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Useful tips

Man in wheelchair with female PCA

Until you spend time with your new Paid Caregiver and come to trust that person, you will be dealing with a stranger. Below are suggestions to help you stay safe and begin a successful relationship with your new employee.

These suggestions are offered as a service to employers, and Rewarding Work cannot be held liable for any interactions between people who use this website.

  • Develop a telephone interview to determine whether applicant meets the minimum requirements of the job. Be honest about your needs, the requirements of the job, the pay, and the hours. Preparing a list of questions and priorities helps you focus the interview on the things that are most important to you, and prevents discrimination because you will be asking every applicant exactly the same questions.
  • Determine your level of comfort before meeting the applicant for the first time. Will you hold the interview in your home? If so, will there be anyone else in the house? Would you prefer to meet in a public place, such as a restaurant or library?
  • Listen to your instincts. If you have a bad feeling about someone you are interviewing, there may be a good reason for your feelings.
  • Be as clear as possible about the job, your expectations of your employees, and what they may expect of you. Present a job description that describes the duties they will need to perform.
  • Always ask for and thoroughly check people's character and employment references. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes former employers will say good things about bad people or bad things about good people.
  • You want to do a criminal background check but do not rely on it completely when making your decision. A clean record does not guarantee that the Paid Caregiver will be trustworthy, but a background check will tell you a lot about their legal history. Be especially cautious with people who lie about their criminal history.
    Click here for more information about background checks and organizations that can help you.
  • After hiring, develop a simple contract that you and your assistant can discuss and sign. This lists the requirements of the job, the pay, and the hours, and is a good way to prevent misunderstandings later on.
  • Have a backup worker available for the first couple of days, in case the new person doesn't show up for work. If the assistant doesn't show up and doesn't call, hire someone else! Behavior like this does not improve with time.
  • For help with the entire process, call Vermont Center for Independent Living at 1-802-229-0501 or toll free at 1-800-639-1522.
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