Hiring the wrong caregiver can be a costly mistake for home care providers.
Unfortunately, almost every home care business will hire a candidate who seems great at the interview but lacks the required performance level.
The best way to avoid this is by asking the right interview questions.
At the same time, many home care providers are competing for the best talent, and your hiring team needs to know how to identify the best caregiver candidates quickly.
Interview questions can help you assess if a candidate is a good fit for your home care team and if they have the right hard and soft skills you’re looking for.
Your interview should cover a variety of questions to get an overall understanding of each candidate. Depending on time and availability, you can have more than one interview stage and structure your questions according to the level of importance or from general to more specific.
We covered our top interview tips for hiring caregivers in a previous blog, and to follow up, this blog will cover the right interview questions to ask to find the best-fit caregiver candidates.
But first, what are the different types of interview questions you can ask?
These questions ask the candidate to use their real-life experiences to understand how they approach a hypothetical situation.
They invite the candidate to think on their feet and help you evaluate their skills, competence, or personality depending on the question (i.e., “What would you do if you were late to an appointment with a client?”).
Competency-based interview questions are targeted toward a candidate’s experience and skills.
They give you a good idea of their technical knowledge and how they will react to the everyday scenarios most of your caregivers have to deal with (i.e., “Give an example of a professional challenge you’ve faced with a client and how you overcame it.”).
Behavioral interview questions can be similar to competency questions, but the goal is to better understand the candidate’s personality, how they approach their work and what motivates them.
(i.e., “How do you accomplish tasks when under a tight deadline? Give an example.” / “How do you handle disagreements with colleagues?”)
Asking questions about the candidates’ motivation on why they chose caregiving, where they see themselves in their career, any training they want to undertake, and more, can help you understand their commitment to their work.
As the name suggests, interview questions related to problem-solving assess a candidate’s ability to analyze and address a challenge logically.
In addition, since caregivers usually work autonomously, it’s important to understand if they are confident enough to solve problems independently without needing constant supervision.
Questions assessing communication skills
All interviews must evaluate the candidate’s communication skills because it’s imperative for any job. Caregivers need to have great communication skills as they deal with a wide variety of vulnerable people daily.
These questions should look at how candidates express themselves and how good they are at empathizing with others.
Questions assessing interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills are also essential for caregivers, and these questions should help you learn about the ways the candidate deals with conflict, how self-aware they are, and how they would fit in within your home care team.
Questions assessing the candidate’s fit with company culture
Last but not least, hiring a candidate that fits with your company culture and who will likely be happy working for you helps to increase the longevity of their employment.
So your hiring team needs to represent your company culture correctly and ask questions that establish if the candidate will be a good fit.
Your hiring team should ask interview questions that kill two birds with one stone; so they can learn more about the candidate’s skills, personality, and experience with a few good questions.
Here are some tips for asking the right interview questions during your caregiver search.
1. Start with general questions then dig deeper
Think of interview questions as an inverted pyramid. First, you must understand who your candidate is; that’s your foundation. Then, build the rest of the pyramid by asking specific questions about their skill set and experience and how they would react to different situations.
For example, asking “What made you become a caregiver?” is a general question about one’s motivation.
Whereas, “What is one thing you can improve about yourself to advance in your career?” is a more profound question about one’s commitment to the job, also testing self-awareness.
2. Ask questions that cover technical knowledge and soft skills
Your hiring team has already written the job posting, which should specify the skills your home care business is looking for in its caregivers. The interview questions should echo these requirements by asking your candidate to demonstrate examples of when they displayed those skills.
For example, suppose you want to hire caregivers who have experience working with patients with Alzheimer’s.
In that case, you can ask the candidate, “What experience do you have working with clients with Alzheimer’s?”
Then, follow this up with a question to identify soft skills, for example, “What are the main strategies you use when communicating with an Alzheimer’s patient?”
3. Ask questions that help you understand the caregiver’s personality
As we mentioned, behavioral interview questions will help you understand character traits and what motivates each candidate.
For example, questions like “What are your proudest achievements professionally and personally?” or “What are some of your coping strategies after an emotional encounter with a client?” can help you understand your candidate’s perspective on caregiving and their career.
Or, to learn about the candidate’s interpersonal skills, you can ask questions like, “Tell me about a time when you resolved a conflict with a patient; how did you do it?”
4. Ask follow-up questions to push past memorized answers
Not all questions have ready-made answers. Asking follow-up questions that push past pre-prepared answers forces your candidate to reply authentically and think decisively on demand.
These questions might put some pressure on your candidate, so it’s a good idea to make sure they serve a purpose.
5. Don’t ask yes or no questions
Asking ‘yes or no’ questions is acceptable in an interrogation, but you’ll only get to know your candidates better if you ask open-ended questions and let them answer in more depth.
Your hiring team must be good listeners who can also steer the interview with candidates where they hear the clear response they are looking for. It’s also important to leave time for candidates to formulate their answers without rushing them too much.
6. Ask questions that help you get an idea of the caregiver’s ideal career path
One of the biggest reasons caregivers leave their job is the lack of training opportunities.
Career growth is essential for anyone who wants to increase their income and achieve greater goals. Ask your candidates about their career goals and expectations of working with you to determine if they are a good fit.
To understand their achievements, you can ask, “What are some of your greatest professional accomplishments so far?” and to learn if they will take on more training, “What do you expect/hope to learn and train on in this role?”.
If you want to minimize your chances of hiring the wrong people, a good hiring strategy is necessary. Your hiring team must follow a well-thought hiring process from the application to the interview stage.
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