Common Caregiver Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 22, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated July 22, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

Being a caregiver requires skills like having technical medical abilities and being a highly organized and detail-oriented worker. Because of the wide range of traits needed for success in this role, candidates should be prepared to address many behavior and activity-related questions and in some cases, should be prepared to show certifications and pass checks that confirm eligibility.

In this article, we discuss what to expect in a caregiver interview and how to answer five common interview questions.

What to expect in a caregiver interview

A caregiver is someone who typically works with adults that have special needs and frequently require attendance from a medical professional. This includes the elderly, those in hospice care and people with other impactful medical conditions. Those looking for caregivers might seek out honesty, thoughtfulness and compassionate care when selecting someone to offer medical services to their loved one or a patient in their care.

For this reason, a caregiver interview might include questions that test your knowledge of healthcare principles, but will also likely present questions geared at learning more about you and your values. After all, if hired, you’ll likely be spending considerable time with patients, and possibly even in someone’s home, so it’s important to make sure you’re both a fit because of your skills and your overall demeanor.

Caregivers work in home health care, but also in clinics, hospitals, nonprofit shelters, group homes and other agencies that provide adult care.

Related: Learn About Being a Caregiver

Common caregiver interview questions

Caregiver interview questions are geared toward getting to know you better, including your work style, bedside manner, and of course, your medical skills and experience.

Interviewers will likely mix behavioral questions with technical ones, so you need to be comfortable discussing your competencies, soft skills, hard skills and core values. Here are some examples of caregiver interview questions with sample answers, using the STAR method of answering interview questions where applicable, so you can better understand how to tailor it to your experience:

  • Explain what qualities make you a good caregiver.

  • Describe your work history.

  • What are important skills for a caregiver to have?

  • How do you respond to difficult clients?

  • What would you do if it’s after your shift but your replacement has not arrived?

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Response Method

Explain what qualities make you a good caregiver.

There’s a nuanced difference between what qualities someone embodies and what skills they may have. Instead, imagine the question is asking about what “attributes” make you a good caregiver. 

This goes back to a common job search practice of understanding your skills versus your attributes. Qualities or attributes are intrinsic personality traits, and they speak to your overall demeanor and behaviors. While skills—both hard and soft—can be learned, developed and worked on until competency is reached, attributes are qualities you exude. Some examples of qualities that might be useful in a caregiver profession include:

  • Positivity

  • Engagement

  • Motivation

  • Honesty

  • Reliability

  • Flexibility

  • Patience

  • Kindness

Example: “I believe my most useful qualities in this role are patience and kindness. In my role as a caregiver in a group home for the elderly, I was frequently the only attending caregiver on my floor overnight. I had one gentleman who would always buzz me to attend to him, but because he was experiencing memory loss and dementia, when I arrived he would forget he just buzzed me for the same thing. I always showed him kindness and patience, and as a result, he requested me as his caregiver when he left the group home to live with a family member. They hired me for in-home care.”

Describe your work history

In a caregiver role, someone’s background can be vitally important. This question asks about previous work experience, which is a good indicator of success in the role. That said, questions about background might include some with binary answers like, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”  or “Would you consent to a background check?” 

If your job as a caregiver includes driving people from place to place, an employer may ask about your driving record. They will likely conduct a reference check and could even reserve the right to pull a credit check.

The idea behind background questions and checks is to get a full picture of your skills, values and abilities, so use questions like these to display you’re a right fit for the interviewer.

Example: “I’ve worked in many healthcare roles. I started my career as a medical assistant for Emexee Health after receiving a vocational degree in medical assisting and achieving certification. During that time, I worked primarily in home health, traveling from client to client.

After a few years of experience, the Fort Hampton Group Home hired me__ as an overnight caregiver. I worked as the sole attendee for the elderly ward. Later, I was hired to work independently as a caregiver to one of my clients. I feel most comfortable in home health care, since that’s where I started my career journey, and it brings me a lot of joy and fulfillment knowing I’m doing good things as I see people through some of their most difficult years and life transitions.”

Related: Caregiver Resume Samples

What are important skills for a caregiver to have?

While a question like this might arise toward the beginning of the interview, it still requires a good degree of thoughtful consideration to answer thoroughly. If you’re being asked this question, you need to focus on measurable skills. 

