Employer’s Checklist When Interviewing Senior Living Job Candidates

Conducting an effective interview with senior living job candidates can be a challenge but finding the right hire for your senior care organization makes it worthwhile.  Creating an interview checklist helps you to better prepare and improve your interviewing skills.  Include the following on your checklist:

  • Plan Interview Process.

Planning the interview includes identifying the kind of senior living candidate that you’re looking for in order to source the right people. What does the ideal candidate need to be successful on the job? What people skills, experience in senior care and education is required? Also, put a time frame on it. How long will it take you to find qualified candidates and interview them? You don’t want to keep the position vacant for too long due to the high costs associated.

  • Identify Interview Team.

Determine who will participate in the interviews.  Include an engaging team member who can offer a testimonial of what it’s like to work there as well as conduct a tour of the senior living community or property.

  • Craft Effective Interview Questions.

Create interview questions that are tailored to the job requirements and your company culture.  Here are a few tips when formulating questions:

    • Focus on behavioral and situational questions such as:  Describe a time you made a mistake and how did you handle the situation?
    • Craft a few questions around each skill you’re looking for.
    • Look for people who fit your specific assisted living, independent living, skilled nursing, etc. culture. Ask your candidate to describe the senior care work environment or culture in which they are most productive and happy.
    • Avoid cliché questions in order to avoid canned responses. For example, What is your greatest weakness?  Undoubtedly, your candidate will not provide an answer that causes them to risk losing the job so you may hear answers like “perfectionism” or “public speaking” which may not be needed for the position anyway.
  • Develop Interview Structure.

Adding structure to the interview will prevent it from going off course. Here’s a sample of how you might want to structure it:

    • Introduce yourself and position
    • Ask about candidate’s senior living expertise beyond the resume
    • Find out if candidate’s skills match the job requirements
    • Talk about company/facility culture
    • Talk about expectations
    • Open floor for Q & A
  • Conduct Initial Interview Via Phone or Video.

Before you can get to the face-to-face interviews, it would be wise to narrow down your candidate pool via phone or video interviews. This will help you to get to know a little more about each candidate and weed out the ones who would not be a good fit. For those companies and facilities requiring employee assessments, this is a good time to administer one.

  • Schedule Face-to-Face Interview(s).

If any candidates meet your criteria or pique your interest during the phone or video interview, don’t hesitate to schedule a face-to-face interview. Do it pronto. Lag time between interviews is risky. You might just lose your best candidate(s) to the competition.

  • Complete Post Interview Evaluation Form.

You and your team should immediacalltoy fill out a job candidate evaluation form or another documentation checklist that you created for a specific job for each candidate that you interviewed. This will allow you to rate each candidate.

  • Meet with Team.

Circle back quickly to your core interview team for feedback on each candidate. Determine which, if any, candidates to invite back for a second interview.

  • Schedule Second Interviews, if Needed.

Once you’ve scheduled and conducted any additional interviews, immediacalltoy narrow down your candidate selection to your final one or two. Then, check references and seal the deal.

For additional advice on interviewing job candidates or if you have an immediate hiring need, contact MedBest Recruiting at 727-526-1294 /


About MedBest

MedBest is a nationwide senior living executive recruiting firm established in 2001. We specialize in recruiting quality executive talent for all types of senior living facilities across the US including Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Community, Memory Care, Independent Living, Home Health Care, and Skilled Nursing.

Contact MedBest at / 727-526-1294.


Julie RupenskiAbout Julie Rupenski

Julie Rupenski is the Founder, President & CEO of MedBest, opening the doors in 2001. Since that time, Julie has gained national recognition for providing top talent solutions exclusively for the Senior Living Industry. Julie is a Succession Planning specialist and also a seasoned recruiter at filling C-Suite, Vice President, Regional, and Property level positions.

Julie has an in-depth knowledge of the Senior Living Industry since she previously worked in operations for both Senior Housing and Senior Living. Today, Julie makes it her personal and professional mission to place qualified people in health care positions where they have the greatest impact.

Julie earned her degree in Gerontology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida and continues to cultivate her career through senior living conferences, forums, trade shows, and expos.

Julie’s industry articles and interviews have been published in Provider Magazine, Argentum Quarterly, LeadingAge Magazine, Florida Health Care Association, Florida Assisted Living Association, Florida Senior Living Association, LeadingAge Florida, LeadingAge Indiana, Pennsylvania Health Care AssociationOregon Health Care Association, and Virginia Assisted Living Association.

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