18 Caregiver Interview Questions & Sample Answers

a picture of business professionals interviewing for a Caregiver role and conducting an interview

Get the best caregiver interview questions. A caregiver is a paid or unpaid individual who assists those with disabilities or the elderly with their daily activities and daily living. A caregiver is an informal professional, choosing to take on the individual's responsibility in need (a “patient”). This professional provides direct care and assists with grooming, dressing, toileting, and exercising the person in need.

A caregiver is often a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or person in need. This includes children with disabilities (special needs), the elderly with hospice care needs, and other qualifying medical factors. Interview questions get asked for a paid helper or care provider to qualify them for overseeing a child's personal care or older adults. The paid caregiver may come from a home care services provider or home care agency.

The caregiver sometimes gets referred to as a family caregiver or senior caregiver. A paid prospective caregiver can get hired by a family in need or directly by an agency that places paid caregivers inside of homes. A group interview format may get utilized by a family in need who is hiring for the caregiver job directly.

Common Caregiver Interview Questions and Answers

When interviewing a potential caregiver, each interview question should be asked to ensure a qualified caregiver is getting hired for the job:

  • What do you feel the act of “caregiving” is?
  • How do you assist those with dementia?
  • How do you assist those with Alzheimer's disease?
  • Tell me about your previous personal caregiver experience.
  • Tell me about a time you worked with an elderly client as a senior caregiver.
  • How do you work with the loved ones of your patients?
  • How do you handle time off as a caregiver?
  • Tell me about a time you got involved in a difficult situation while employed in the caregiver role.

These questions may get asked by the interviewer to help find the “right caregiver” for the family in need. Below are common interview questions and sample answers. Depending on the interview process, these questions may get asked in a phone interview or in-person interview for the job. Behavioral questions should get asked; these are questions that begin with” Tell me about” or “Tell me about a time.” These questions can help judge a candidate’s core competencies and future job performance of the applicant.

1. What do you feel the act of “caregiving” is?

Sample answer: The act of caregiving is aware of the patient and their needs. This includes having a healthy routine of daily personal care needs that are getting addressed. And more optimistic goals like exercise, stretching, or other physical activities that increase blood flow.

2. How do you assist those with dementia?

Sample answer: Patients with dementia can be difficult. They require a healthy amount of patience and compassion. Daily activities may need to change based on the severity of dementia that day. Plans may need to get adjusted to account for progress. And ensure a comfortable environment for the patient is getting provided. We don’t want to put the patient into stressful situations or scenarios.

3. How do you assist those with Alzheimer's disease?

Sample answer: Similarly to handling patients with dementia, we want to be cognitive of the progress of that day. We don’t want to be triggering emotional responses on days when the patient isn’t comfortable. Addressing progress in real-time is key to assisting those with Alzheimer’s.

4. Tell me about your previous personal caregiver experience.

Sample answer: I’ve assisted three families in the past with senior care needs. All of which were suffering from multiple issues and ailments. The family needed to be a core part of the caregiving experience. Ensuring that they were aware of their loved one’s progress and informed or part of making the decisions. It’s a family experience, and that’s how I like to treat caregiving.

5. Tell me about a time you worked with an elderly client as a senior caregiver.

Sample answer: Ruth was a patient of mine in the past. She was suffering from multiple cancers in the body. It was a difficult experience. But required attentiveness and working closely with the family to make sure that she was comfortable during her end-of-life experience. I had a deep emotional connection with Ruth; we talked regularly, told stories, and became friends.

6. How do you work with the loved ones of your patients?

Sample answer: The family needs to be part of the process. They need to get informed of progress regularly, various activities getting done, and general caregiving. It can be helpful to include group text messages and pictures that show the care provided.

7. How do you handle time off as a caregiver?

Sample answer: Time-off can occur. I like to make sure we have access to respite care, which is short-term assistance for the caregiver if I’m unavailable.

8. Tell me about a time you got involved in a difficult situation while employed in the caregiver role.

Sample answer: Ruth was suffering from an acute issue, and I was unsure if she required emergency care or not. I was waiting patiently for her to make a change in her behavior. But when I realized that she needed emergency assistance, I called 9-1-1 immediately. This was a difficult situation. And because I felt like the symptoms of Ruth’s issues were mild. But it just happened to be that Ruth was calming the symptoms herself.

9. What are ADL's or Activities of Daily Living?

Sample answer: ADL's are followed procedures as it relates to a patient's required daily living standards. This could be hygiene, cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, laundry, cleaning a room, or changing bedsheets. And changing bedpans or assisting with regular living activities, including exercise and mobility movements. ADL's are important because they allow caregivers to understand and have a checklist for providing the most optimal care. Care and support to the patient, elder, or those in need.

