Caregiver Interviewing Tips from Senior Home Care Agencies

Caregivers seeking a part-time, full-time or live-in job position with a senior home care agency will want to make a positive first impression in the job interview.

Caregiverlist asked a few senior home care agencies to share their interviewing tips. As the saying goes, a first impression, just like a picture, is worth a thousand words and has the power to last forever. Make yours a good one for your future employer to remember by following these tips from senior home care agency owners.

Donna Walker, from Home and Hearth Care, serving Chicagoland, shares the following tips.

Dress Appropriately: no jeans, no sweatshirts, no low-cut tops, no perfumes. Remember less is more. Ask the agency to find out if they are looking for a more clinical appearance; then scrubs would be appropriate. Wear clean, modest clothing.

Be on Time: 5 minutes early is a good rule to follow.

Be Prepared + Treat Your Interviewer Like You Would Treat a Senior Client

  • Create a resume bullet-pointing your skill sets. (Caregiverlist offers a free resume builder tool).
  • Compile a portfolio of previous clients: a picture of the Caregiver with the clients on one side and hand-written reference notes on the other side.
  • Share positive personal stories about your caregiving experiences, for example: Rose and I loved to bake bread using an old family recipe. I would get the ingredients and she would instruct me on the proper kneading techniques and share stories about making bread with her own mother during the Depression.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Engage in conversation as much as possible.
  • Ask them when they need you to start and assume the sale. Let them know that you want to work for them and can’t wait to start.
  • Be genuine and honest. Your enthusiasm and caring nature will shine through.

Kathy Petrick, Vice President of Home Helpers Chicagoland Marketing Co-op shares the following caregiver interview tips.

“I look for caregivers who are able to bring their heart and personal insight to a client’s needs or behaviors. A caregiver’s ability to use both their skills and experiences to serve the client in an unassuming way are important. A caregiver must be patient because they will need to understand that the clients thinking or body may move more slowly than theirs. For instance, letting me know they can listen to a dementia patient tell a story they’ve been told fifteen times before as if it’s the first time they’ve heard it. This is what is a blessing to the family and makes an excellent caregiver!

Important Caregiver Interview Skills to Have and Communicate:

  • References
  • Previous employment that indicates they have the caregiving skills and reliability
  • Sense of humor
  • Flexibility: a client’s needs may change from day to day
  • Ability to provide joy in any situation
  • Volunteer work, charity organizations or church affiliations can provide the potential of a caregiver
  • Experience caring for a family member or seeing a loved one cared for during an illness will often result in the ability to empathize with a client situation and these types of stories should be shared during an interview

And a few more caregiver interviewing tips from Chris Gerardi, President, Home Helpers, Wheaton, Illinois.

“We really see value when a caregiver brings with them written recommendations from previous clients. It shows initiative on their part to market their skills. We also like it when caregivers can provide specific examples of experiences they had that exhibit their willingness to do something extra for a client or their family that goes beyond the typical service, particularly when it displays their ability to improve the quality of life for the client.”

Chris says: “Dependability is a key attribute, you cannot teach this and it is critical in our business. We also like to see specific experience in properly dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia clients as the numbers are increasing with this affliction and caregivers who know how to professionally and compassionately manage this with the client are very valuable.”

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