Hiring a Private Caregiver

When choosing to hire a private caregiver, it is essential that you fully comprehend your specific duties and responsibilities. Without a home care agency to manage the hiring process, it is entirely up to you. You are required to:


1. Screen the private caregiver

            2. Interview the private caregiver

            3. Perform reference checks

            4. Perform background checks


1. Screen the private caregiver:


After you have thoroughly assessed you or your loved one’s situation and determined that a private caregiver is the right choice for you, you can begin looking for possible candidates for the job. You should begin by making a job description of what you are specifically looking for in a caregiver. This will help when you are reviewing resumes and eliminating those that are not pertinent to your situation.

            Screening a private caregiver begins by looking carefully at his or her resume. Does the caregiver meet all of your needs depicted in your job description? Do you have a good feeling about the level of experience portrayed on the resume? Do they have appropriate health care training? After reviewing a multitude of resumes, choose the applicants that seem like they would be a perfect fit for you or your loved one.

            The next part of the screening process is to call the numbers given on the applicants’ resumes. Speak with each applicant and agree upon an interview time that would be convenient for the both of you. If you do not feel that the applicant is a perfect fit for you based on the telephone conversation alone, simply tell them you will further review their resume and then move on to the next applicant. You are now ready to interview your potential private caregivers.


2. Interview the private caregiver:


To begin the interview process, you must develop an interview format that you will use for each applicant you will be interviewing. Using the same format for all of the applicants will make it much easier to compare and contrast their answers. First, you will need to ask basic questions about work expectations and requirements. Here are a few examples:


  • What type of qualifications do you have?
  • Do you have a driver’s license, registration, and car?
  • What types of diagnoses are you familiar with?
  • What types of medications have you administered?
  • What hours are you available?
  • Are you available to spend the night?
  • How many patients have you cared for?
  • What other commitments do you have at this moment?
  • Are you a legal resident?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
  • Is anything on your criminal record that would affect my decision to hire you?
  • Do I have your permission to conduct a background check on you?
  • Do I have your permissions to contact your references?
  • What do you charge per hour?


After asking basic questions, you will then need to develop questions that will give you a better understanding of the applicants’ character and work ethic. These questions should prompt the applicant to provide specific examples and explanations. Examples of these types of questions include:


  • Tell me a time you had to deal with a stressful situation and explain how you dealt with it.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses in a work environment? Give me examples.
  • What do you like most/least about caregiving? Why?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • Tell me a time when you had to make a judgment call that did not coincide with the rules. How did this make you feel?
  • What would you do in case of an emergency?
  • Tell me a time when your emotions got the best of you.
  • Do you have any questions that will help clarify the specific job requirements?


            You will want to make sure that your potential private caregiver is entirely clear on what the job requires. There should be no surprises later on. You may want to have a second opinion before hiring a private caregiver. If it makes you feel more comfortable, ask a family member or friend to be a part of the interview process with you.


 3. Perform reference checks:


In order to ensure that private caregivers are not misrepresenting themselves, you must check their references carefully. Checking references is imperative to the hiring process. It will reaffirm that the caregiver you are hiring is reliable, dependable, honest, and most importantly, the perfect fit for you or your loved one. Speaking with others who know the applicant is a great way to determine whether or not they are entirely qualified for the job. Although it may take more time and energy to contact references, it will prove beneficial in the long run. You should check an applicant’s references only after you have completed an interview and determined that the applicant has hiring potential. This will make the reference checking process more efficient and less time consuming.

Once you have determined that a private caregiver may be a perfect match for you or your loved one, the first step is telling them that you are going to contact the references that they have provided. Ask each applicant to sign a release form stating that you are permitted to contact their references and gather information about their past qualifications and experiences. This release form will ensure that you are not held responsible for the information you obtain and will prevent an applicant from taking legal action against you or any previous employers. Without a release form, you may only be able to obtain surface level information. If you experience any problems gathering the detailed information you need, you will have the release form available. Employers will be more likely to give you the information you desire if they feel comfortable sharing it with you.

After you acquire both a verbal and written agreement from your potential caregiver, you can now develop a reference checking format. Using the same format to check all of your applicants’ references will make it much easier to compare information across applicants. The reference checking format should begin with surface level information. For example:


  • The name of the applicant
  • The name of the reference
  • The company’s name, address, and telephone number
  • The applicant’s employment dates, starting and ending rate of pay, and starting and ending position.


You should then develop questions that delve further into the applicant’s qualifications, experiences, and character. You should ask questions that require a specific and detailed answer. Examples of these types of questions include:


  • Describe how the applicant handled stressful situations
  • Describe a time when the applicant showed dependability
  • What was the applicant’s attendance record?
  • What are the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • Describe the applicant’s attitude toward their work environment.
  • Describe the relationship you have with the applicant.
  • Would you recommend the applicant for this specific position? Why or why not?
  • What were the applicant’s specific duties and responsibilities?
  • Would you rehire the applicant? Why or why not?
  • Why did the applicant leave?
  • Describe your general evaluation of the applicant.


You may also ask the reference to give any alternative information they think will help represent the applicant. After checking all the references your applicants have provided, you will have acquired vital information to help you make the perfect decision.



4. Perform background checks:


A background check is entirely different from a reference check, but it is equally as important. A private caregiver’s record must be checked thoroughly because you must verify that the caregiver you are hiring is honest, dependable, responsible, and most importantly, safe. There are many different aspects of background checks to consider when determining whether or not you should hire a private caregiver. Before conducting a background check, you should make certain that it includes a variety of factors.

The background check you choose should match the applicant’s name to their social security number. You will need to make sure that the background check includes a criminal background check. This will ensure that you or your loved one’s safety will not be at risk. A criminal background check will reveal any convictions for offenses that may be a cause for concern, such as theft, drug offences, assault charges, and more. The criminal background check should verify the court records in every location the applicant has ever lived. Make sure that the applicant provides you with each and every one of their previous addresses. Also make sure that you ask the applicant if they have ever been convicted of a felony or anything that would affect your decision in hiring them.

You should also ensure that the background check includes both a sex offender check and a driving record check. A driving record check will determine whether or not the applicant has a Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s license, vehicle registration, automobile insurance, and a driving record. Make sure that the background check includes financial information that will reveal credit records. Background checks may also include additional personal references, neighbor interviews, character references, and information regarding past employers.

Most background checks require a fee, so if you see an opportunity to conduct a free background check, take it. Background checks must follow the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA states that information may only be provided from the past seven years. When it comes to hiring a caregiver, it is important to check the laws within your state to determine whether you can obtain any information that goes further than seven years. After conducting a background check, you can compare the results to the information the applicant has already provided. This is a great way to ensure that your potential private caregiver is being entirely honest with you.