Setting up a Job Description and Contract

The purpose of a job description or contract is to clarify the duties and responsibilities of both the employer and the worker. Having a formalized agreement is essential if there is a dispute about salary, hours of work, tasks, etc. A contract/job description can always be revised or updated as needed. It is important to be as specific as you can in a contract, to lessen the chances for confusion or disagreement. If the job involves special skills such as lifting into the bath tub or giving medications, the worker should be trained and experienced in those skills. You can find a sample contract form here.

Arranging an Interview

When contacting possible workers, ask a few questions on the phone before setting up an interview. For example, inquire about their work history and other experience. Once you have decided which applicants meet your qualifications, schedule the interview. You might want to check out some of the applicant’s references prior to the interview.

For the interview

Have your sample contract ready for the applicant to read. Write down the name, address and telephone number of the applicant. Below are some suggested interview questions. Feel free to make up your own list of questions which meet your particular needs.

  • Where have you worked before? What kinds of things have you done?
  • Tell me something about your family, hobbies, interests, etc.
  • Have you ever provided care for a person similar to what this job requires?
  • How do you feel about cooking and eating what someone else wants?
  • How do you handle people who are angry or violent?
  • Why are you choosing to do this kind of work?
  • What makes you uncomfortable or angry?
  • What is your attitude about smoking, drinking, or using drugs?
  • Is there anything in the job description which you would not do?
  • What commitment to staying on this job are you willing to make?
  • What training have you had? (CPR, First Aid, CNA, Fundamentals of Caregiving, etc.)
  • Please give me two work-related and one personal reference.

A printable version of the sample interview questions is available here.

Review the following checklist before ending the interview. If the applicant is obviously unsuited, be non-committal about future contact. Remind a suitable applicant that you will need to check references before making a decision.

Interview Checklist

  • Was the person on time for the interview?
  • Was his/her appearance and grooming appropriate for the occasion?
  • Did the applicant and I agree on the terms and conditions of the contract?
  • Do I need to modify my contract before employing this person? How?
  • Did I get at least three references to call to verify his/her ability to perform needed services?
  • Did I say when I would probably notify the applicant of his/her acceptance or non-acceptance?
  • Do I have the name and number of the applicant?
  • Did I feel comfortable or at ease with the person?
  • Did I note anything that made me uncomfortable? (dress, speech, behavior, etc)
  • If the job involves special skills (such as lifting into the bathtub or cooking diabetic meals), will the worker require specialized training?

Checking References- NEVER hire someone without checking references!

Before making a hiring decision, call at least three references to learn more about the applicant. Briefly describe why you are looking for a worker and ask the reference if the applicant would be a good match for your situation.

Questions to Ask References:

  1. How long have you known ______________? Dates? In what relationship?
  2. Is ___________working for you now? Has ______ worked for you in the past? (If no longer working for reference, ask): Why did ________ leave? Would you re-hire?
  3. What was ______’s position with you? Can you tell me more about his/her responsibilities?
  4. How did_______ get along with you and/or others?
  5. What were your impressions of _____ as a worker?
  6. Did _______ show initiative or wait to be told what to do?
  7. Did you find _______ reliable, trustworthy and honest?
  8. Was _______ punctual and dependable?
  9. What were his/her strengths and weaknesses?
  10. Were you aware of any problems with drugs or alcohol?
  11. Any other problems that could interfere with ______’s performance?

Background Checks

Finally, you might want to perform formal background checks on your top candidate. There a quite a few online background check services that verify social security numbers, check criminal and sex offender databases as well as motor vehicle records search. Here are some examples of the services:


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