Interviewing staff to work in services for people with learning disabilities

July 13, 2015

Alex Hill, Respect in Bexley
Adam Smith, Respect in Bexley


Getting the right staff to support people with learning disabilities is important. Respect in Bexley is a self-advocacy group for people with learning disabilities. The group does lots of work to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and this includes interviewing staff. For some years now Respect in Bexley has been helping Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust interview staff for their services, like Community Teams for People with Learning Disabilities, Day Services and Inpatient Services.


This article describes the process.

   What we do to prepare (this takes about one hour):
• ‘We look at the job description and work out what questions to ask to check if they can do the work expected’
• ‘Agree who will ask the questions’
• ‘Practice asking the questions’
• ‘Write down what answers we are looking for’


   On the interview day:
• ‘Prepare the room and get the tables and chairs ready’
• ‘Make sure the candidate will be comfortable and has a drink’
• ‘Get our paperwork and questions ready’
• ‘Welcome each candidate, introduce ourselves and tell them what is going to happen’
• ‘Ask the interview questions’
• ‘Thank the candidate for coming and explain what is happening next’
• ‘Once the candidate has left we score the answers’.


  When the candidates have gone:
• ‘We meet up with the other interview panel and talk about our scores’
• ‘Together with the other panel we match up the scores from both panels’.


What we like about interviewing:
• ‘Asking the questions’
• ‘Meeting new people’
• ‘Getting paid’
• ‘Having a nice lunch’
• ‘I look forward to the interviews’.


   What’s not so good?
• ‘Hanging around’
• ‘Too many interviews in one day can be tiring’


   How does it make us feel?
• ‘Good getting our point view across’
• ‘Getting listened to by the big interview panel’
• ‘It’s better that I can choose staff who might be helping me’
• ‘It’s nice to get really good feedback’.


   What if you didn’t do interview panels anymore?
• ‘I would be bored and sad’
• ‘I would be poor not rich!’
• ‘How would we get our point of view across?’


Helping with staff interviewing is a good experience and it is good to get the points of view of people with learning disabilities. All services should include people with learning disabilities when interviewing staff.


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