The Interviewing Process: How to Present your Family to Attract the Right Caregiver
Families with children with special needs know that picking the right support team is THE most important thing. They need to be able to trust that whoever they are inviting into their home can be trusted with the children, but in the case of our host families, can also provide suitable therapy support.
So, you need to consider how you present yourself from your application, to the first video call and to that first meeting. We have put together some tips to help you along this journey.
- Application: First Impressions
Your application is the first port of call for any of our care professionals, so be clear in your expectations, detail what experience you are looking for, what therapies you are interested in for your child/ren. Share a bit about your personal interests and those of other members of your family. Write down what you enjoy doing as a family and what’s available in and around the area you live in.
Remember to be open and honest in how you describe your daily life as a family.
- Picking Someone for an Interview
Only you will know exactly what you are looking for, and there is no guarantee that you will find someone who ticks all the boxes. Make a list of what are your most important character traits, skills, experience, etc. someone can bring to this relationship.
And ask yourself some simple questions to help guide your decision: Is she a go-getter with a positive outlook? How do they think she will get on with kids and the responsibility of housework? Also, do they think she will cope well with being away from home? The one thing you want to avoid at all costs is a homesick care professional moping around the house all day.
- Speak to Candidates via Video Calls
You want to have a Skype/video conference with the potential caregiver and (if possible) her parents. Have a list of points to cover. For example, how does she feel about leaving home and coming to live with you? Set out exactly what you expect and lay out the schedule of a typical day. Be precise.
Get a feel for her personality and attitude. Does she seem like a good fit? Don’t be afraid to ask for a second Skype/video conference. People have good days and bad days. And don’t forget, she is sizing you and your family up as much as you are her. Be honest and real.
- Get the Children Involved (where possible)
Let’s face it, the kids will need to like her and respect her. She needs to combine an upbeat approach with the ability to deal with children when they are good and when they are bad. Get the children involved in the video conferencing and, afterward, ask them what they thought of her.
And remember this: She will be putting her best foot forward. You will need to try and read between the lines. It’s not a popularity contest. But, at the end of the day, if the kids don’t like her, you would probably be wise to pass.
- The Emphasis Should be on Experience
You’ve decided you need help with the kids. You want your potential caregiver to have not only an extensive amount of childcare experience, but also experience with certain therapies as they could support your child/ren.
In addition to a good amount of skills and experience in certain therapies, another important factor is her personality and attitude. You want a positive “can do” attitude, but you also want a person who is responsible, organised and dependable.
Ask your potential care professional why they have chosen this path. Good answers include improving her English language skills, experiencing another culture and how that culture works with certain therapists.
Bad answers? I’ve just had a big fight with my boyfriend. Or I am just bored. You want positive reasons for doing what she is doing. That may sound like common sense, but you may well need to read between the lines. Pay close attention to what she says and discuss it with your family.
Be open, be honest and be brave throughout the process. Many of our host families form strong bonds with our care professionals and find the entire experience incredibly rewarding and enrichening.