Interview Questions, To Help You Choose a Provider

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Choosing a provider is a very important decision. Make sure you take the time to find the right one.

Write a list of interview questions to ask providers. You might want to ask some of the questions from our list.

Interview Questions

1. Do you provide services on the FSL waiver (Florida Supported Living Waiver)?

2. If I choose your company, who will be providing the services for me?

3. Will you work nights and/or weekends?

4. I need waiver services on (ex. Monday nights from 4pm-8pm) can you do that?

5. What special skills do you have? (ex. sign language, teaching skills, behavior training, a second language)

6. Are you comfortable working with someone who __________ ? (ex. has behavior problems, is a child, needs total care, doesn't speak English)

7. How do you handle ___________ ? (ex. Temper tantrums)

8. Do you have a back up provider for days you are not able to show up?

9. What types of activities are you willing to help me with? (ex. take me bowling, play football with me, go swimming, take me to look for a job)

10. What appeals to you about working with people who have disabilities?

11. What are your hobbies? What will you talk to me about?

12. How long have you been a waiver provider?

13. How big is your company?

14. Why should I choose you over another waiver provider?

15. What areas are you willing to work in? I live in (your town), will you travel there?

by RC Williams

*** RC Williams understands the importance of choosing a provider, first hand. He is one of the 35,000 people in Florida receiving waiver services. ***


When the ticker starts tocking, or if you can’t feel the right side of your body, or if you should find yourself splattered on cement one day, you may not have much of an opportunity to interview the Emergency Room staff in advance. You could end up with an upcoming Einstein, or a "C-" Presidential-grade doctor chanting his way through your surgery. When it comes to picking an aide, however, the process is stacked in your favor.

Because of the low pay & import of these positions, the job of Aide attracts many who have been employed in the seductive arts, (with lots of city miles on the odometer). That makes it all the more important that you kick the tires before hiring, (always wearing an inner tube, of course). The quality pickin’s may be slim, but good, smart, caring, dependable caregivers are out there.

Although not stated, when an agency sends a potential candidate for your consideration, it is important to realize that most agencies assume the hospital model; they consider the aide to be "hired" before the person ever meets you. Nothing, however, could be further from fact. You are the one in charge. By default, it is up to you to evaluate how suited an aide is to you, and not the agency.

Even if an aide seems to be a perfect match after the initial interview, it’s always a good rule of thumb to indicate to him/her that you have another upcoming interview that you’ve committed to and need to follow through on. If, at that point, the prospective aide puts any pressure on you, deciding will have been made easy. Literally sleeping on even seemingly easy conclusions can yield huge results.

When an agency interviews a potential candidate for an Aide position, their primary concern is to start billing hours ASAP. Most agencies look for someone with "no criminal record and a pulse". If those two requirements are met, the billing can just about begin! In far too many cases, however, the *client is seen as inventory. Most agencies also do not effectively consider personality or temperament when "matching" aides to clients and look the other way if they notice anything dripping, or oozing from an applicant. The agency banks on the fact that, in many cases, the client is so desperate for someone, they’ll take whatever they send slithering-in, hoping for the best.

It’s a matter of money. The marketplace is driven by priorities. Disasters and wars make money – providing healthcare & essential services to the elderly and disabled is a losing proposition. Since there are no windfall profits for the agency in the caring for clients, the position of Aide remains at the bottom of job titles. When an agency hires at $10 an hour, there is an inherent statement made that you, (the client), have no value whatsoever. This is also true for those aides who work directly through the system – the pay might be a bit higher, but a TGIF hamburger flipper can make the same money, with none of the endless, trumped-up Draconian paperwork requirements, (which I could address in a future feature).

Another factor in choosing an aide is age & experience. After "Nam", (and the turmoil stemming from the 60’s), the trend going forward was to "make easy money and party"! "Prosperity" ruled and hard work was out. There are many exceptions, but today, an old school work ethic among candidates is hard to find. A promising candidate should sound eager on the phone, show up for the interview on time and show interest and concern for you. His/her physical ability to perform the tasks you need is important. Much more critical, however is for you to get a sense of his/her everyday schedule & lifestyle and to simply find some common ground. Contrary to everything they are taught, the right aide should eventually become family to you.

This person could be in your home many hours a day and for many years to come. He/she is not the equivalent of the nurse on duty with dark-rimmed glasses and a clipboard, asking if you’ve had your BM today. By sheer osmosis, this is someone that you will be sharing your joys & sorrows with and someone you need to inherently trust. Everything hinges, however, on your ability and willingness to accept nothing but the best for you. And remember, if you reject a candidate, it’s not necessarily a reflection on the integrity of the person you rejected. It just means that he/she simply wasn’t the best match for you. In fact, by rejecting a candidate who isn’t a good match, you are helping somebody else who will scream "Eureka!" upon discovery.

The bottom line hinges on money and priorities. If we continue to let the powers that be and big corporations set the agenda, then there will never, ever be money for us, (the little people), who make the world go round. GM, Wal-Mart, Merck, (which is currently trading at about $56/share), and Macy’s wouldn’t exist without the money in your wallet and the power of your choices. And don’t for a minute think that Hillary Healthcare is going to help you. Unless we all demand much better care and a living compensation for the caregivers we absolutely need, the term "consumer", (as defined to the left), and our dignity it defaces, will continue to reign supreme.

There needs to be a clearinghouse, where potential caregivers are screened in advance and are put under much more scrutiny than just some basic background check that says nothing about what an applicant has gotten away with in the past. Along with the CPR certificate and the Aids screening, the humanitarian rewards of the job should be stressed. Along with being functionally compensated, a caregiver also needs to actually care.

In terms of public policy, insulting Politically Correct and respectful-sounding language must be backed-up with actions, plus the money to secure those actions. We need to start screaming in 4-part harmony about all those phony one-foot-forward events for the camera and demand fully funded true respect as a unified political voice. All those deliberate and accepted leaps backwards, (as we just experienced in the recent budget cuts), will eventually send us into the abyss. We didn’t prevent those cuts from taking place, but it was all of our voices in unison that softened those slashes.

As the global climate crisis continues and oil prices skyrocket, money for what the power-politicians see as "the warm & fuzzies", (our services), will just get less & less as time goes on. I know it’s exhausting to even think about, but we must keep fighting for the ever-shrinking sustaining slice of our own tax money, because it will always go to those who scream the loudest. In the meantime, we need to show our caregivers how much we appreciate everything they do for us. Without them, our lives would be radically different.

* In many circles, a "client" is someone with the need and enough money to seek the services of a professional.

* Due to brilliant political conditioning, people have replaced the word "client" and have accepted the term "consumer" in its stead. "Consumer", (as it refers to a client), is a deliberate political term used to vilify those blood-sucking parasites in the underclass who "consume" precious tax dollars at the expense of those who pull themselves up by the bootstraps and contribute to society. The term "consumer" is a pejorative, destructive term that has been marketed to feel & sound respectful.

More From R.C. Williams
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