Home care aides had some of the highest turnover rates in the healthcare field in 2020, coming in at about 36%, according to Home Health Care News. Rehiring and searching for applicants can quickly drain resources. However, by asking the right interview questions, you could spot better candidates, reduce turnover, and retain great caregivers longer.
To help you screen applicants and find the best people for the job, we’ve gathered some of the best interview questions for caregivers. Candidates should be prepared to answer various questions to address the job, and demonstrate their commitment should they be hired. Below we include several types of questions in various categories to help you discern the right person for the role.
Interview Questions to Uncover Relevant Past Experiences
Some candidates will have extensive caregiver experience, while others may be applying from another field. Regardless of their background, it’s critical to assess candidates carefully.
1. How do your skills relate to this job?
A candidate who doesn’t have direct experience as a home health care worker should articulate how their experience in other positions relate to caregiving. Candidates may be coming from a childcare or an educational background, which might include plenty of overlapping experiences, while other fields may not.
2. What was the hardest or easiest part about leaving your last position?
Make sure your candidates aren’t looking for a new role because of a poor performance at a previous job. Applicants should be able to talk about positive experiences from their previous roles that were hard to walk away from. However, not all candidates will have positive prior experiences; if this is the case, make sure they can explain why.
3. What makes you a good caregiver?
The best caregiver interview questions will ask for examples of multiple qualities, but most of all, candidates need to have compassion for the people they’re looking after. Attention to detail is also imperative when administering medications or feeding those with special dietary requirements.
4. What is your biggest struggle when caring for seniors, or what do you think it will be, and how do you, or would you overcome that?
Caregivers run into an array of challenges. Whether someone doesn’t want to eat, sleep, or take their medication, there are often daily struggles in a care home. A good candidate will provide examples of challenges they’ve successfully navigated.
5. What are your proudest achievements professionally and personally?
While the answer to this question may vary widely, keep in mind that a great candidate will have a few achievements they’re proud of, and they may not necessarily be technical accomplishments like gaining certifications. Many will remember the personal connections they’ve made or their ability to persevere through stressful conditions.
Additional experienced-based interview questions:
6. What types of diagnoses have you cared for?
7. What type of disabilities have you cared for in the past?
8. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your past jobs that has stuck with you?
Interview Questions to Discern Caregiver Skill Level
Technical skills are critical when looking after the elderly or individuals with special needs. Ask the best caregiver interview questions to find the right candidate.
9. What experience do you have working with clients with Alzheimer’s? Dementia? Chronic illnesses?
Managing clients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, physical or mental disabilities, or other chronic illnesses can be challenging. It’s essential to discern whether someone is capable of handling the circumstances that come with a caregiver role. Positive mindsets are key, along with specialized skill sets or training to manage these conditions.
10. Are you certified to perform CPR?
Candidates need to be CPR certified. Otherwise, they need to be willing to get certified before being hired.
11. Do you have a driver’s license? Do you have reliable transportation and insurance? How far can you drive to tend to clients?
Holding a caregiving job requires reliable transportation. Further, caregiving sometimes involves driving clients to doctor appointments. Determine whether a candidate will be able to perform these tasks.
12. What specialized certifications do you have/would you like to pursue?
Allow your applicants to explain their various qualifications and experiences, as well as what certifications they’re hoping to obtain in the future. Asking this question provides insight into a person’s ambition and commitment to their profession.
Additional skills-based interview questions:
13. How do you manage or approach challenging family members of clients?
14. What skills do you have that you believe help you stand out from other caregivers?
15. Share with me a time when you realized you were lacking a certain skill. How did you go about developing it later on?
16. Have you performed first aid or CPR to a client? What happened?
Behavioral Interview Questions for Caregivers
Some people may be better suited to the job over others due to natural personality traits and behavior. Make sure they don’t just have the technical skills but are a natural fit.
17. How do you summon patience when you’re feeling frustrated?
Some days will include challenging situations. Fantastic candidates might be able to recall a case where they kept in mind the challenges their client was facing in order to reinvigorate their patience and compassion.
18. Describe a time when you faced a challenging client and how you resolved the situation.
Caregiving requires a cheerful attitude and thick skin. A good candidate might explain a tactic they use to help them remain cool, calm, and collected when working with an agitated client. Communication is key, along with encouragement, patience, and creative problem-solving skills.
19. Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work and how you handled the feedback.
Everyone makes mistakes. Great candidates will own up to their missteps and explain honestly how they accepted the feedback and moved forward.
20. Are you comfortable performing care/hygiene tasks for clients?
Performing daily tasks for clients like helping them brush their teeth, get dressed, bathe, and use the restroom are common. Candidates need to be comfortable helping clients with these personal tasks.
21. What do you hope to do differently at your next job than you’ve done in the past?
Most people with a positive attitude will see opportunities for improvement. Excellent caregivers will think about how they can make the lives of their clients more comfortable and enjoyable. See if a candidate offers up their goals for the future to improve their quality of care.
