Hiring a Caregiver - Step 5: Evaluate Candidates
When your recruiting efforts net a pool of interested applicants, how do you choose which one to hire?
A selection system will help you make the best choice for you and your loved one. Selection systems typically include the following steps:
- Resume screening to filter out unqualified applicants
- Telephone interview
- Face-to-face interviews
- Reference checks
- Background screens
You do not have to hold a face-to-face interview with every person who applies for the job. Some screening over the telephone is appropriate. In screening applicants over the telephone, caregivers should describe the job in detail and state specific expectations listed in the work contract as well as information about the hours and wages. At this time, it is also important to ask about the applicant's past experience and whether he/she has references. If the applicant sounds acceptable, then an interview should be scheduled. Consider having another family member, the care recipient (if appropriate) or friend sit in on the interview to provide a second opinion.
In preparation for the interview, the caregiver should have a list of questions pertinent to the job description and a sample work contract ready for the applicant to read. The following are some suggested questions for the interview:
- Where have you worked before?
- What were your duties?
- How do you feel about caring for a disabled person? Or a person with memory problems?
- Have you had experience cooking for other people?
- How do you handle people who are angry, stubborn, fearful?
- Do you have a car? Would you be able to transfer someone from a wheelchair into a car or into a bed?
- What days and hours would you be available? How many hours per week?
- Is there anything in the job description that you are uncomfortable doing?
- Can you give me two work-related and one personal reference?
Consider what qualities/skills you require and what you can train a good candidate to do.
Be sure that you have a chance to watch the interactions between the in-home worker and the family member for whom he or she will be providing care. You may want to do this at the end of the interview with individuals you feel are good candidates, or you may want to invite the top two candidates back to meet with your family member. If your family member is able, he or she should be included in the interview process and in making the final decision.
Immediately after the interview, it is important for you to write down first impressions, and if possible, discuss these with another family member or friend. Consider the person most qualified for the job and with whom you feel most comfortable. Always check the references of at least two final applicants. Don't wait too long to make an offer, as good applicants may find another job. If the job offer is accepted, you and the in-home helper should set a date to sign the contract and begin work. Both employer and employee should keep a copy of the contract.