Tips for Hiring a Personal Assistant
When the times comes to hire a Personal Assistant (PA) it can seem like a very big task, especially if this is something you have not done before. Essentially the role of a PA in this instance is support a disabled person to live their life as independently and fully as possible.
What have people said about having a PA?
With this in mind, here are some top tips we think might help with the process.
Writing a job description
All of the links suggested have this as a strong starting point. It’s important to know what kind of person you would like to work for you and to know what their job description would look like. This would be a great chance to sit down and have a think about the things you may require support with.
For people with conditions that can change daily, this can be more of a challenge, but don’t worry. Having a list of responsibilities doesn’t mean this is all set in stone, but it is important to be realistic.
Similarly, what level of training would you require your PA to have? Or what kind of person are you looking for?
Advertising for a PA
Next you would need to advertise the position. This can be done through online job sites, a local PA registers or even on social media. It’s important that the advert is comprehensive and allows potential employees to understand more about the role they are applying for.
Scope advice and Skills for Care suggest you include the following on the advert:
- What the job involves (the job description)
- How much it pays
- How people should apply, with contact details
- If you want them to have any qualifications
- What kind of checks they will need to pass before they start, for example, references, right to work in the UK and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
When collating a list of potential interviewees, I found it helpful to make a list or a spreadsheet of everyone’s information, experience, qualifications and interests. This will allow you to see at a glance who you believe may be most suited for the role.
Interviewing potential PA’s
When you believe you have a suitable number of candidates or have reached the deadline you put on the advert, it’s good idea to take a step back and review the applications. From experience, it can be very easy to get lost in the applications and completely forget who is who!
A list of potential interview questions can be found here on the Scope website.
You want the interview to be fairly informal which will allow you to see if you would get on with this person and whether or not you feel they would be capable of the role. The interview is also a great chance for them to ask you question about your needs and about what would be expected of them.
Hiring a PA!
If you think you have found the perfect person then this is great! You can offer them the position and request references. It may be useful to arrange a trial shift before they start where they can get a true feel for the role. It will also be a great chance for you to see how compatible you are.
However, it’s okay to reopen applications or look at hiring a PA through an agency. Sometimes it can take a bit of time to find someone who has the availability and characteristics that you are looking for. Similarly, depending on the hours you have funding for, more than one person may be required. Having someone as bank staff can be great if your PA falls ill or goes on holiday!
Hopefully by the end of this process you have found a PA who will be able to assist you whenever required. If you need to apply for funding to cover the cost of a PA, I would highly advise doing this before you look into the hiring process. The links below should help.
- Recruiting a PA (Scope advice) gives an overview of the process and links external sources.
- Being in Control: Getting Personal Assistants (Disability Rights UK) allows you to understand funding and the paperwork that is involved when having a PA.
- Employing Personal Assistant (Skills for Care) is great for getting template adverts, interview questions or job offer letters.
- Needs assessment process for social care (Scope advice) explains the process of getting support for PA funding or if you are an unpaid carer.
- Using direct payments to employ a PA (Scope advice) is one way in which you can fund your PA support and have flexibility around hours and who you employ.
What do you believe makes a good PA? Let us know in the comments below!
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