Hiring a caregiver? 12 Questions to ask when.

Granddaughter and Grandmother by the beach

Hiring a caregiver? 12 Questions to ask when.

What are the questions to ask when hiring a Caregiver. Hiring the right Caregiver is a combination of Art and Science, and when these two intersect we can find the perfect fit in terms of personality and competency. The better the fit, the more comfortable our parents will be with accepting someone in their home.

That’s why I use a combination of broad open and closed-ended questions to discover the caregiver’s personality and behavior. Looking to find the specific requirements I have. I am specifically looking for the ideal candidate, a competent caregiver who has a caring, nurturing personality, and finds fulfilment in working with older adults.

When you have created a short list and are ready to proceed with interviewing, be very clear with the candidates that you will be checking references and performing a criminal background check. Let candidates know that in order to proceed to the next step, they need to provide a copy of their Social Insurance Card, driver’s license, home address and contact details, and 3 references – 2 professional and one personal, and a completed resume.

The 12 interview questions for hiring a Caregivers are:

  1. What draws you to the caregiving profession? A good caregiver will have a caring, nurturing personality, and find fulfilment in working with older adults.
  2. Tell me about your work experience in the last years and some of the biggest challenges you encountered. Getting a broad sense of what types of work the person has been doing can give you a good idea of whether she’ll be a good fit for this opportunity. Does her work history show experience in companionship and working with older adults? Does she have experience working without direct supervision? Will she allow you to contact their employers as references?
  3. What type of position are you looking for? After reviewing our job description, is this position what you are looking for? Why do you think we would be a good fit for each other?
  4. Are you certified and do you have first-aid training? Caregiving is a profession and you want to work with someone who is invested in his or her preparation to be a caregiver. Typically you will work with a home health aide, a certified nursing practitioner, or a personal support worker. Their certification should be current and they may also have evidence of continuing education credits.
  5. Will you be comfortable driving my mother’s car if need be, or using your own car to run errands if we request it? Make sure your potential caregiver has a current driver’s license, reliable transportation, and is comfortable driving your loved one to appointments and visits.
  6. Do you have any medical conditions to prevent you from heavy lifting? Would you be capable of transferring someone? Getting someone from a wheelchair to a bed, and helping them dress requires a good knowledge of body mechanics so they do not injure themselves or your loved one.
  7. Tell me about your availability. If we were delayed, go out of town, or go on vacation would you be able and willing to adjust your schedule? It’s best to find someone who can be flexible and accommodate your vacations and holidays.
  8. What type of diagnoses have you cared for? How do you handle people who are angry, stubborn, or fearful? Give an example of a difficult situation you handled, for instance, how did you handle refusing to take a shower? Dementia, loneliness, and loss can bring with it behaviours that require sensitivity and resourcefulness. Your caregiver should be able to describe in detail how s/he has worked with someone who is depressed, forgetful, aggressive, stubborn, or fearful.
  9. Here is a list of expected caregiving related duties-is there anything on the list that poses a problem or that you will find challenging? Your loved one may have needs the caregiver has not had experience with in the past and s/he may require detailed instruction about aspects of the care you wish to receive.
  10. If meal preparation is needed, what kind of food do you cook? Have you had experience cooking for other people? Give me some examples of your favourite dishes you like to cook. If part of your caregiver’s duties is to include cooking, it’s good to get an idea of how she’ll handle the task, and whether your loved one will like the food they enjoy preparing.
  11. I will be completing a criminal background check. Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanour? 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? You should always do a background check on potential caregivers. This is a good way to find out if your caregiver is forthcoming and honest, and if there’s anything in her past that raises a red flag.
  12. Are you willing to provide frequent updates on the phone or computer? You’ll have to communicate with your loved one’s caregiver a lot. Be sure she’s willing and able to keep you in the loop.

When hiring a Caregiver I keep the final and most important question to the end: Do you have any questions for me? This question can alert you to any issues you might not have considered.


Not sure your parents need help? This article will help you determine if your parents can be left alone http://blog.ucarenet.com/10-early-warning-signs-your-parents-may-need-help/

Some additional questions to select from when hiring a Caregiver:

  • Are you comfortable with my (parent/spouse) having guests or other family members stopping by?
  • What are your expectations for vacation time, and are you willing to help find coverage for the days that you need to take off?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • Are you able to work the hours needed?
  • When are you available to start working?
  • How far from here do you live?
  • What time commitments are you willing to make to stay on the job?

Share this post