What to Ask Potential Providers


Posted by Eva Owens

What to Ask Potential Providers? You are offering a job to someone who is looking for work, so your approach to the interview is important

To start with, the person you interview may be nervous. Put them at ease, call them by their first name, maintain eye contact and tell them a little about yourself. This would be an ideal time for them to review the job description you’ve prepared.

Pay special attention to the following areas on their application and feel free to ask questions about:

  • Length of time at previous jobs
  • Gaps in employment
  • Reasons for leaving each job
  • Attitude about previous jobs (what did they like/dislike?)
  • Phone number for each consumer (Can they contact other consumers? Wouldn’t this be a HIPPA violation if the consumer were a Medicaid client?

After you are satisfied with the application, go through the job description with the applicant, making sure they understand what the job involves.

It is important to have a written list of questions so that all applicants are asked the same questions and you don’t miss anything important. What you ask will depend on your own needs and desire. To start making your own list, it may be helpful to again think about people who have helped you in the past:

  • What did you like about their performance?
  • What did you like about their personality?
  • What did you not like?
  • What would have made you more satisfied?

What to look for during an Interview: First impressions and gut feelings are ok to go with, this your interview and you are looking for a right fit for what your care needs are:

  • Appearance: Is the applicant dressed appropriately? Are they neat,
    well -groomed and wearing clean clothes?
  • Punctuality: If the applicant is late, you deserve a good explanation, preferably one you can check.
  • Attitude: Does the applicant seem interested? Do they ask questions and make comments about the job? Do they seem open and flexible? Does the job fit with what t hey state are their goals and lifestyle?

Common Interview Questions: You may choose to ask only a few, or all of them:

  • Can you give me more details?
  • Can you please explain further…
  • That’s very interesting, I would like to hear more about your experience.

Experiential Interview Questions: Asking job candidates to describe scenarios related to their past work performance is helpful for gaining insight into how a prospective provider might act on the job.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you think you would like this job?
  • Do you have any questions about the job? What did you do in a typical day at your last job?
  • What experiences have you had that prepare you for this job?
  • What part of this job do you think would be the most difficult?
  • What would you do if you had a disagreement about a job responsibility? 
  • What would you do if…(make up an example that she or he would have to talk about)
    For example: "What would you do if you were trying to help me transfer from my wheelchair to my recliner and my dog kept getting in between me and the chair?
  • If the Individual Provider has done this type of work you may want to try these: Describe a typical day in your most recent job working
    with a person with a disability. What was your favorite thing to do? What was your least favorite?
  • Tell me about the most difficult situation you have ever encountered. How did you deal with it?
  • Describe your skills and experience in providing assistance and
    support with personal care and household chores.

Remember, you are interviewing a worker that will be spending time in your home. You may need to get more personal information about habits, preferences, likes and dislikes so that you can determine if you and the applicant will be a good fit. The following are some areas you might consider asking about:

Food and Eating Arrangements 

  • Do you have experience cooking?
  • How do you feel about taking cooking instructions from me?
  • Are you willing to accommodate special diets?


  • Can you drive?
  • Do you have a valid driver’s license? (Ask to see it.)
  • Do you have valid insurance? (Ask to see proof of insurance.)
  • How do you feel about accompanying me for Medical Appointments and/or Grocery shopping?
  • Have you had experience with housekeeping and laundry?
  • Do you like things very neat, or are you not particular?
  • How do you feel about taking cleaning instructions from me?
  • Do you like a definite schedule for cleaning and laundry (example: vacuum on Monday, scrub floors on Tuesday), or do you prefer to be more flexible? 

Personal Care (Avoid any questions about age, disability, marital status, religion, race, or ethnicity.)

  • Do you think it would bother you to help me with toileting, catheter irrigations or suppositories? (if necessary)
  • Will you be able to bathe me? (if necessary)
  • Is there any part of my care that makes you uncomfortable?

Once you have completed the interview and you are prioritizing your applicants, it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will this applicant be able to meet my daily living needs?
  • Can I live with this person? (if applicable)
  • Can I depend on this person?
  • Can I trust this person?
  • Can I see any conflicting areas with this person?

A special thank you for the above questions and content from our partners at the Home Care Referral Registry of Washington State. For more details and additional tips read their full pamphlet here: How to Hire and Supervise Your Home Care Worker

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