When using paid caregivers, it is important to be systematic about recruiting, interviewing and hiring new caregivers because it is expensive to train a new worker and exhausting to become familiar with a new person being in your home. Furthermore, because of the unstructured environment and casual management style associated with caregiving, the job can be attractive to those people who are not qualified to work elsewhere.
1. Start out with good organization.
The first step is the hardest: be attractive to potential caregivers. Good organization with minimal chaos should already be in order. Good workers require good role models; if all they know is a sick boss who is always laid up on the sofa, they are likely to do the same. Using a binder or notebook and a friend to volunteer, write lists of your needs and preferences. Include information about your condition, treatment, medications and interests or hobbies. Also write down your expectations of a caregiver and what their responsibilities are to be.
2. Recruit students or hobbyist seeking to better themselves.
The number one most important task of any worker is to show up for work. One disadvantage to the job of caregiving is that the work environment is casual and that sometimes spills over into attendance. Therefore, to find a caregiver who will show up it is best to look where other employers look – colleges and other service organizations where people volunteer to show up.
3. Allow the caregiving job to be your worker’s secondary interest.
Since caregiving is not a career-oriented job, you may have to make compromises in order to attract quality workers to be your caregiver. When your caregivers have other interests such as school or a sports activity, make accommodations in their schedule so that they have the opportunity to achieve their goals. Consider flexibility in scheduling to be your #1 asset in managing your caregivers.
4. Diversify your help. Do not depend on any one single caregiver for your care.
This tip offers twofold advice. Firstly, if your caregiving needs require a substantial number of hours, avoid being any caregiver’s sole source of livelihood. Your health condition should not be commodity that anyone can exploit and this is more likely to happen if you do not diversify your caregivers. Secondly, with several caregivers, you are more able to accommodate the special interests your other caregivers have without having to sacrifice your care.
5. Offer your good caregivers a finder’s fee for recruiting new caregivers.
When you have a good caregiver, they often associate with other good people. Your best source for new caregivers is right in your own living room. Offer your established caregivers financial reward for locating a new hire. If the new person works out for at least six weeks, a finder's fee has been earned. If the new person doesn't work out, you lose nothing. The advantage to engaging your established caregivers in finding future coworkers is they have a vested interest in a successful outcome.
6. Try to find candidates whom you share common interests.
When hiring caregivers, it is very important for safety reasons to conduct a telephone interview before having the candidate come to your home. In the phone interview, ask the candidate what are their hobbies, interests and life goals. The manner in which the person answers this question will let you know if they are compatible with your lifestyle. It is not imperative for you to share the same interests as your caregiver but it certainly makes the time spent together more meaningful if you do have something in common.
7. Interview several candidates before making a hiring decision.
Before conducting any interviews in your home, ask a friend or family member to be present. Doing this not only ensures your safety but it also gives you another set of eyes and ears to better judge the candidates while you engage in the interview. Afterwards, ask for their observations, insights and opinions. Be mindful not to be impulsive by hiring the first candidate you meet no matter how desperate you may be for help.
Fay Mikiska is the author of the CaregivingTool: For Managing Your Caregivers and Repair & AfterCare: For Post-Op Home Recovery. She has been a caregiving recipient for over 27 years. She was born in 1956 and calls Midtown Sacramento her home. For more information about the CaregivingTool, please visit http://caregivingtool.com/.