Additional behavior-based interview questions:
22. Tell me about a time you provided emotional support to a client. How did you handle it?
23. Do you become affected personally when your client suffers? If yes, how so?
24. How do you manage your emotional attachments when a client passes away?
25. How do you provide emotional support to a client who you don’t naturally connect with?
26. Do you set personal goals for yourself regularly?
27. Do you set personal goals for yourself when you start a new job?
28. Is there a time you were proud of your ability to exemplify (one of your company’s values)?
29. When was the last time someone did something nice for you. How did it make you feel?
30. Tell me about a time you did something nice for someone else. Why did you do it?
31. What do you find to be the most interesting thing about you that your resume can’t tell me?
Situational Interview Questions for Caregivers
Preparing for every situation is impossible. However, being able to think on the spot critically is essential when working as a home health aide.
32. What would you do if a client refuses to eat, bathe, or take their medication?
Some clients may feel unhappy some days or be uncooperative. Excellent aides will have examples of experiences in the past where they’ve successfully managed clients and helped them take their medication, bathe, or eat, even when they didn’t initially want to do so.
33. If a client or a client’s relative shouts at you, how do you react?
Learning how a caregiver faces adverse situations while maintaining a positive attitude can be indicative of their endurance.
34. Would you be able to attend all caregiver training sessions?
Proper training is essential for a home health care job, and a candidate’s willingness to attend training sessions may be something you’ll want to assess prior to hiring.
35. If you were in charge of hiring someone for this role, what character trait would you say is the single most vital trait to have for this job?
Hearing what an interviewee believes is most important to care for others can be telling.
Additional scenario-based interview questions:
36. When presented with overwhelming stress, which of your personality traits do you believe will help you manage it successfully?
37. If you were an animal, which animal would you be and why?
38. How do you feel about letting pets into the home? Do you think it’s a good idea? Why or why not?
39. If you were looking for a caregiver for a loved one, which personality traits and skills would be the most important for the person to have?
40. If you were hiring a caregiver for yourself, what kind of caregiver and what personality traits would you want them to have? How does that relate to your own personality traits?
41. What would you say motivates you to give 100% to your job?
42. What type of employer recognition or awards motivates you?
43. If given the chance, how might you advise future employers to treat or motivate their employees?
44. Let’s say we were to hire you on the spot. What further training would you appreciate to make you a better caregiver?
Interview Questions to Uncover Why Caregivers Want The Job
Caregiving is a tough job with a high turnover rate. The following questions may help you find employees that are aware of the job’s demands.
45. What made you decide to apply for this job?
Make sure the interviewee doesn’t want a caregiving job only to pay the bills. Individuals who have the most success have a natural dedication to the profession of helping others who aren’t able to care for themselves.
46. What are you hoping to get out of your next job that’s different from your last job?
Candidates who do well at these types of jobs typically look for a sense of growth and purpose in their roles. Interviewees who express a natural desire to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of their clients tend to do well in the long term.
Additional interview questions:
47. What two or three factors make a job extremely fulfilling for you?
48. What do you enjoy most about working with senior clients? The disabled clients?
General Caregiver Interview Questions
A thorough interview can help you find the perfect person for the job, giving you peace of mind that your clients are in good hands.
49. How do you stay motivated when you’re working with little to no supervision?
Home health aides often work independently. Interviewees need to understand the nature of the work and be prepared to take on substantial responsibility.
50. Are you available for the hours listed in the job description?
Assuming is never a good idea, always wise to check that a person is available and willing to do what is required.
51. What are your career goals?
Some caregivers may hope to open their own home care agency one day or be in charge of daily operations. However, some caregivers may enjoy the hands-on nature their role provides and are merely looking to create more meaningful experiences with those they care for.
52. What stands out about you compared to other caregivers?
Most home health aides will be able to articulate what makes them unique. While their answers may not always be extremely different from other interviewers, you’ll want a candidate who is upbeat, thoughtful, patient, and diligent.
53. Do you know how to cook to accommodate specific health requirements?
Looking after a variety of clients means accommodating many unique diets. Some individuals may be allergic to shellfish, dairy, or gluten, while others may need to cut back on fats to lower cholesterol. Keeping health needs in mind while cooking can take coordination and patience.
54. Are you capable of lifting heavy objects or people?
Individuals fit for the job will likely need to lift people into wheelchairs, into and out of bed, help them take a shower, and more.
55. What personal or work-related goals do you have? How are you working towards them?
Hiring people who have a personal desire to grow and evolve can help reduce turnover.
56. How do you keep and organize patient records?
57. Do you know how to use a computer?
58. Are you able to provide two work-related and one personal reference?
59. Are you comfortable with pets?
60. Are you able and willing to perform light housekeeping duties?
61. Are you available for work nights and weekends?
62. What are your salary expectations?
63. What are your benefits expectations?
64. When are you available to begin working?
65. If necessary, are you able to perform additional hours on top of what’s standard?
66. How do you feel about working a rotating shift? How about night shifts?
Caregiving is a calling that requires profound compassion, diligence, and patience. A career as a caregiver can provide workers an enormous sense of purpose and fulfillment, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
Not everyone is cut out for a job that requires such intense dedication. The best caregiver interview questions and answers can help you find the right employees to grow your agency and keep clients happy.