Hiring and Recruiting Resources
Important change to the law!
When posting job advertisements, including listings for PA staff employers must clearly state the rate of pay for the position.
This is a new requirement that has gone into effect as of 9/17/23.
Consumers are advised to adjust their advertisements to comply. If you do not know the rate of pay your PAs are getting, your FI can tell you.
In CDPA, you are responsible for recruiting and hiring your own personal assistants.
One of the most common mistakes people make about CDPA is that it is only for hiring friends and family.
That certainly is an important part of what makes CDPA so popular, but it is far from the only way to hire workers. CDPAANYS estimates, based on surveys of consumers, that more than half of the New Yorkers who use CDPA do not have or do not wish to hire family, and therefore must advertise to hire personal assistants (PAs).
We’ve created some resources to help you recruit and hire PAs, with the goal of creating lasting and successful work relationships.
Advertising can be done online, in the community, and by word of mouth. While many people don’t advertise because of the cost, there are free and/or low cost ways to do it.
When creating an advertisement
- Job requirements – skills/experience needed, languages spoken, etc.
- “Non-negotiables” and absolute must-haves – create a list of daily activities and rank them in order of importance. Remember – YOU are hiring, so what’s most important to YOU is what matters most.
- Social – Will you want to socialize with the PA, or will the relationship be more professional? Example – sitting down and sharing a meal together
- Be clear that the job is CDPA – not traditional home care.
- Information about pay and using an FI – benefits, overtime, etc.
- Use inviting language that encourages candidates to apply.
- If you are tech savvy, you can create an online application or form using Google Forms, Microsoft Forms, and other similar sites. There are a number of templates that are available.
- Some places in New York, primarily New York City, require you to list the pay rate in any official job advertisement. This is also a best practice, to keep from getting through a complex process only to have someone turn down the job because they thought they would make more.
- Too many details about you, your identity, or specific location. A stranger should not be able to figure out who you are based on the content of your ad.
- Information about past negative experiences. Let the past be the past.
- Any language discriminating against protected classes! The list of protected classes can differ by county, and in New York City includes groups not included under state law.
- Asking your fiscal intermediary (FI) what resources they can assist you with. Sometimes they have online or paper resources of people looking for employment as a PA.
- Posting your ad to your social media accounts.
- Hiring websites such as Care.com, Craigslist, and Indeed.com. – note that many times these sites contain individuals who are looking for much more than Medicaid will pay, so it is particularly important to make sure to note the wage.
- Hang flyers on community bulletin boards and job boards.
- Speaking with current and former PAs and consumers, and their networks.
- Contacting religious organizations, community groups, community & cultural centers. Places you frequent are likely to attract applicants with similarities in culture, language, and other matters important to you.
For details, including sample questions, read our full interview guide.
Before you pick up the phone to schedule an interview with a personal assistant (PA) candidate, decide:
- When you are available for the interview;
- Where the interview will be held. (NOTE: DO NOT hold an interview at your home or apartment.)
Figure out your needs ahead of the interview
It is important to be well prepared and organized before the interview begins. If you are unprepared or unable to answer basic questions, the candidate may not want to work for you. If the candidate has a question you cannot answer, don’t make something up. Tell them you will find out an answer (including how you plan to do so, if possible), give them a time frame in which you will respond to them, and then keep your word.
Start the interview off right
There are many ways to start an interview – some better than others. We recommend always beginning with a warm welcome and thanking the person who is being interviewed. Remember, each applicant is a fresh start, and you want them to feel optimistic about the job. Your previous experience with other PAs has nothing to do with the person you are interviewing.
Ask the right things during the interview
You want to make sure you are getting a good picture of who will be working for you, what they can and are willing to learn to do, and whether they will be a good fit. It is always best to ask every candidate you interview the same set of questions. Printing the questions in advance, or having a computer or other device that you can record notes on, is best.
What NOT to ask at an interview
This is a professional interview, so please structure your interview questions accordingly. Under no circumstances should you ask questions about race, gender, gender identity, sexuality, height, weight, pregnancy or plans to become pregnant, religion, age, or any other protected class.
Ending the interview
Ending an interview is just as important as beginning one. Let the candidate know your process and where you are in it. It is understandable that they are not your only interview (even if they are, don’t tell them!!). Then, let the candidate know when they can expect to hear from you about the job or a second interview. You want the candidate to leave feeling inspired and excited about the prospect of their new job.
Follow-up and hiring decisions
How you follow up after the interview is important – do it quickly! Home care workers and PAs are in short supply, but they are in high demand.
- Have a schedule that is easily accessible using a whiteboard or dry erase board – or if you are comfortable with technology, a shared electronic calendar such as Google Calendar.
- If there are scheduling conflicts or problems, talk with your PAs to find the solutions. A solution found together will be better accepted than one that is demanded.
- Talk with your PAs before you make a new schedule. This will allow you to incorporate any changes they may request and keep you from having to redo your schedules to accommodate requests.
- All working people like knowing which days they have off. When possible, schedule your PAs for the same or similar days of the week, and try to provide as much advance notice as possible about the schedule – especially when it changes.
- Plan your schedule out as far in advance as possible, especially if your PAs need to travel to your location. “On-call” scheduling can be stressful and lead a PA to quit.
- If you have to change the schedule, give your PAs as much notice as you can. If possible, work with them on how to fill the changes.
- Not all PAs want to work full time hours, and it’s OK to have multiple part-time PAs. This is a great way to bring in someone whose greatest strengths are tasks that only take a few hours per week.
- Before your PA starts work, establish a set of rules and expectations and communicate these clearly when the job starts. Doing this in writing and reviewing them together orally is best.
- Understand that supervising your PAs works best when you plan and organize for your own activities as a supervisor. What tasks must you do to support your PAs as they work?
- Keep your relationship professional. The work itself is personal in nature, but the line between manager and employee should be clear. This is especially important when your PA is family.
- Communication is key when training. This is VERY important from a safety perspective. When preparing to train a PA to perform sensitive tasks like transferring or catheterization, write the steps down.
- Speak up. Small problems can often be resolved with a conversation before they become big problems.
- If you have a problem with a PA, such as finding them on a cell phone after you have repeatedly asked them not to use one while working, don’t jump straight to judgement. Ask questions first. Who knows, that cell phone conversation may have been a school nurse, or the PA may have been trying to figure out how to arrange travel for a sick child so he or she didn’t have to leave the job at a moment’s notice. Context – and conversation – matter.
- In CDPA, while the consumer is in charge, it is often feasible to involve your PAs in the decision making process. This shows that you value your employees’ knowledge and understanding of the work they do.
- Schedule regular “check-ins” with your PAs to evaluate their performance and give both of you the chance to provide feedback in a non-judgmental environment.
- Try to be flexible where possible and it does not compromise the work that needs to get done. Rigidly sticking to procedure without reason can alienate PAs who may only be trying to find the best way for them to carry out a task. It may also keep you from finding new more effective ways of doing things.
- Have an action plan in place if for any reason you have to fire a PA. This is not about assuming the worst of people, but about protecting yourself and ensuring your continued well-being. Before you fire anyone, ask yourself “How am I getting out of bed tomorrow?”
Recording from our recent webinar on how to recruit personal assistants.