Sign Up to Receive PHI Alerts

Three Steps to Improve the Hiring Process in Direct Care

By Kezia Scales, PhD (she/her) | June 30, 2018

Editor’s Note: This excerpt is from Growing a Strong Direct Care Workforce: A Recruitment and Retention Guide for Employers.

Even when starting with a smaller, more selective applicant pool, a robust hiring process is essential. Be sure to build in plenty of opportunities to assess whether candidates possess the right attributes for the job and will fit well with your organization’s mission and values.

Try these three steps to successful hiring:

Hold information sessions

Information sessions help candidates learn about the job and decide whether to continue the application process. By observing their interactions, you can also obtain an initial impression of a candidate’s suitability for a caregiving role. If possible, ask current workers and supervisors to lead the information sessions, since they can provide the most complete and honest picture of the job; this can help reduce attrition due to misunderstandings about what the job entails.

Invite candidates to follow up

Ask candidates to call your office to schedule an interview, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their interest, initiative, and accountability.

Conduct individual interviews

Don’t rely on generic questions about availability and experience. Instead, develop interview questions that elicit a candidate’s core values; interpersonal skills; reliability and accountability; critical thinking and decision-making abilities; and willingness to learn. Also, discuss the types of supports that may help each candidate succeed in their new role, such as assistance with transportation, childcare, navigating the immigration system, and more.

One More Thought: Hire for Character, Train for Skill.

One of the most important questions to ask in a direct care interview is: “Tell me about a meaningful relationship you’ve had with an older person or a person with a disability, and how that relationship has impacted you.” Caregiving skills can be taught, but a caring nature is essential.


How can long-term care providers improve their recruitment and retention? Read our new guide, where you can also find a list of citations.


Kezia Scales, PhD (she/her)
About The Author

Kezia Scales, PhD (she/her)

Vice President of Research & Evaluation
Kezia Scales leads PHI’s strategy for building the evidence base on state and national policies and workforce interventions that improve direct care jobs, elevate this essential workforce, and strengthen care processes and outcomes.

Caring for the Future

Our new policy report takes an extensive look at today's direct care workforce—in five installments.

Workforce Data Center

From wages to employment statistics, find the latest data on the direct care workforce.