If you have a candidate in mind to be your personal aide and you have already conducted a phone interview, the next step is to have an in-person interview. There are four points to consider before your attendant applicant arrives:

  • When. Do you want to conduct the interview during the day or at night? I prefer interviewing during daylight hours, but this is not always possible, so I’ve learned to be flexible. Some people have other day jobs and can only meet at night.
  • Who. Keep the interview relaxed, yet professional. Remember the person seeking assistance is the one who should be in control of the discussion. After all, you will sign the paychecks. I share my abilities with the applicant and review the duties of the position. During the discussion, we take turns communicating, but I lead the interview.
  • How. Do you want to conduct the interview by yourself or with a friend or family member present in the home? This is an issue of safety and privacy. I wish I could do everything on my own, but I can’t. I also recognize that no matter how secure I feel on the inside, I’m vulnerable on the outside because of my paralysis. I like having another familiar person close at hand, just in case. I like my independence, but safety comes first. Once I invited a neighbor to come over to just hang around in the background while I interviewed an applicant.
  • Where. Make your home inviting, clean, and tidy, with plenty of good lighting. Create a comfortable environment that someone will want to be a part of and work in. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be inviting.

These are the questions I ask to make my hiring decisions. You may use these and edit them according to your circumstances.

  • What experience do you have with people with disabilities?
  • Why are you interested in being an aide?
  • Are you looking for temporary or permanent work?
  • What is your work and personal schedule?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Describe how you manage time.
  • In a way I am hiring your “hands” and must have things done a certain way. Can you take directions?
  • How do you deal with constructive criticism?
  • Are you a flexible person?
  • How do you handle conflict?
  • My family is important to me. Tell me about your family.
  • What are your current living arrangements?
  • What has been your greatest accomplishment?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Do you like to cook? When do you have your meals?
  • If I am in a bad mood or stressed out and I ask you to do something differently from how you had been doing it, how would you react?
  • On one hand, I will hire you and be your employer. On the other hand, there is a social aspect due to the intimacy of the job, with the possibility of a friendship. What are your thoughts on balancing the two?
  • Are you a homebody or a person on the go?
  • If you do an overnight shift for me, can you wake up in the middle of the night to help me and then go back to sleep?
  • Tell me about a mistake you had at a previous job and how you handled it.
  • Do you have any contagious or infectious diseases such as hepatitis, chronic mononucleosis, impetigo, etc.?
  • Would a criminal background check be a problem for you?

The in-person interview is an important way for you and the candidate to decide if you share values and if they can adequately attend to your needs.