At Disability North we have continued to work with Direct Payment employers throughout the North East during this challenging time. The need for support is still there and PAs are a vital part of supporting disabled people in our area. A few weeks ago I was approached by someone who needed to recruit a full team of PAs to cover a 24/7 package. My first thought was how are we going to recruit in the middle of a pandemic, are people looking for jobs right now and do they want to go on the frontline?
We put an advert up and within a week we had 10 good applications. To date they have had 18 applications. I discussed with them how I could support to interview and we discussed the subject of video interviews as at the time our building could not be open to the public.
At this current time our recommendations are still to conduct interviews virtually, and I have done a lot of research on virtual interviews in order to provide advice on this. However it is not always possible for someone to make a judgement based on a video interview, some people do not have the technology and are not comfortable with the technology and in some cases it would just add too much pressure onto our employers. We understand that our employers do not have the luxury of being able to suspend recruitment as their support needs do not disappear during a pandemic if anything, they can be greater.
This week we have made the decision to open our building for employers who need to interview PAs in person or want our support to do virtual interviews. We will ensure we are complying with all the government guidance and social distancing will be in force. We are fortunate to have plenty of space. Employers will be informed of the procedures before hand and candidates will receive information on invite to interview so that they can then make an informed decision on whether to attend. Everyone will receive a letter to ask them that if they have symptoms or if they have been asked to isolate for whatever reason they must not attend the interview. We will offer video calls as alternatives as far as possible.
It has been a challenging time, but we are really pleased to be able to start to reopen some face to face work in supporting our employers.
Over the next couple of weeks we will have invited 20 potential PAs to interview either virtually or in person.
Our vice chair Lucy Reynolds is an experienced employer and she has recently used virtual interviews as a first stage in her recruitment process, she then used our building to interview a potential PA face to face and we are delighted that this was successful and the PA is now undergoing the safe recruitment checks: https://vimeo.com/430725292
If you are based in the North East and looking for support in recruiting PAs or want to use our Recruitment Service please do get in touch on 0191 2840480 or firstname.lastname@example.org
19th June 2020. Vici Richardson, Community Care and Personalisation Adviser