrow down the candidates. You will want to first screen your applicants over the phone, then meet in person (likely a public meeting place). If things feel like a good fit, you will want to introduce the potential provider to your parent.

      1. Do you have a driver's license and clean driving record? Do you have reliable transportation and insurance? How far from here do you live?
      2. What are your responsibilities outside of work?  Do you have to account for the schedules or needs of others in your workday, or are you flexible?
      3. Will you be working other jobs that might be affected if I'm delayed getting home?  Would you be available for respite care, or to stay over for a long weekend?
      4. Do you smoke? (Many people say they don't smoke but they do-offer an outside smoking area and insist it be used).
      5. What caregiving certification training do you have, if any? Do you have any CPR or first-aid training? If I pay for it, would you be willing to add to your skills? 
      6. Here is a list of expected caregiving related duties-is there anything on the list that poses a problem or concern? Are you comfortable with pets? Are you comfortable with my (parent/spouse) having guests or other family members stopping by?
      7. Are you able to work the hours needed?  When are you available to start working? After a 30-day trial period, would you be willing to commit to a (fill in a time frame/6 months, a year is common) long-term?
      8. Have you ever cared for someone with (conditions relatable to your loved one's care: memory problems, elderly, wheelchair bound, etc.) before? If so, please elaborate.
      9. Are you willing to sign a contract stating you will not accept money or gifts from my (parent/grandparent/spouse, etc) without clearing it with me?
      10. Are you willing to sign that you will not have guests come into our home unless I have given prior approval?
      11. Will you be comfortable driving my mother's car if need be, or using your own car to run errands if we request it?
      12. What are your expectations for vacation time, and are you willing to help find coverage for the days that you need to take off?
      13. Are you willing to submit to a background check? Note: If you use Care.com to find candidates, you can request free, unlimited standard background checks (with Premium Membership). You can also choose enhanced background checks for $59 each.

Don't forget to look for certain traits in caregivers too.  Read our article 6 Traits Every Caregiver Should Have to help you narrow your search!

Create scenarios:

Ask the prospective caregiver how they would handle various care issues that might arise and are similar to your situation.

        • How would you handle it if my mother wakes up grumpy and doesn't want to get dressed or eat her breakfast-but she has a doctor's appointment later that morning?

        • If my father is running a fever and is acting lethargic and you think there's blood in her urine, what would you do?   If I'm out of town and can't be reached, what would you do then?

      • My aunt falls, seems confused, doesn't recognize you and won't let you help her. She's combative, what do you do?

Once you have hired someone and have all of the documentation and paperwork squared away, it helps to have a plan for the first week to ensure a smooth transition.

>>Review the Senior Care Index for all senior care options.

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Comments (2)
Florine Prokop
Good article , I learned a lot from the insight - Does someone know if my assistant might be able to acquire a sample DA 2166-8 document to fill out ?
Posted: July 15, 2016 at 10:49 PM
Photo of Sintia R.
Sintia R.
My objective is to obtain a position for a full time caregiver, where I can utilize my skills and lengthy expertise in this type of setting. I worked as a Dietary aide, Nursing Assistant for Senior Citizens and Special Needs of Disabilities for 12 yrs. at a Nursing Home.
Posted: June 05, 2015 at 9:58 PM
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