These information sheets have been provided as a guide only and should not be used as substitutes for specialist advice. We try to keep them updated, however, this cannot always be guaranteed.

It is important that you interview those who have applied for the job of your Personal Assistant (PA) since you will want to ensure they are right for the job.  An interview is also an opportunity for them to ask questions and assess if the job is right for them.  Interviewing is a two way process that helps both parties make the right decision.

Remember, you don’t have to interview every applicant, only the ones who best fit the criteria you decide on.  Telephone vetting may be useful in helping decide whom you should interview.

Remember you can have support with interviewing.  Your Independent Living Advisor will be able to advise and support you with this if required, however they will not be able to help you decide who you should employ, as this is a personal decision.  Many people find it useful to have a friend or family member to support them, this may be better as they will know you more and be able to help you choose the best candidate for you. It is a good idea to have someone with you as you interview, whether to support with note taking or to support by giving their thoughts and opinions can be a good guide, but it is your decision who you employ.

You will need to tell people that the job of Personal Assistant is a ‘real job’ and that you will have to inform the Inland Revenue if they become your employee.  This means they will have to give you their National Insurance number and evidence they are allowed to work in this country  e.g. EU passport, birth certificate, work permit.

For personal safety reasons you should consider whether you need to hold interviews at a venue other than your home.

Before the interview you should prepare a set of questions to ask each applicant.  You should ask all the applicants the same questions.  This will give everyone an equal chance and help you to compare the candidates on the same grounds.  Have prepared sheets for each interview and leave a space for any comments you wish to make a note of.  Your Independent Living Advisor can support you to prepare for interviews.

You should be prepared to go into detail about what your needs are and to answer the questions the applicant may have.  Make sure they have a copy of the job description.

The interview is the best time for you to judge the suitability of each candidate and whether or not you will get along together.  Look at how they present themselves e.g. are they suitably dressed, have they made an effort, do they pay attention to detail?  It might be useful to conduct the interview in an informal way, maybe over a cup of coffee.  Intuition plays an important part in the process.

Some people even ask their favourite applicants back for a trial work period.

It is essential that you ask for and check out references, even if the applicant seems very suitable.

It is acceptable to invite the most suitable candidates back for a second interview if you can not make a decision immediately.  (Do not offer the job until you have seen everybody).

Here are some suggestions of the type of questions you could ask:

Tell me about your last job.

Why did you leave your last job?

What experience have you had of this kind of work? (You can also pick specific things from the job description).

From the job description, what are the things you would feel confident about?  What are the things you might find difficult?

Can you work flexible hours?

Can you work at short notice?

What are your personal interests?

What qualities do you have that make you suitable for this job?

Have you got any questions?