The Senior Care Job Guide: The Senior Care Job Interview

How to interview for an elder care job

You're moving ahead in your job search, having pinpointed the kind of job you want, determined that you'd like to work directly for an individual or family, and have figured out how much to charge. Now it's time to prepare for a job interview.

It might help to try to put yourself in the mindset of the person who will be interviewing you and think about the characteristics she will be looking for.

Most likely, she wants someone who:

  • is trustworthy, reliable, and compassionate. After all, seniors needing care are vulnerable and may have movement or memory limitations.
  • is competent, experienced, and will do a good job. A proven track record would be helpful.
  • enjoys doing this kind of work. A positive attitude can help the senior and the person responsible for her care to feel comfortable with the caregiver.

To decide whether you have the desired qualities, the employer will most likely ask questions about:

  • your previous clients
  • what your responsibilities were
  • why you left those positions
  • What you liked and didn't like about the jobs
  • what your strengths and weaknesses are
  • your references -- hopefully you can offer the names and contact information of three former clients who will say you were a terrific and trustworthy employee

In order to find out if you would like the job, you will probably want to speak in person with both the elder you will care for and the person who will oversee your employment.

You can ask:

  • what the particular needs of the senior are
  • if the elder prefers a specific personality style, what her likes and dislikes are, how she enjoys spending her time
  • what the senior's experience has been with previous caregivers -- if there were any problems, how long they lasted, and why they left
  • exactly what you will be expected to do and on what schedule
  • any special precautions you will need to take with the elder

After the interview, you will want to think about whether or not you will be comfortable with:

  • the employer
  • the elder
  • the working conditions
  • the particular responsibilities you'll have

Finally, here are two legal issues to consider:

  • taxes If you work for an individual who pays you more than $1600 in a calendar year, that person is legally obligated to report your salary to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and should withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes.  Make sure you are on the same page with the employer about how tax reporting is going to be handled.
  • Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Employers are required to fill out a form that verifies that you are legally entitled to work in the United States.

Once you have had an interview followed by a job offer for a position you want, the next step is to create a working situation that will offer you job satisfaction and success.

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Comments (7)
Photo of Lynne K.
Lynne K.
A tip worth the mention, I'm sure:
When asked about your previous employer's. Speak highly of the establishment, and the people you worked for and with.
And if the job didn't work out, still speak on a good note and not a bad one. It makes you appear to be "a better fit", than the other guy, and a person who won't bad mouth your business or your valued employees, whether it works out or not. A great attitude is so much better than a resentful one. This I know.
Posted: August 18, 2015 at 1:55 PM
Photo of Linda F.
Linda F.
Compassionate careing caregiver
Posted: August 03, 2015 at 8:26 AM
Photo of Veta N.
Veta N.
Great suggestions from Kathy T and Donna S. I will keep these things in mind when I do my next interview.
Posted: January 06, 2015 at 1:00 AM
Anna Powell
The only one thing I did not like in my previous job was picking up the patient, brcause she fell a great deal.
Posted: December 23, 2014 at 2:35 PM
Photo of Donna S.
Donna S.
If it is for an individua/company. l I would wear street clothes and comfortable shoes. I would present a neat and clean apperance. I would bring my resume with references and a list of questions to ask the potential employer. Be confident in answering and asking questions. Good luck.
Posted: July 21, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Photo of Lisa D.
Lisa D.
what do you wear for a senior care interview
Posted: August 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Photo of Kathy T.
Kathy T.
Good Conversational topics to include are cooking, it excites the senses and gives care-giver an idea of what is expected for them to cook. Hobbies of Seniors may include playing cards or tv shows and chatting. Always offer passive range of motion exercises in order to maintain mobility in hands, feet, legs and arms.
Kathy T.
Posted: February 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM
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