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Why this matters:

Depending on the role you’re trying to fill, this question can apply to all clients (e.g., injured, mentally or physically impaired, etc.). There are actions personal care assistants should and shouldn’t make when working with the elderly, so the candidate should be familiar with them. This will show you the level of knowledge they have on working with clients and give you an idea of how prepared they are for the role.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated ability to care for elderly clients
  • Details that show how the candidate would adjust care for elderly clients
  • Details that show how the candidate would adjust care for someone physically or mentally impaired

Why this matters:

Personal care assistants (PCA) are invited into the lives of their clients and clients’ families in a very personal way — so it’s important for clients to feel comfortable and able to trust their PCA. Candidates should have impeccable ethics when it comes to client confidentiality — both in and outside of a client’s home.

What to listen for:

  • An understanding of how important it is to keep client details confidential
  • Knowledge of how a breach in confidentiality may impact your company
  • Mention of a protocol they follow when it comes to confidentiality

Why this matters:

Personal care assistants often perform duties for their clients that can diminish client feelings of privacy, self-sufficiency, and control. It’s important for personal care assistants to understand this. A good personal care assistant has some tactics for honoring client dignity throughout their care.

What to listen for:

  • A sense of empathy toward client circumstances
  • Healthy respect and regard for clients
  • Tactics for upholding a sense of control and autonomy for clients — even in the most seemingly invasive situations

Why this matters:

Personal care assistants provide structure for their clients, which in turn offers consistency and comfort in their daily lives. Daily activities might include medication, exercise, meals, physical therapy, and mental stimulation. This answer will show you the candidate’s experience developing and sticking to a routine.

What to listen for:

  • Clear understanding of the importance of maintaining consistency in client care
  • Ability to manage time effectively
  • Ability to follow a set schedule, in spite of variables

Why this matters:

People in this role may be required to perform CPR or another form of emergency care from time to time, to keep clients safe. Personal care assistants must have the training and mental readiness for critical situations that may come up. The question can also be reframed to ask what they would do if they encountered a medical emergency.

What to listen for:

  • A sense of mental and emotional resilience and preparedness
  • A clear understanding of the training and skill sets required when it comes to emergencies
  • Demonstrated ability to work in crisis situations 

Why this matters:

Personal care assistants play a major role in their clients’ lives. It’s not uncommon for personal care assistants to develop strong connections with their clients. This answer will give you an idea of what gives their job a sense of purpose.

What to listen for:

  • Excitement and passion in their voice
  • Dedication to this field of work
  • Evidence of emotional intelligence and communication skills

Why this matters:

Personal care assistants are required to do a number of things for their clients, and some of these tasks include things that candidates may be uncomfortable with. This question will give you an idea of how they deal with discomfort, including a sense of their resilience and dedication to their less preferred aspects of the job.

What to listen for:

  • Resilience and an understanding of their role’s purpose, despite discomfort
  • Willingness to take on a range of tasks, including ones that are less familiar
  • Self-confidence in every aspect of the job

Why this matters:

Being a personal care assistant is a tough job — mentally, physically, and often emotionally. Clients may be suffering, lonely (or feeling isolated), mentally unstable, and more. Some clients may pass away. It’s best to hire candidates that can persevere, in spite of emotional impact.

What to listen for:

  • Resilience and determination
  • Effective coping mechanisms
  • Ability to work through emotions

Why this matters:

This job is not for the faint of heart, and many people choose to enter the field because of a personal experience they may have had with a loved one. This question will give you insight into the candidate’s backstory and give you an idea of how important this job is to them on a personal level. It will allow you to determine their level of dedication to the role.

What to listen for:

  • A sense of passion
  • Personal reasons that align with the overall mission of helping clients
  • An understanding of the importance of the role
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