At some point, almost every home care agency owner will have the frustrating experience of hiring a candidate who seems great in the interview but performs poorly on the job.
Many times, this can be prevented by asking more thorough questions in the interview. Asking the right questions in a caregiver job interview is one of the most critical steps in your recruitment process. The right questions can help identify great candidates and give you insight into how to help these candidates succeed.
You should think of interview questions as an inverted pyramid—start with general questions that give you an idea of who the candidate is and build into more specific questions that help you understand their skill set and experience, as well as how they would react to different situations.
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To help you get started, we’ve created a list that you can draw from. If you are using this list as a guide for an interview, try asking several questions from each category. This will help you to get a well-rounded view of the candidate.
- In your opinion, tell me what makes you a good caregiver [or why you think you will be a good caregiver].
- What made you choose to apply to be a caregiver?
- What made you apply to work at this agency?
- Tell me about some personal goals or work-related goals you have and what you are doing to accomplish them.
- Share with me a time when you displayed [one of your company’ s values].
- What aspects of a job do you find most likely to wear you down or discourage you?
- Tell me about your best day at work you’ve ever had and what made it so good.
- What do you do to motivate yourself to work hard during times when you feel lacking in motivation?
- What is your proudest achievement outside of work?
- What do you hope to accomplish in this job?
- What three words would you want your epitaph to say?
- Tell me about the last time someone did something kind for you. What made you appreciate it?
- Do you set personal goals for yourself when beginning a new job and if so, can you tell me about some past goals you’ve set and how they went?
- What is the biggest challenge for you when working as a caregiver [or what do you think it will be], and what have you done about it/what are you going to do about it?
- Tell me what makes you most excited about working with seniors.
- What’s the most interesting thing about you that we don’t know from your resume?
- What personal values are most important to you?
- What would your autobiography be titled?
- What do you view as your greatest flaw as an employee and what have you done to improve this?
- What personality trait of yours do you think makes you most valuable to employers?
- If you could choose an animal that represents you as an employee, what animal would it be and why?
Questions About Past Experience
- Tell me about your level of experience working with seniors so far.
- Why did you leave your last job?
- What was the hardest part about leaving your last job?
- How much experience do you have working with clients with [Alzheimer’s or other condition]. What challenges have you experienced while working with these clients and what did you do to overcome these challenges?
- Tell me about a time when you cared for a senior. What part of the experience was most difficult and what was most meaningful to you?
- Tell me about a time when you worked with a difficult client [or difficult customer]. What made it difficult to work with them and what did you do to resolve the issue and help them?
- Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at a past job. What did you do to correct it?
- What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from your past jobs?
- Tell me about a time (at work or in your personal life) when you failed. What would you have done differently?
- What do you hope to do differently at your next job than you’ve done at past jobs?
- Tell me about your favorite past job and what made it so rewarding.
- What is your proudest achievement from a past job?
- Share with me an experience when you had to be reprimanded at work. How did you receive the correction?
- Describe for me how the experience on your resume has helped you build the skills necessary to be a good caregiver.
- Imagine that you’re finding a caregiver for one of your loved ones. What traits or skills would be most important to you for this caregiver to have?
- What do you believe is the most important skill for a caregiver to have? Tell me about a time when you’ve demonstrated this skill, as a caregiver or in another line of work.
- Share an experience with me of a time when you realized you lacked a particular skill required for your job and explain what you did to develop that skill.
- What trait or skill of yours do you think clients will value most?
- What is a work-related skill that you are excited to develop more?
- If you were hiring someone for this position, what are the top three skills or traits that you would look for?
- In what skills area do you feel most qualified to be a caregiver and in what area of skill do you feel the least qualified to be a caregiver?
- If a client of yours refused to [take a shower, eat their meal, go to the bathroom, etc.], how would you deal with the situation?
- How would you handle the situation if a work supervisor reprimanded you and you felt that it was unjustified or unfair?
- Describe for me a circumstance in which you believe it would be justified to be late for work.
- How would you respond to a client who used rude or derogatory language toward you?
- Imagine that you decide you need in-home care for yourself. Describe the kind of caregiver you would want. How well do you think you meet this criteria as a caregiver?
- If we could bring your pet in here right now and ask it for a reference about your personality, what would it say?
- If you were the boss at your company, what trait would be most important to you for your employees to have?
- If you could go back and start over at your last job, what would you do differently?
- Suppose that someone you know came bursting through the door right now, out of breath, and told me that under no circumstances should I hire you. Who is this person and why do they feel that way?
- Suppose that someone you know came bursting through the door right now, out of breath, and told me why I absolutely need to hire you. Who is that person and what would they say?
- If I could get a reference from the last person you talked to when you called customer support for assistance with something, what would they say about you?
- If everyone that we hired had the exact personality, experience, and skill set as you, how do you think that would affect the business as a whole? What kinds of positive or negative effects would we see?
- If I talked to your past employers, what is one negative thing they would say about you?
- If I talked to your past employers, what is one positive thing they would say about you?
- If you are hired here, what will you do on your own initiative to make yourself the best employee you can be?
Questions to Help You Understand Their Needs as an Employee
- Suppose you decided that you wanted your wages to be paid in something other than money. What would it be and why?
- What type of rewards or recognition from your employer best motivate you?
- What are the three factors most likely to persuade you to stay at a job long-term?
- What could your future employers do differently than your past employers to help you be more effective and fulfilled in your job?
- What factor best motivates you to give your all to a job?
- What are the top two or three factors that make a job fulfilling for you?
- If you were to get the job, what kind of training could we provide that would help to make you a better caregiver?
- What could past employers have done differently that would have made you work there longer?
Use Questions to Get the Big Picture
Remember—job interviews are most effective when you ask a variety of questions to get a well-rounded view of the candidate. Don’t be afraid to ask a silly-sounding or off-the-wall question to see the candidate’s personality and sense of humor, but also ensure that you ask plenty of questions about their past experiences.
It’s also important to call their references and ask about their job performance, punctuality, work ethic, and ability to take criticism from supervisors. It’s typically very telling to ask former employers whether or not they would hire the candidate again, given the chance.
For more help, register for the second session of our webinar on May 23rd, “How To Recruit A+ Caregivers That Stay.” In this webinar, our COO, Erik Madsen, will share insights and data on how to more effectively recruit and retain caregivers.
What questions have you found to be useful when interviewing caregivers? Let us know in the comments below!