Finding and recruiting a Personal Assistant
Recruiting a Personal Assistant might seem like an intimidating process, but it does not need to be.
Write a job description
Before you recruit a Personal Assistant, you should write a job description and a person specification.
- A job description outlines the tasks that you would like your Personal Assistant to do and how you would like them to support you.
- A person specification lists the experience, skills and personal qualities that you would like your Personal Assistant to have.
What to consider when writing the job description and person specification:
- If you have a care and support plan, are there any specific requirements you should include?
- Are there any skills in particular you want your Personal Assistant to have? For example, do you want a Personal Assistant who can drive or who has experience with certain medical conditions?
- What values do you want the Personal Assistant to have? Do you want them to have a good sense of humour or to be patient?
- What tasks do you want the Personal Assistant to do for you? For example, do you require personal care, meal preparation, transport, etc?
- Do you have any cultural and religious needs and do you want to employ someone who understands them?
Writing a job advert on Kent PA Web
Once you have confirmed what tasks you would like your Personal Assistant to complete or support you with and you have determined what skills and values they should have, you are ready to write the job advert.
Writing a job advert on Kent PA Web is easy and works as follows:
- Create an account on Kent’s PA Web – this should only take a few minutes.
- Visit the ‘Finder’ area of the site and click ‘Create new advert’
- Complete the advert form.
- Browse our bank of Personal Assistants in your local area and choose which Personal Assistants you would like to send your advert to.
- Wait for Personal Assistants to respond to your advert, they will send you a message on Kent PA Web.
- Access your adverts and responses at any time by logging into your Kent PA Web account.
You can find out more on our About Kent PA Web page.
When writing your job advert, there is certain information that you should include:
You should tell people your general location so that they know where they would be working, but it is important that you do not give out your address at this stage.
Rate of pay
There are laws around rate of pay that you need to follow. You will need to pay your Personal Assistant:
- at least the national living wage to workers over 24 years old
- at least the national minimum wage for workers aged 24 or under
If you receive a personal budget or direct payment, your adviser or local support organisation may have details about standard hourly rates.
Currently the minimum hourly rate is £9.50 as of April 2022.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
When using the Kent PA Web ‘Finder’ tool, you can ask Personal Assistants to attach their CV in their response to your job advert.
It is usual to ask for two references, these can be from previous employers.
Choose who to interview
Once you have received responses from Personal Assistants, you should review their applications or CVs and shortlist the candidates that meet your criteria, deciding who you want to interview. To help you do this, you could use the job description and person specification to rate the applications.
You must ensure that you do not discriminate against anyone on the grounds of protected characteristics – these include age, race, gender or sexual orientation. If you need any further information around this, you can contact ACAS who can offer free and confidential advice.
When you have decided which Personal Assistants you would like to interview, you should contact them and arrange for them to meet you for an interview.
Interview the candidates
If possible, you should complete interviews away from your home. This is to ensure your safety and privacy.
It is best to find a public place that is relatively quiet, such as a room in a library or community centre, so that you are not disturbed and can focus on the interview.
You could ask your local Jobcentre, library or a support organisation if they have a room you can use for your interviews.
If you are supported by the direct payment team talk to your direct payment support worker if you require assistance in finding an interview location.
It is always a good idea to ask a friend, family member or mediator to do the interviews with you.
To make sure you are prepared for the interview and can make it as worthwhile as possible, you should prepare a list of questions that you want to ask the candidates.
These questions could be a mix of general questions about the Personal Assistant's own skills and values, and more specific questions such as setting a scenario and asking the Personal Assistant how they would deal with it.
Examples of questions you could ask include:
- Do you have any hobbies?
- What are your core values?
- Why do you enjoy working as a Personal Assistant in Care?
- What do you think you could bring to this role?
- Do you have any experience with.....?
- Give an example of when you faced a difficult problem and describe how you dealt with it
If you are supported by the direct payment team talk to your direct payment support worker if you require assistance with this.
Complete the interviews
If you are a direct payment recipient, you could ask Kent County Council’s Direct Payment Team to support you. You should make the final decisions on who to employ.
Jot down notes during the interview to remind you of the answers the Personal Assistant gives to your questions. This will help you remember each candidate later while you are making your decision about who to employ.
You should not rush making the decision of who to offer the job to. If you are unsure, take some more time to think about it. You can always ask for more information or even to meet some of the candidates for another interview. If you are not happy with any of the people you have interviewed, you can re-advertise and interview different Personal Assistants.
Making a job offer
Tell the Personal Assistant you want to employ
When you have chosen who you want to employ, you should contact them and offer them the job. You should send them the offer in writing, you can DOWNLOAD SAMPLE JOB OFFER LETTER.
The letter should tell them that you will need to carry out checks such as references checks and possibly a DBS check first. You should arrange enough time between offering the Personal Assistant the job and their start date so that you have time to carry out these checks.
Complete the relevant checks on the successful Personal Assistant
You can request references by:
- Email or post – this is often the best way to get the most information. You can send a copy of the job description so that the referee understands what the job involves.
- Phone – this is often quicker than waiting for a reference in writing and some people feel more comfortable saying things over the phone. However, a short phone call does not always give the referee enough time to think about their answer or consider what the job involves. You should follow up a phone reference with a written reference.
- Via the candidate – if the candidate provides you with a reference before you have requested it, you should follow up with the referee by phone.
DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service, and a DBS check helps you to know whether people have a criminal conviction.
- A DBS check should only be completed for the successful job applicant
- It costs £26 for a standard DBS check or £44 for an enhanced check, as of January 2021
- Most applications usually take around 4 weeks to process
Please contact you direct payment support worker to assist with completing the DBS check on your behalf.
For more information on DBS checks, you can visit the GOV.UK website.
Right to Work checks
You also need to check that the Personal Assistant you have chosen has the right to work in the UK. You should check and keep a copy of certain documents before your Personal Assistant starts working for you.
These documents can depend on the type of worker you are employing but usually include:
- British or European passport
- A birth certificate confirming that they were born in the UK or Republic of Ireland
- A letter from the Home Office confirming they have a legal right to work in the UK.
For more information about right to work checks, visit the GOV.UK website.
Tell the unsuccessful candidates
When your chosen Personal Assistant has accepted the job, you should send a letter or email to the other people you interviewed. This letter should explain that they have not been successful and have not got the job. You can download a sample Unsuccessful Candidate Letter here.