10. Why are ADL's (or Activities of Daily Living) important?

Sample answer: Because it allows us to have a comprehensive understanding of what the patient requires on a daily or regular basis. This can be helpful when the patient is still able and can provide themselves some support. As a caregiver, when I arrive, I can go through the ADL checklist. And understand what needs to get accomplished. Or what might need to get taken care of to provide the patient with the best amount of care possible.

11. In an emergency, what procedures would get followed?

Sample answer: Before working with a patient, I like to understand the patient's needs, issues, ailments, diseases, and more. It's best to understand how emergencies should get handled. This can be a written procedure list from the family or the provider. And then, in emergencies, attempt to follow the procedure list the best we can.

12. Is dieting important in the role of a caregiver?

Sample answer: Yes. Diet is essential. And ties into the cooking requirements of the position. A proper diet can be a "prescribed" way of treating the patient on behalf of the patient's practitioner, general physician, pediatric doctor. Before working with any new patient, I try to understand what's required of diet and then plan grocery shopping, cooking, meals, and more regularly.

13. How would you maintain a client or patient's records?

Sample answer: It's important to log all activities, vital signs, and medications that were administered. Or any situations where the patient showed changing signs of health. From here, we can review those situations and determine how severe they are. After that, we can consult the working physician or pediatric doctor about the issue and remedy the situation. Keeping a close record of all activities and vital signs is incredibly important in the caregiver role.

14. How reliable is transportation?

Sample answer: Transporation is reliable on my end. And I understand why this question is asked. I must arrive at the resident's household on time and transport the patient to their required destination. I have a larger vehicle that can facilitate those who have disabilities. And have a valid state driver's license with a clean driving record.

15. Are you comfortable working unique hours?

Sample answer: Yes, I'm comfortable with that. As a previous caregiver, I understood that the patient might require assistance at all times of the day. There is no exact "routine," unfortunately, especially with patients who are suffering from acute issues or chronic ailments. I'm comfortable having a flexible working schedule both in the week and on the day. That includes working late hours if necessary. Or be available to the patient on Sunday's or weekend days.

16. When are you available to start working?

Sample answer: I'm available to start working immediately. I'd like to understand the patient's issues, meet with the patient, and ensure that they're comfortable with me. This includes providing a formal introduction and learning about them. From there, I'd like to be able to begin working with them.

17. Are you comfortable with pets or animals in the home?

Sample answer: Absolutely. I can include the pet as part of the ADL's. And ensure that the pet is walked, taken care of, fed, and groomed. And that food is being purchased for the animal. I understand that animals in the home can often add a therapeutic nature to the living situation that makes them feel comfortable. This is a great benefit, in my opinion.

18. How do you handle a patient who is angry, stubborn, or fearful?

Sample answer: This is the reason why it's essential to establish a close connection with the patient. And establish trust. Without it, the activities and daily living standards can be challenged and can become cumbersome. Situations where the patient no longer wants to attend the physician's office, for example. It's understandable. These situations need to be handled with patience, care, ease, and support. But again, establishing trust with the patient early on is very important and pivotal to the caregiver role.

Qualities and Skills of a Caregiver

  • Compassion. A caregiver will be working with disabled individuals or the elderly. Compassion is a strong requirement to excel in this role.
  • Patience. Similar to compassion. A great caregiver is someone who is able to understand there may be changes to plans and a need to be patient about progress.
  • Attentiveness. Paying close to attention to changing elements, changing needs, and emotional or physical damages can be important for a caregiver.
  • Dependability. A caregiver is often required in-home. Dependability is important because the patient depends on the caregiver.
  • Trustworthiness. Trust between the caregiver and the patient is critical.
  • Adaptability. Being adaptable to changing environments, changing conditions, and being motivated by needing to approach new problems with new solutions.
  • Critical-Thinking. The ability to “think on your feet” is critical for a professional caregiver.

Caregiver Interview Tips

Tips for those seeking to become a caregiver.

Explain qualities that make "you" great

Qualities and traits in a caregiver are essential. Trust is being established between the provider and the patient. It's best to explain what qualities are important to the caregiver role when interviewing for a caregiver position. Also, using previous caregiver experience to recite those qualities.

Focus on these top qualities in a caregiver:

  • Passion
  • Engagement
  • Trust
  • Motivation
  • Reliability
  • Honesty
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Sincerity

Focus on work history

A person's background can be essential in this role. Whether it's a previous nursing position or physical therapy position, there may be alignment between a prior job and the caregiver role. Think of prior work situations where patience, honesty, and reliability were pivotal to the job function.

Share how skills, values, and abilities played a significant part in ensuring the job function's performance. From there, alignment to the caregiver role and job function can be made. This is beneficial for those who may have no previous caregiver experience.

For more information please visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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