Questions when interviewing

When interviewing a carer for your loved one, these questions should help you find a reliable match. Involve the person you’re caring for in the interview process as much as possible. Talk about the questions before the interview and add or amend them before the carer arrives.

It’s their interview, with you asking the questions for him or her (if your loved one is able to ask the questions themself, even better).

Do you have any work experience in caregiving or similar areas?
Start with a broad question that encompasses more than in-home health work to give you a general sense of the person. Try to identify patterns or trends that show experience in caregiving, companionship, and working with people, even if it isn’t specifically with older adults. Look for experience that indicates an ability to work independently, without close supervision.

What specifically makes you qualified for working with my loved one?
Here’s where you ask about specific training or courses pertaining to in-home health work. Also ask for details that apply to your loved one’s needs, such as experience bathing, feeding, dressing, cooking, cleaning, or lifting from, for example, a wheelchair to a toilet or bed.

Why are you interested in this type of work?
You’re looking for someone who enjoys working with the elderly, or a caring, sociable, and nurturing person.

Are you comfortable dealing with my loved one’s emotional or mental state?
You’ll need to adapt this question depending on your loved one’s state of mind, but it can cover such things as anger, silence, sadness, moodiness, and memory problems. (Obviously, you’ll probably want to ask this particular question without your loved one present.) Laying this out before hiring someone is a win-win for you and job applicants. You can get a sense of how they’ll be with your loved one, and they’ll get a sense of interpersonal skills required for the job.

What days and times are you available and how many hours are you looking for?
You have already stated this in the advert but its good to find out what other availability they have as your care needs might change or you could do with some respite.

What are your vacation, holiday, or time-off needs?
Also you need to make it clear how much notice you need so that you can make alternative arrangements. If you employ and pay the carer then you will need to pay them holiday pay.  If you use respite care you will need to discuss whether the carer is required to take their holiday whilst your loved one is in respite or if it will be unpaid leave.

Do you have a car and are you comfortable driving my loved one?
This is an optional extra depending on your care needs and you will also need to consider the carers insurance to drive your loved one.

Are you a legal resident?
By Law you will need to ensure that the carer has a legal permit to work. read more here

Does the wage offered work for you?
Check that they are happy with the wage so that there are no awkward questions or disputes later on.

Are you bonded?
A fidelity bond is a form of protection that covers policyholders for losses that they incur as a result of fraudulent acts by specified individuals. It usually insures a business for losses caused by the dishonest acts of its employees.

While called bonds, these obligations to protect an employer from employee-dishonesty losses are really insurance policies. These insurance policies protect from losses of company monies, securities, and other property from employees who have a manifest intent to cause the company loss. There are also many other forms of crime-insurance policies (burglary, fire, general theft, computer theft, disappearance, fraud, forgery, etc.) to protect company assets.”

I plan to do a background check on all applicants who are strong contenders for the job. Is there anything you’d like me to know first?
This question is important to find out more about the carer before doing a DBS (CBS) check. Learn more about doing a criminal records check here.

Are you comfortable signing a work contract?
By law all employees need to sign a work contract.  If you recruit a self employed carer you will still need a contract to cover yourself.

If we offer you the job, can we agree on a two-week trial period to see how we all feel — you, me, and my parent?
This is very important as it usually takes about two weeks to determine if the carer works well with you and your loved one and if you work well with the carer.  We learnt this the hard way and was stuck with a carer that wouldn’t follow instructions.

Can you provide at least two references?
Ask for the name and contact number for two references so that you can call them and have an informal chat you will find out more about the person by talking to them.  Alternatively ask for an address or an email address and send a letter.  By law you should not receive a bad reference but you can receive facts about timekeeping, illnesses and general overview of the person.

Create scenarios:
Ask the prospective caregiver how they would handle various care issues that might arise and are similar to your situation.

  • How would you handle it if my mother wakes up and doesn’t want to get dressed or eat her breakfast-but she has a doctor’s appointment later that morning?
  • If my father is running a fever and is acting lethargic and you think there’s blood in his urine, what would you do? If I’m not at home and can’t be reached, what would you do then?
  • My aunt falls, seems confused, doesn’t recognize you and won’t let you help her. She’s combative, what do you do?

Do you have any questions or concerns at this point?
Time to open the floor to the carer, a passionate carer should have at least one question to ask you if they haven’t done so by now.  If not, whilst they may be a good carer it would flag up some alarm bells if they had no questions.


Don’t make a decision there and then, take some time to think about it and let the carer know that you will be in touch. Discuss with your loved one and family members when the carer leaves and then call them to let them to know your decision.