7 steps for hiring a great in-home caregiver
When hiring a caregiver for in-home help for your older adult, you’ll want to find someone who gets along with them and does a great job caring for them.
But caregiver hiring is easier said than done, especially if you’ve never hired anyone before.
To help you find someone wonderful, we share 7 steps to walk you through the entire process.
Use these steps to find, hire, and keep the best person for the job.
1. Write a clear job description
Writing a clear job description is essential for finding candidates who are willing and able to do what’s needed to care for your older adult.
To do this, carefully think through your older adult’s needs so you can include all the tasks you’ll expect them to do.
It may help to mentally walk through a full week of care, hour by hour.
Creating a clear and specific job description will also help you figure out how many hours of care are needed, how much flexibility is needed, and how much to pay.
2. Be flexible and fair about pay if you’re hiring independently
If you’re hiring independently rather than using an agency with non-negotiable rates, you may want to consider being flexible about pay so you have a chance to interview the best candidates.
In the job posting, state that the hourly rate is flexible based on experience.
This often helps get responses from candidates with more experience – and that extra experience may be well worth a slightly higher rate.
It’s also important to pay the going rate in your area.
If you offer to pay a lot less than the average rate, the job applicants are not as likely to have the care skills your older adult needs.
To get an idea of the hourly rates in your older adult’s area, look at postings for caregiving jobs that are similar to yours to get a sense for the average rates.
3. Pay legally
You could try to save money by paying your hired caregiver cash “under the table” and skipping the employment taxes.
But if you or your caregiver gets audited by the IRS, it could mean big trouble that far outweighs any potential savings.
Creating your own W-2s and tax forms isn’t too difficult, but you can also get help from an accountant, use an online payroll service like Intuit, or use a caregiver-focused service like Care.com’s HomePay.
4. Have multiple interviews and a trial period
Interviewing a potential caregiver just once doesn’t give you enough information to make a good decision.
To get a more complete picture, consider having 3 interviews:
- A brief screening interview via phone to make sure they meet basic requirements
- An in-person interview to meet candidates who pass the phone screen
- An in-person interview where the top 1 or 2 candidates meet your older adult
An interview is one thing, but real-life is something else entirely.
After choosing a great caregiver candidate, it’s a good idea to arrange a trial period before making the job permanent.
This gives you a chance to observe how well they get along with your older adult and how they handle the caregiving tasks.
It also gives the caregiver a chance to make sure the job meets their expectations.
Get tips on setting up a trial period here. It’s written for child care, but applies to senior care as well.
5. Ask plenty of questions during the interview
Asking questions during the interview helps you find someone responsible, trustworthy, and compassionate.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their past experience or ask what they would do in specific situations that often happen with your older adult.
For example, if your older adult has dementia and incontinence, ask what they would do if your older adult refused their attempts to remove a dirty brief and get cleaned up. Or, ask how they would handle it if your older adult refused to take their medication.
For more ideas, check our list of questions to ask when hiring a caregiver here.
6. Check their references
Even if the person you interviewed seemed fantastic, it’s still wise to do background checks and call all of their references.
Ask how the person performed on the job, if they would hire that person again, and if they’d recommend the candidate for your job.
Since older adults are at greater risk for fraud or abuse, it’s wise to check for a criminal record in all the states where the person has lived or been employed.
7. Sign an employment contract
Creating an employment contract is an important part of hiring a caregiver for in-home help.
A contract doesn’t have to be complicated. The purpose of the document is to clearly lay out the details you’ve discussed.
Both you and the caregiver sign the document to show that the job expectations are clear and that you both agree to the terms.
Be sure to include:
- Detailed job description
- Hours / schedule
- Pay rate and pay periods
- Anything else you’ve agreed upon during the interview process
Recommended for you:
- 3 Tips to Help You Choose Between Assisted Living vs In Home Care
- When They Say No: 8 Ways to Introduce In-Home Care for Seniors
- 5 Ways to Keep an Eye on Your Senior’s In Home Caregiver
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
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