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Caregiver Hiring: Interview Strategies for Finding the Best-Fit Caregiver Candidates

Published on May 20, 2022 by Sharon Morrisette

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Finding and hiring the best-fit caregivers remains one of the biggest challenges home care providers face in a strong job seeker’s market.

In a bid to compete with other providers and secure more caregivers, many home care organizations rush through certain aspects of the hiring process, particularly the interview stages. Unfortunately, this can be a costly mistake, resulting in higher caregiver turnover in the long run.

Interviews are arguably one of the most important steps in the job application process. They provide the ideal opportunity to get to know each applicant and assess if they would be a good fit for your company, culture, and clients.

Here we offer ten interview tips and techniques to help you master the art of interviews, find those best-fit candidates and take your caregiver hiring success to the next level.

1. Know what you are looking for

You and the candidates you shortlist for an interview need to be clear on what the role entails, including duties, hours and pay, and your company culture and values.

This needs to remain consistent from the job posting and job description, through to the screening and interview stages.

Knowing what you are looking for will help guide your interview strategy and the types of questions you need to ask, ensuring you deliver focused and effective interviews.

2. Choose the right interview technique

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At first glance, job interviews might seem like a fairly basic procedure. However, there are many different interview techniques to choose from, depending on what you want to assess, the types of candidates, and the interviewer(s).

How you conduct your job interviews is just as important as the questions you ask.

Techniques include:

  • Competency-based
  • Behavioral-based
  • Situational
  • Serial/sequential
  • Group interviews
  • Panel interviews
  • Remote interviews (via phone or video).

It is well worth your time to research and select the right interview technique, as it will ensure you get as much as possible out of your candidates so you can make an informed hiring decision.

3. Prepare the interview structure and questions in advance

The interview may be the first personal interaction your potential caregivers will have with you and your business, so it is necessary to be well prepared and make a great first impression.

Being prepared ensures your interviews flow smoothly and are consistent for each candidate. This will also help guarantee you draw out all the information you require while providing a positive candidate experience.

Think about what you need to cover when choosing the types of questions to ask. In addition to verification questions about qualifications and experience, categories can include:

  • Situational
  • Competency/skills-based
  • Behavioral
  • Motivation-based
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Company culture.

The most effective interviews ask a variety of question types, including many open-ended questions, to get a well-balanced view of each candidate.

The right questions will help you identify the best-fit candidates and provide insight into how your home care organization can help them succeed.

4. Be punctual and professional

In addition to being fully prepared beforehand, it is important to be punctual and professional for every interview.

A positive candidate experience relies on you demonstrating your home care business is organized and efficient, and respects and values the time your candidates have taken out of their day to speak with you.

5. Look beyond technical skills

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Just because a candidate is well qualified and experienced to do the job doesn’t automatically guarantee that they will be a good fit for your business and your clients.

Many providers make the mistake of only using interviews to assess/confirm each candidate’s hard (or technical) skills and qualifications. While these are important, you must also explore soft skills like emotional intelligence, teamwork, effective communication, adaptability, etc.

While these can be more challenging to assess, soft skills are essential for home care job performance and cultural fit, so you must include different types of interview questions to draw these out.

6. Let the candidates do most of the talking

Once you’ve made introductions and settled your candidates into the interview with a few general questions, it is important that you listen more than you talk. Active listening skills are essential for anyone conducting an interview, and it is possible to learn and improve these skills if needed.

Taking notes – which is especially important if you are interviewing multiple candidates – can help you pay full attention and keep the interview focused on the candidate.

7. Be open about the challenges of the job

A recent Home Care Pulse study revealed a common complaint from caregivers was feeling misled about the job, such as the kind of schedule they would be expected to work.

While you don’t want to deter candidates, it is crucial for caregiver retention that you are completely transparent about the role and responsibilities – including any difficulties or challenges the position may pose.

Of course, your job post and job description should cover this, but the interview stage is the perfect time to fine-tune expectations, consider any negotiations – and prevent problems from arising in the future.

8. Be prepared to answer candidates’ questions

As you are preparing for your caregiver interviews, factor in some time to think about the questions you might be asked to answer.

A good candidate will have questions to ask, and it’s obviously crucial that you know your home care business well and have a clear understanding of the position on offer in order to answer any questions they might throw at you!

It’s important to give candidates a chance to ask their questions at the end of the interview and a great way to gain insight into how they think, what they understand about your business, and what’s important to them.

9. Conduct second (and even third) interviews

Even when you feel a candidate is a perfect fit, it is good practice to invite them back for a second interview – ideally with you and other team members.

A second interview can delve a bit deeper and help you visualize the candidate in the role and as part of your caregiver team.

It allows you to repeat key questions from the first interview (to check consistency) and ask new questions for further clarity on anything you might have missed.

In the current strong job-seekers market, be sure to book these second interviews as quickly as possible to avoid losing out on any potential best-fit candidates.

10. Confirm the next steps

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At the end of each interview, thank your candidates for their time and clarify how you will follow up with each interviewee.

Explain the steps you need to take (i.e., background and reference checks) and how and when you will next communicate, for example, via phone call or email.

“Next steps’ should be regarded as part of your hiring process and are essential to get right and communicate promptly. This professional courtesy will reflect very well on you and your company’s reputation.

Interviews are a vital part of your hiring process, and can directly impact retention. They are your chance to get to know prospective employees better and drill down into the skills and requirements needed to succeed in the role.

They also allow you to get a better sense of the intangibles, such as attitudes, passion, initiative, communication skills, cultural fit and goals.

Interviews are key to finding the best-fit candidates to add to your home care team and they are definitely worth doing well.

If you’d like to find out about Smartcare Software tools that can enhance and support your recruitment, hiring and retention efforts, please get in touch or request a free demo.