Checklist: Hiring In-Home Helpers

Written by Julia on October 28, 2015

Be Prepared: Specific questions when hiring in-home helpers

Before beginning the interview process, think about what specific services you may need from the helper. When a job applicant calls, give a short job description, time and day shift expectations, salary, and benefits. Grant interviews only to those being considered for the position. Ask other family members or a friend to be present during interviews for feedback and support. Check all references before hiring. 

Hiring In-home Helpers Checklist

Today’s Date                                                                                       

Applicant’s Name:                                                                               


Contact Information:                                                                 

Referring Agency:                                                                               

Agency Contact Information:                                                                

Ask the applicant:

  • What makes you interested in this kind of work?
  • Tell me about your past home care work experience.
  • Why did you leave your last position?
  • Are you in this country legally? Ask for proof
  • Have you received any special training?
  • Do you have any problems that might hinder you in this job?
  • How do you feel about alcohol, drugs, and smoking?
  • Is there anything about this job that you would not be willing to do? (Laundry, cooking, etc.)
  • What is your time commitment to this position?
  • Are you willing to do household chores like cooking and light housekeeping?
  • How flexible is your schedule?
  • Do you have a current driver’s license?
  • Do you have a car at your disposal? Would you be willing and able to drive my car?
  • How would you cover your shift if you were ill and could not come to work?
  • What would you do in the case of an emergency?

Ask the agency:

  • Are you licensed and accredited? By whom?
  • Is your agency bonded? Is your worker bonded?
  • Who pays insurance, taxes, and handles employer responsibilities?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you accept Medicare?
  • Do you offer sliding-scale fees?
  • What are the fees for services provided by your worker?
  • What costs are not covered?
  • Who pays the worker, you or me?
  • What are the minimum and maximum hours of service?
  • Are there limits to services provided?
  • What is your screening process when hiring workers?
  • How do you supervise your workers?
  • Is the worker specially trained to work with older adults?
  • Do you find a replacement if your worker is ill or on vacation?
  • Do I continue to pay your worker while my relative is in the hospital?
  • Can your agency provide me with references on you and your worker?
  • What is the process when a worker does not show up?
  • How soon can a worker begin?

Ask the reference:

  • How long have you known this applicant?
  • What was the applicant’s position and job description?
  • Why did the applicant leave your employment?
  • How well did the applicant get along with others?
  • What were the applicant’s strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Did you find the applicant trustworthy?
  • Were you aware of any substance abuse? Smoking?
  • Would you rehire the applicant?
  • (Describe the job you have in mind.) Is the applicant well suited for the job?

Ask yourself:

  • Do I really believe this person is right for the job?
  • Will this person take charge and respond quickly in an emergency?
  • Is this person organized? Neat? Flexible? Energetic? Pleasant?
  • Does this person have the right training and experience for this job?
  • Will this person get along with my elder? Family? Others?
  • Will this person know when to consult the family?
  • Is this person be sensitive to family traditions?
  • Does this person do okay with pets if one is in the household?
  • Do family members like and trust this person?
  • Do family members believe this person can handle this job?

About the Author

Reprinted with permission from Joy Loverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner (revised and updated, 2009, Random House). Everything you need is in this book. Time- and money-saving checklists, worksheets, websites, step-by-step action plans, low-cost resources, and questions to ask professionals—an essential resource for anyone struggling with the many challenges that face today’s caregivers.  

Joy Loverde is a popular keynote speaker for a variety of audiences. She has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Early Show, National Public Radio, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Consumer Reports. For more information