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How to Interview Candidates for Assisted Living Senior Care

by Marcus Pickett

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Finding the caregivers who will comprise your assisted living senior care is no easy task, but you can make it a lot easier by asking job candidates specific questions. Every home, every senior, and every caregiver is different, and some interview questions should be tailored to determine the best fit for various candidates. Often, assisted living senior care is found through senior care companies, who may or may not let you interview employees ahead of time. Most companies will at least allow you to state preferences: "I get along really well with Employee X, but Employee Y doesn't seem to understand what I need from my home care staff." On the other hand, some people hire independent assisted living senior care, finding job candidates through the local paper or online.

Conducting Interviews for Your Assisted Living Senior Care Staff
Many of the following questions can be asked of candidates from senior care companies or through independent searches, but it's important to make the distinction and customize your interview process to get the best information possible...

Interview Questions for Staff from Senior Care Companies

  • How long have you been working for this senior care company? Have you worked for other senior care companies? How did the two compare?

  • What do you like most and least about working in home health care? Have you found yourself susceptible to burnout?

  • Do you prefer to work with one individual, or do you prefer to work for a variety of seniors throughout the week?

  • Can you give me an example of a time when you and a charge experienced conflict concerning in-home care practices, and how this conflict was resolved?

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Interview Questions for Independent, Assisted Living Senior Care

  • Conduct a basic a memory test: Give them a list of five things that you're likely to need your staff to do on any given day. See how much of the list they can recall near the end of the interview. Don't expect every qualified candidate to get all five correct.

  • What experience, if any, do you have in home health care? A lack of experience shouldn't necessarily disqualify a candidate. Newcomers to the workforce may have a greater resistance to home health care burnout.

  • Should the need arise, are you comfortable administering close personal care and toileting. This question is particularly important when interviewing candidates of the opposite sex.

  • Why do you want to work in home health care? This is helpful to understand where your employees are coming from. Expect answers ranging from "I want to help people," to "I need a job to pay the bills." Usually it's a bad idea to give preference to idealistic answers, which may indicate a vulnerability to quick burnout rates and/or a tendency for co-dependent behavior and poor boundaries.

  • Do you have any criminal record that I should know about? Without a company referral, you need to take extra precautions against theft, abuse, and other criminal activity. Demand that any new employees bring with them a criminal background check.

Try to Keep a Wide-Angle Lens
As you get more experienced interviewing potential caregivers, certain answers will raise red flags. Most often, however, this interview process will help give you a general impression of who the candidate is as a person and how well he or she may fit with your particular home care needs. For some seniors, a staff with a friendly personality is most important. For other seniors, a staff with a strong back for transfers and a high tolerance of bodily smells for mishaps is most important.

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.