Choosing care: Interview questions for hiring a paid carer
As more people receive Personal Budgets from local authorities or use their own money to pay for care services, employing a paid carer is becoming a popular option. It is not surprising, as becoming an employer means that you can choose the person who will be providing care, what price you are willing to pay, what services you require exactly and at what times, and so on.
We have a detailed article looking at ‘How to hire a paid carer’, which walks you through the necessary steps. Whether you are hiring a paid carer for yourself, or on behalf of a family member, you will inevitably have to hold interviews at some point to get to know your shortlisted candidates and find the right person for the job.
The interview should be held in a neutral location and not at your own home. Let candidates know roughly how long you expect the interview to last and whether they need to bring or prepare anything.
We have put together a list of the top questions to ask, and why they are so important:
1. What is your experience in this area? Can you tell me about the last person you worked with?
Yes, qualifications can matter, but experience will often count for a lot more. Compassion, building up a good rapport, flexibility – these qualities can surpass formal qualifications when you are looking for a person who will be working in quite a personal capacity. By asking about a past client, you can get a sense of how close they were to a person and what kind of relationship they had, as well as getting more detail on the tasks they carried out.
2. Why did you apply for this role?
This will help you find the people that have a passion for care work, rather than those who are just looking for a job. It also helps you to understand what they are looking for from the role.
3. How would you deal with a particular situation?
It is good to give your interviewee a sample situation that they might find themselves in in the role. It helps you to see whether the interviewee knows how to react to potential scenarios and also challenges them to think on their feet.
4. Do you drive, and do you have a car?
This might be an important asset to you if part of the caring role is to help with tasks such as shopping or getting to social activities. If you need a paid carer that can offer transport, then make sure you ask upfront.
5. How flexible are you with hours?
It is worth getting an idea of how flexible an interviewee can be. While you may be offering certain days and hours now, as your care needs progress you may need additional hours and it is worth knowing if potentially your future employee would be interested or able to provide that so you don’t need to find someone else later on.
6. Is there any task that you would not be comfortable performing?
It is useful to know this so that you can be sure you are hiring someone who is able to perform all the tasks that you need in your personal care situation. These would be in the employment contract anyway, so it is better to ensure that the candidate is competent and comfortable with all tasks well in advance.
7. Have you had a DBS check?
We recommend that you always perform a DBS check for employees for your own peace of mind. Asking at the interview whether they have had one, will let you know that they are willing to undertake one, and also gives them a chance to mention anything that may come up during a search.
8. Do you have any questions?
A good interview, just like the client-carer relationship, works both ways. The interviewee should have the chance to ask anything that they need to know, as it helps them decide whether the role is right for them, as much as whether they are right for you.