There are several skills you can choose from that a caregiver should have, but you’re being asked to determine the most important. Consider, for a moment, all the important skills displayed by caregivers. In this instance, it might be a good practice to prioritize skills that encourage the patient’s mental and physical well-being, including:

  • Practical application of medical knowledge or education

  • Communication and interpersonal skills

  • Problem-solving skills

Example: “Caregivers must be good listeners and empathetic conversationalists. They should be detail-oriented, diligent problem solvers and have technical medical skills to apply to patients as needed. __In my last role as a home health aid, my client was feeling depressed. After a long, heartfelt talk with him, I learned he missed going outside.

I assisted his family in moving him into a room with a South-facing window so he could get more sunlight, even when he was on bed rest. I was able to use my problem-solving and communication skills to bring my client more peace, and I realized how important those soft skills are to the role. I also used my medical skills to help him get set back up with all the equipment he needed to thrive.”

Related: Caregiver Cover Letter

How do you deal with difficult clients?

Questions with negative posturing can be tricky to navigate because you always want to speak positively about previous work experiences. This is a good opportunity to not only answer this question respectfully but display a calm demeanor and show how you handle stressful situations diplomatically.

You’re less likely to get stuck on this question by going into your interview with few examples that you’re ready to talk about, and you can retake control of the conversation by steering it toward your past experiences and successes.

Example: “To answer this question, I’d like to give you an example that comes from my personal experience as a home health caregiver early in my career.

I was just out of college at my first job when a client in my care became very agitated. I took a few steps back, making sure my demeanor was calm and nonthreatening, and brought family members in to assist. When my client was relaxed, I knelt to his level, took his hand, looked him in the eye and explained why I was there in a calm, quiet voice.

This became common practice for me when I entered the room. I would meet the client at his level, take his hand, and explain who I was and what I would be doing that day. It helped him feel less stressed, and eventually he began to recognize me as his caregiver.”

What would you do if it’s after your shift but your replacement has not arrived?

Some qualities that caregivers should display are patience, loyalty and reliability. These are traits vital to the role because you can’t ever leave your charge without care. This question provides the opportunity to explain how you use these traits in daily operations. 

A thorough answer should display patience with the situation, loyalty to the patient, and an overall responsibility to be reliable, but it should also include steps you would take to resolve the issue.

Example: “If I were in a situation where my relief had not arrived after my shift had ended, I would wait with the patient. I could never leave someone in my charge unattended. I would call my manager to make them aware of the situation, and if it seems my replacement won’t be arriving, I would ask the company to send someone else to relieve me and stay with the patient until the issue is resolved.”

Caregiver interview tips

Use these caregiver interview tips to make sure you’re fully prepared for the interview ahead of you:

  • Be friendly and neat.

  • Provide your resume with licenses and credentials.

  • Express concern for the person who needs care.

Be friendly and neat

Hygiene is essential in this role, considering much of what you are doing will be assisting a client with their own hygiene. It’s vital to your success that you look the part of someone who is neat and meticulous. Consider going to interview very well-groomed and keep up that appearance once hired. Being in healthcare means paying attention to your cleanliness and using strategies to avoid spreading germs and bacteria.

Provide your resume with licenses and credentials

Given the importance your background plays in your ultimate success in this role, it is a good practice to show up prepared to discuss your credentials and provide evidence of the achievement. The more credentials you can establish before you set out on your journey as a caregiver, the better. Having certifications in home care or medical assisting can be an asset in this field and shows your commitment to the path of caregiving.

Express concern for the person who needs care

In healthcare, it’s significant to be kind, caring, considerate and empathetic. As a caregiver, your demeanor can be pivotal to your success in the role. That’s one of the reasons why you may come across quite a few behavioral questions during the interview process. Allow yourself to show emotions like caring and concern during the interview process. In this instance, it is to your benefit to display the depth of your emotional intelligence by remaining calm and encouraging, being friendly and understanding, and asking a lot of questions that show concern for the client.

Related: Top 6 Common Interview Questions and Answers

Jenn, an Indeed Career Coach, breaks down the intentions behind employer's questions and shares strategies for crafting strong responses.

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