The aim of the interview is to help you decide if the candidate is suitable for the post and to make him or her aware of what the job entails. It is necessary to prepare well for the interview and conducting it in a well thought-out way will be of benefit to both you and the candidate.

When applicants respond to your job advertisement you will need to decide if they are appropriate to invite to an interview. Before deciding whom to interview, you may find it useful to talk to applicants on the telephone to give you more of an idea of what they are like. You should inform them that it is not a casual job and National Insurance numbers will be required.

On the day of interview you may choose to have somebody with you who has experience of employing staff.

For reasons of privacy and personal security, you may not wish to use your own address to hold interviews. Centre for Independent Living - NI can help you find a suitable alternative venue.

Before the interview you should plan a set of questions to ask each candidate. In the interest of fairness, you should ask all interviewees the same questions.

You can award a score for how well, in your opinion, individuals answer each question (e.g. 0 = very poor to 5 = excellent). This gives equal opportunity to all interviewees. It also helps you to select the most appropriate candidate.

You will need to be specific about your requirements of the job and answer any questions applicants may have. Providing candidates with a copy of the job description will help to clarify what is expected of them.

The interview is the only time you have to decide on the suitability of the applicant. It is most important that you like each other. How people present themselves can give clues about their personality. Trust your instincts!

You may wish to conduct the interview in a more informal manner. This can be a good way of judging if you are likely to get on well with the applicant. It is crucial that you ask for, and take references before offering any stranger a job.

If you are having difficulty choosing between suitable applicants, you may elect to ask the people in question to come for a second interview. This will give you a further opportunity to make up your mind. It is important that you do not offer the job until you have interviewed everyone, as the most suitable candidate may be the last interviewed.

In the interest of being a good employer, remember that you need to offer the post to the most appropriate applicant, without prejudice.

Below is an example form that you may wish to use when interviewing potential Personal Assistants.

Interview form for the post of Personal Assistant (Example)

  • Applicant's Name: ________________________

  • What experience do you have in working with disabled people? ________________________

  • What is your attitude towards confidentiality? ________________________

  • What is your attitude to rosters and flexible working hours? ________________________

  • If you were unable to come to work for personal or family reasons, how would you suggest that my needs be accommodated? ________________________

  • What is your attitude towards punctuality and reliability? ________________________

  • Why did you apply for this post? ________________________

  • If successful, when are you available to start work? ________________________

Total ________