10 Questions to Ask when Interviewing a PA

Getting to know the Personal Assistant (PA) that you are considering employing is essential to make sure a healthy relationship forms between you and the PA. The interview can at first take place over the phone or in person, but it is always good to meet in person at least once before hiring a PA. There is no ‘correct’ way to interview someone, but here are three key areas to think about before choosing specific questions to ask.

 

What day-to-day tasks you need help with.

Thinking in detail about the day-to-day tasks, you should come up with specific questions that will check if candidates have the necessary  skills and strengths for your individual circumstance.

The experience or knowledge that is necessary.

For individuals with severe disabilities or conditions, such as Dementia, having a more experienced PA may be essential to ensure you are receiving the support required. For assistance with daily tasks, less experienced PA’s may work better for you as long as they have the required ‘soft skills’ and are keen to work and get to know you.

The kind of person are you looking for.

Decide what skills or traits are essential for the support you need, do they need to be a very effective communicator to keep family members informed? Do they need to be particularly patient? Do you need hands-on assistance, or a trustworthy companion? Whatever it is, make sure you know before contacting a PA so you can get an accurate assessment of whether they’re a good fit for the role or not.

 

With those key points in mind, here are 10 ideas of questions to ask when interviewing a PA.

 

  1. What attracted you to this job?
  2. Do you have a driver’s license? If not, what transport would you use? (It’s always good to know how far and what way a PA is travelling to make sure they can consistently get to the client on time. Having access to a car is also great for tasks like shopping)
  3. Are you capable of transferring someone? (Getting someone from a wheelchair to a bed, and helping them dress requires a good knowledge of body mechanics so they do not injure themselves or your loved one.)
  4. What training or prior experience do you have that you think is applicable to this role? Have you ever had to use these skills? (such as First Aid training or CPR, a PA having hands on experience can demonstrate their ability to do the job.
  5. Is there anything you would feel uncomfortable helping a client with? (Giving a list of regular tasks that the PA must undertake can provide reassurance they will be working within their comfort zone)
  6. Can you describe a time you overcame a challenge as a PA? (This is a great question to assess both experience and communication skills of a candidate)
  7. Are you available to work the hours required? (Make sure you clarify this with the PA; it’s vital that the client receives consistent and reliable care)
  8. Why do you think you are suitable for the role? (This can help to get an idea of the candidate’s level of commitment to their work)
  9. Do you like to cook? (Give an example of a meal they might need to prepare to give the candidate a better idea what cooking ability they need)
  10. What would you like to ask me?
    (Any potential PA should show an interest in the person they are going to care for. You should expect the person you are interviewing to ask questions about preferences, support plan and daily routine.)

 

After choosing a suitable candidate, it’s a good idea to arrange a trial or probation period before making the job permanent.

This gives you a chance to observe how well they handle the key tasks. It also gives the PA a chance to make sure the job meets their expectations.

 

Visit our FAQs for a checklist of things that you need to consider when recruiting staff. You can also contact our advisers for additional support.