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A Guide to Interviewing for a PA

SETTING THE SCENE:

  • Choose one or two dates for doing interviews on.
  • Decide where you want to interview. You could interview them in your house, this is good for them to see what the working environment is like. However, some Direct Payment users do not feel comfortable doing this. PSiC can provide an interview room at the Phoenix Road office that could be used instead. Please let us know if you would like to use this facility.
  • Arrange for some one else to sit in on your interviews if you would like support or a second opinion. PSiC staff can sit in on interviews if asked to by Direct Payment users. This could be to take notes, for safety reasons, or for confidence boosting. We can assist with asking questions, but we are not allowed to be a part of the decision making- the choice will be yours. 

PRE-SELECTING SUITABLE CANDIDATES TO INTERVIEW:

  • Potential candidates will contact you in response to your advert. A brief pre-interview on the phone can assist you in drawing up a shortlist of those that you would like to interview. You should then contact them with an interview date.
  • A good preliminary chat with any applicants on the phone will give you an idea of their suitability.You could discuss briefly what the job would involve from the job description.

You should check out:

  • Their availability- can they do the hours/ days you need and how soon can they start?
  • How local they are to you?
  • Have they had any experience of this sort of work before?

If they sound good on the phone and they are interested, take their phone number and invite them for an interview. Normally, depending on the number of vacancies and number of applicants you should make a list of a of 5/6 names to interview.

THE INTERVIEW DAY:

  • Think about the seating arrangement. Opposite each other or at right angles to each other is more comfortable than side-by-side.
  • Make sure that you have a list of key questions that you want to ask them. You could use some from the list that PSiC provide. Please look at the separate list of things that you should NOT try to find out/ mention on the last page of this guide.
  • Have a pen and some paper handy so that you can make/ we can make for you a few notes about each applicant as a reminder as they answer.
  • Make sure the following are turned off before the interview starts- TV, radio and mobile phone. Do not take telephone calls during the interview; use the answer phone to take messages.

Start the interview by:

  • Introducing yourself/selves
  • Explain the purpose of the interview
  • Mention the format- you will ask them questions first and then there will be time at the end for them to ask you any questions they may have
  • Say how long the interview is likely to last
  • You could show them a copy of the job description to check that they are happy about what is involved
  • At the end of the interview, explain that you will need to consider the other applicants that you are interviewing and mention the timescale when you will get back to them to say if they have been successful. At the end of the interview you should ask them if they are still interested in the job if you were to offer it to them. Make sure that you have their correct phone number so that you can get back to them.

OFFERING THE JOB:

  • Phone the successful candidate back to offer them the job. If your first choice doesn’t accept, you can then try your second or third choice if you thought them employable. It's polite to let unsuccessful candidates know that you won't be hiring them. they may ask for a reason, so have a fair and constructive comment ready.
  • You can then agree a start date with the successful applicant. This should be subject to their references being acceptable. A DBS clearance. You could also invite them back before they start to look at the contract/ complete any payroll forms.

DON’TS:

Please read the points below. These cover certain questions/ things that you should NOT try to find out/ mention. It is important that you do not question any candidate about:

  • Their age
  • Country of origin
  • Their private life e.g. do they have children, are they married/ partnered…etc.    
  • Their race
  • Their Religion
  • Sexual Orientation

This information is personal to the individual and does not have to be given to an employer. Information like this could prejudice an employer towards a prospective employee and would be against equal opportunities.

Do not talk about previous applicants in an interview.

Do not ask for personal details about any employers that the candidate has worked for.

If the candidate is late, you can ask them why, but don’t labour the point. If you do not like their explanation, you do not have to give them the job.

 

We are pleased to be able to give you access to our forms via our website, we can also deliver them to you if you contact us directly. All referrals should be returned to us by email.