Recruitment and the job offer
How you find a personal assistant (PA) and make sure they are right for you
If you have decided to employ your own PA, then you will need to have an understanding of recruitment and selection. Recruitment is about attracting people to apply for a job and selection is about choosing the right person for the job.
There are different stages of a recruitment process.
Firstly you will need to think about exactly what help you need and write a job description. This should include any particular qualifications your care worker must have – for example, to administer medication or a full driving licence, and an estimate of the number of hours and days you will need the person to work.
You can then advertise the job – in your local Jobcentre for free or local shops, and voluntary organisations may also have notice boards for advertisements. You may already know someone who could take the job.
Once you have received some applications, you can select the people you'd like to interview for the job. You should prepare a list of questions for the interview that cover the key aspects of the job to make sure that the applicants have the necessary skills and fully understand what is involved.
When you have decided who to offer the job to, you should ask for at least two references, including one from someone they've cared for previously, if possible.
You can find an A to Z of recruiting and hiring on GOV.UK. In particular you should make sure you understand the rules on discrimination when recruiting and hiring your PA. You may also be interested in the Government’s publication ‘Common myths when employing someone for the first time’.
You may want to request a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (previously known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)) on any potential employee to check they are suitable to be a PA in your home.
If you require your PA to drive you, then you should also make sure you see a valid driving licence and appropriate insurance/MOT (if they will be using their own car).
It is illegal to employ someone who is not allowed to work in the UK. If you are found to have knowingly employed someone who does not have the right to work in the UK, then you could be subject to severe penalties. The UK Border Agency recommends that employers conduct document checks for all new employees to make sure they are allowed to work before employing them. The documents you should check are things like passports or national identity cards. A tool to help you check entitlement to work in the UK can be found on GOV.UK website.
You can find further guidance on the type of checks you can make on a prospective employee on GOV.UK.
You can find more information about things to think about when employing someone for the first time on GOV.UK.
The Skills for Care 'Recruiting a personal assistant's toolkit' guides you through the process of recruiting a PA in much more detail and takes you through each of the following stages in order:
- job description and person specification
- choosing who to interview
- the interview
- offer the job
- doing checks
- keeping records
There are also some really useful templates that you can use such as:
- sample job description and person specification
- sample application form
- sample letter inviting people for an interview
- sample letter telling people they've not got an interview
- interview checklist and questions
- sample job offer letter
- sample letter turning down an applicant
- sample letter asking for a reference