How to interview a Care Professional

At certain points in life, it may become necessary for you to look for support from a Care Professional. When this happens, it’s essential that caregivers are screened and interviewed beforehand, especially if you choose to hire them directly. The selection and interview process can be rather daunting and exhausting, and you might be tempted to just breeze through the selection process without thought or consideration.

Why is it important to interview a caregiver?

There are five main reasons why you should interview a caregiver before the care starts, including:

  1. To assess their ability to deal with daily tasks, depending on your needs. A Care Professional will be responsible for several very important activities: not only daily tasks such as cleaning and cooking, but maybe also personal care such as support with bathing and getting dressed. It’s essential that you can be sure that they’re capable and willing of doing those tasks. Setting expectations is, at this stage, vital.
  2. To make sure you can get along well. A caregiver will be with you in your own home for quite a bit, at least once a day in most cases. You’ll want to make sure that the two of you get on well and enjoy good chemistry.
  3. To assess their sense of responsibility and trustworthiness. Your caregiver will oversee very important decisions and tasks. In some cases, they will have authority to speak on your behalf to people on the phone, such as with the NHS, or will be authorised to use your money to shop for essentials. In all such scenarios, you want to make sure they can be trusted.
  4. To evaluate their sense of vocation. Given the importance and responsibility of the task, you do not want to leave open the risk of abuse or neglect. You must find someone who really wants to be a Care professional and has the personality and skillset to match.
  5. To check work experience and references. During the interview, you’ll also be able to ask questions about the caregiver’s qualification and previous work experience, to make sure they can meet your care needs.

Before the interview

First of all, ask yourself if you have a clear picture of your care needs. Before you start calling people in for an interview, you should make sure you have established the sort of care you need.

  • Do you need around-the-clock live-in care? Or do you just need someone to do certain tasks that, while essential, are no longer possible for you to accomplish on your own?
  • Will you still have occasional assistance from relatives?
  • Will you require any specialised care because of a condition, such as dementia or diabetes?

The best way to assess your needs is by requesting a ‘needs assessment’ from your local council. Read our blog about how to get a care plan to find out more.

Where shall I interview the caregiver?

If you prefer, you can have a first interview with the caregiver on the phone.

However, it’s important that the final interview takes place in your own home. The caregiver should be able to see the place where they’ll be working, especially if they are expected to move in to provide live-in care. You can ask a relative or a friend to come along, for a second opinion and support; but it’s important that the caregiver and the person who will receive the care meet in person before the care starts.

Questions to ask

So, what sort of questions should you be asking a caregiver during the interview? Here are some basic ones to help get you started. Feel free to add your own questions as you see fit.

  • Do you have a DBS check? This should be one of the first questions to ask. It just pays to make sure.
  • Do you have a drivers’ license? Do you have transport? It may be necessary for you to be taken to places, if you can no longer drive or use public transport. Having a car also makes tasks such as shopping or running errands easier and can provide reliable access to the caregiver.
  • What sort of hours can you work? If you think you’d need your Care Professional at odd hours or at short notice, make sure they can commit to it. Otherwise, it just helps to have a consensus on the sort of hours your caregiver is expected to be with you.
  • What experience do you have?What skills can you offer? This is a good way to see what sort of qualities a caregiver can bring into their work and assess how they’ve used them in the past. You can also ask questions about their experience with clients with specific conditions and treatments.
  • Here is a list of things you’d need to do as a caregiver; is there anything that could be problematic for you? Again, it’s good to have an understanding and consensus on just what exactly the caregiver is expected to be doing. If there’s something they wouldn’t want to do, you want to find out as soon as possible.
  • What type of food can you cook? Tell the caregiver the type of food that you would like them to prepare, and ask them if they have experience of this, or whether they are willing to learn.
  • Are you able to remind me to take my medication? Care Professionals should have medication reminders training if they are prompting or reminding you to take medication. You can ask to see proof of this.
  • What made you look into this job? A good way to look into motivations, and to assess whether the caregiver’s heart is in the right place for the position.
  • What are your expectations for holiday time? Will you be happy to help find coverage for when you are off?
  • Create scenarios. Assess how the prospective caregiver would act in specific situations by creating scenarios such as: “What would you do if I fall and I can’t stand up on my own?”.

Questions NOT to ask

When conducting interviews, remember that some questions are always inappropriate. Never ask questions about, for example:

  • The candidate’s marital status
  • Their sexual orientation
  • Their religious or political beliefs
  • Their family and childcare arrangements

These aspects are irrelevant to the position as a Care Professional, and can also be classed as a form of discrimination if you decide not to hire them on such a basis. This would lead to legal trouble later.

Also be prepared to answer questions yourself. Always make sure that the candidate has the opportunity to quiz you on the job, and give them a chance to assess you as a client. Doing so will set the candidate at ease, and allows future misunderstandings to be avoided.

During the interview, you’ll also have the chance to let the caregiver know about any house rules you’d like them to follow, as well as illustrating your daily routine, what you like to do, and how they can support you in your favourite activities (i.e. gardening, cooking, walking the dog).

At Home Instead, we match families with experienced  Care Professionals taking into consideration not only care needs, but also interests and personal preferences. We believe care goes beyond daily tasks and practicalities – it is all about creating good relationships. Browse our home care services, and feel free to get in touch and we’ll help you to find your perfect carer.