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Shortlisting and Interviewing

Once you have advertised your vacancy and have the applicants' completed application forms or CVs, you need to start the shortlisting process.

The idea of shortlisting is to identify applicants that you feel have met the criteria you set out in your person specification and only interview those. However, if you only have 3 applicants then you might choose to interview all of them rather than shortlisting.

You may find it helpful to think of a way of marking or scoring each applicant against your person specification. This can be done with a marking sheet and by giving a score of 1 - 5 (poor to excellent) on how they met each criteria. This may seem very time consuming and unnecessary but it is important so you can show that you haven't discriminated against any applicants who you don't shortlist for interview. It can also benefit you by identifying who maybe more suitable and what questions you need to ask at the interview in order to ensure that you employ the right person.

We have provided a simple marking sheet that you can download, modify and use for shortlisting - found at the bottom of this page.

Preparing for Interviews

Before you invite the people that you've shortlisted, you will need to have thought about:

  • Your interview panel (who else would you like to help you interview people, this will need to be someone you trust and who knows you well enough to help you decide who is right for you)
  • Where you'll be interviewing (you may want to interview away from your own home for example) and ensure its availability and suitability
  • A timetable of who you'll be interviewing and at what time.

Inviting People to Interview

Once you have shortlisted, you will need to invite people to interview. You will need to write to each person and provide them with information about the location and time of their interview, along with any additional information such as whether there will be a presentation required at interview.

It is good practise to allow 7 days' notice of interviews so plan your dates and times carefully.

Your local Job Centre Plus also may be able to support you and they often allow people to use a room to facilitate your interviews.

Ensure that you have checked whether any applicants require any reasonable adjustments and, if so, that you are prepared for these when you interview.

Remember, SILC's ILAs (Independent Living Advisers) are available to help you with all aspects of interviewing including supporting you with shortlisting, writing questions for the interview and during the interview.

Finally, it is polite, but not essential, to notify any applicants that were not shortlisted for interview.

The Interviews

It is important to be prepared for interviewing. You and your interviewing panel (the people who will be interviewing with you) should agree on some questions that you'll ask each person during the interview. It is important to have standard questions as this will ensure fairness at interview and avoid any possibility of discrimination.

The questions you ask should relate to a part of the person specification or to a particular task that the PA will be expected to do. Scenario questions are a good way of finding out how someone might do a task, for example, "What would you consider if you were supporting me to a GP appointment?". The answer might include travelling times and transport, any particular support you might need whilst at the appointment, anything you might need to do before or take with you, etc. Asking for examples of previous times when people have undertaken tasks or been in situations can also help to give you a clear idea of people's previous experiences, for example, "Can you tell me about a time when..."

On the day, ensure that you have all the necessary information with you and that you are aware of who is coming for an interview and at what time. Some people are likely to be early so, if possible, have a chair/space for them whilst they wait but ensure that they can't hear what you or other interviewees are saying.

Remember that most people get nervous at interview so try and keep the interview relaxed and don't pressurise people. Allow time for people to answer your questions but don't ask questions that are not related to your set questions.

During the interviews you should try and make a note of the answers that people provide. This will then allow you, after the interview, to review and discuss people's answers and compare them with each other. As with the shortlisting, you might like to use a scoring sheet and score how well each person answered your questions.

Allow time for the interviewee to ask any questions they have before the interview ends.

Avoid offering the position to anyone before all the interviews have taken place. Even if you feel the first person you interview is the person you would like as your PA, you have a duty to interview everyone.

Offering Someone the Position

If, following the interviews and marking process, you have decided who you would like to recruit, you'll need to contact them and provisionally offer them the position subject to any necessary employment checks that need to be completed. You will need to follow up this with a letter confirming the provisional offer.

It is good practise to complete all the employment checks before you let other interviewed people know as, if the checks come back and are unsatisfactory, you might like to offer someone else you interviewed the position.

If the employment checks come back clear and you're happy with them, then you need to:

  • Write to the person you offered the position to and confirm with them the offer and set a proposed start date (you might like to speak to them on the phone to discuss this first and confirm what you agree in the letter)
  • Write to all the people you interviewed who didn't get the job and inform them that they were unsuccessful this time.

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