It usually takes a very special type of person to work with disabled people. No matter if the disabled charges are adults or children, or the position is paid or volunteer, finding the right candidate means you’ll need to conduct a thorough interview. If you are in charge of interviewing for a position responsible for caring for or assisting disabled persons, ask a wide variety of questions to learn about the candidate’s background and disposition.

Background and Certification Questions

If your open position requires any specific certifications or educational background, such as a special education teaching job, ask questions about the candidate’s degree program and favorite courses. Most caregivers will need to have a minimum of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and training. You should also ask any other questions that pertain to specific medical equipment usage or emergency procedures, depending on the client’s medical needs. If the position requires any driving, make sure your candidate has a clean driving history. If the position has physical demands, check if the applicant has any physical or medical limitations that may make it difficult to provide appropriate care.

Past Experience Questions

In some situations, it will help to hire someone who has past experience working with disabled people for your open position. This type of candidate usually already understands what it is like to care for someone who needs special assistance. However, there are many different types of disabled people and different levels of disabilities, including those with autism, cerebral palsy, blindness, behavioral problems, physical care needs and learning difficulties. The key to providing good care is understanding the specific challenges and problems of the client or student. Just because a great candidate has lots of experience with autism doesn’t mean he would be good with someone who has a physical disability. Also, someone who was successful taking care of adults may not be work well with children.


"What experience do you have with regard to this particular position?"

Personality Questions

Working with the disabled often takes more patience and determination than working with other types of clients or children. Ask questions about the candidate’s past work experience to find out how she acts in stressful or emergency situations. For example, ask her how she would handle a situation when the client doesn’t want to participate or complete a required daily routine or task. You’ll also want to learn about the candidate’s natural disposition and choose someone with a positive, optimistic outlook.


“Tell me about the most difficult client you ever had and what you learned from the experience.” "Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure."

Motivation Questions

Use the interview to find out what motivates the candidate to work with disabled adults or children. Directly ask, “Why did you apply for this specific position?” and “Why is working with a disabled person motivating for you?” You can also use an indirect question such as, “Can you think of a hidden gift that may be found by working with someone with difficulties?” You can learn a lot about the candidate from his answers to these types of questions.

Further examples:

"What have you done with regard to personal development in this job area in the last 12 months?" "What do you see yourself doing in five years?"