Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Direct Service Workers to Provide Self-Directed HCBS

Asking the Right Questions

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Plan your interview questions ahead of time.  Ask all the people you interview the same questions.  This will help you compare applicants to see who is the best match for you.

Next, prepare interview questions.

There are many questions you can ask an applicant during the interview process. There are three kinds of questions to consider to be sure you are getting the information you need to make a decision.

Behavioral questions ask about situations the person has experienced and how they handled them. They ask about specific skills and behaviors needed for the job. Some examples include:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an emergency health situation. 
    • How did you handle it?
  • Are you able to communicate in English?
  • Are you able to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL)? 
  • Are you able to assist with transfers?
  • Are you okay with going swimming every week?

Situational questions ask about things that might happen in the future. You should have an idea of what you would expect as a good answer or what might be a poor answer. Some examples include:

  • What would you do if…?
  • How would you handle…?
  • Who would you go to for help if … happened?

Factual questions usually get right to the point. They ask about an applicant's work history, education, training and experience. Some examples include:

  • Have you worked as a DSW before?
    • If so, where? What did you learn from this experience?
  • What training and certifications have you already received?
    • Are the certifications current?
  • What other skills do you have that are relevant to the tasks from the realistic job preview? (For example, if you need someone to prepare food, can the DSW cook?  If you need the DSW to drive, do they have a valid driver's license?)
  • What training will you need to address my needs and to support me to live independently?
  • Would you share a memorable experience you’ve had supporting someone with a disability?