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What attracts you to a job? will you help me with my job ad pls!

(26 Posts)
DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 00:46:58

hello there,
I'm finally going to bite the bullet and start looking for someone to fill an 'evening nanny/housekeeper/ helper for disabled mum' job. I've really struggled to fill this role and I cant bear another bad recruitment attempt as each time it makes me really ill and I end up having to take someone on who isn't very good as I just can't cope without someone - and each time it hasn't worked out! argggh!

So I'm really hoping you can lend me your experiences and expertise to get it right this time!

Basically, Im a disabled single mum and I need someone to help me all day every day, and I have 2 brilliant and lovely and amazing people already, but need someone to do some of the evenings and hoping they could also do the odd weekend day/ fill in for emergencies etc too.

Its a bit of an inbetweeny job as it needs someone who's good at looking after my ds (3yrs old), cooking and helping out around the house, and also helping me by fetching/ carrying etc. I've had really really bad experiences with 'carers' which is why I'm going to post adverts in child care sections of advertising places i think.

The main problems I've had are because I cant seem to tell from cv/ telephone call/ even interviews/ trials actually, whether someone has the right skills and attitude to be able to do the job. People (espeically younger people I've noticed) are really good at talking the talk and coming across so well in the interviews, but it bares no resemblance to whether they are good at the job, or even actually want the job!

I'd love to somehow attract wonderful people who understand/ can empathise with me being disabled, and also maybe be able to screen out people who wont be good? how on earth do I do this? I'm finding it impossible. I think I found the other 2 people by chance so I dont have a clue how to go about it and stop making myself so ill with countless interviews and trials and ugh!

sooo, any ideas? please?

The two main areas which I've had problems with are:

1.building a relationship with my son (he's really sociable but he misses me in the evenings as I have to rest and lie in bed most of the time)

e.g. I've had people tell him mummy was v v ill and then wondered why he freaked out (thanks for that, hummm), someone scalded him in the bath and lied about it, and the current person won't play with him and doesnt listen to him when he's speaking, then tells him off when he gets upset cos he's not being listened to. If he doesnt regard the person as a fun/ nice person for him, he quickly understands they are just here to take him away from me, and cries and cries when she walks in the door - its hideous, really really upsetting.

2.learning & empathise with my disability needs

eg Not bring their own assumptions about what disabled people can and cant do, and impose it on me. I've had people shout at me, abuse me, steal from me... and those were supposedly qualified carers! since I've taken on recruitment for myself thats got much better, but its really difficult to find someone who is willing to understand beyond their own preconceptions. For example, who won't bring in things and hold them where I can see them, so I have to strain myself trying to see and really hurting myself, and then acting all offended and 'I'm so good for this' when I ask them to pick something up off the floor as I cannot bend and pick it up... its sounds like small stuff when i write it down, but when you're in a body as rubbish as mine, its not small stuff at all.

I dont know how to find out if someone will be more empathetic/ thoughtful as people wont have thought about this stuff before the interview, so I cant expect it then, but then if I give examples the interview 'gloss' takes over and there is alot of nodding and smiling, which doesnt mean anything!

arrrgggghhh! sorry for long post, Im just so desperate and I know there are lots of good people out there, but I just dont know how to find them...

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 15-May-13 00:59:55

Try SNAP

They're a nanny/childcare/carer agency that deals specifically with families with additional needs.

I've never used them, but have only heard good things. I normally advise against using agencies, but it might be worth paying out to find the right person.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 03:29:31

I just paid £900 for the pleasure of my current awful person :-(
i have no money left for another agency, and feel really conned into the bargain.
i will look at the link though, its just i have no idea how i would pay for it. bugger.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 03:38:45

wow they look amazing, i wish id known about them this time last year sad definitely cant afford £1150 8 weeks after the last one, i struggle with paying for all the care as it is, direct payments don't really cover it and i have to pay loads more myself. oh dear.

DerbyshireNanny Wed 15-May-13 06:38:00

Hi doublelife
Sorry you have had such a bad experience.
Which part of the country are you in

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 09:28:14

London

iluvkids Wed 15-May-13 10:51:17

Put a private and on www.great care.co.UK ... Loads of nannies get jobs on there emailed to them

Also try nanny job.co.UK

And childcare.co.UK

And your local net mums

NomDeClavier Wed 15-May-13 12:03:27

Will the agency not replace the candidate they sent you?

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 15-May-13 13:27:55

It's a difficult one because what you're looking for is so specific. It doesn't sound like a lot of hours, which may put some people off. I'm not sure if advertising in childcare sections is going to uncover many candidates who are experienced in dealing with adults with disabilities. I'm a nanny and I like to think that I'm kind/empathetic, but I'm sure I could be guilty of things like holiding something where you couldn't see it etc, just out of inexperience. From the sound of it you need someone who is experienced in this kind of care and I'm not sure where these people would go other than SNAP. Maybe try posting in chat or somewhere with high traffic and ask if anyone knows a site like childcare.co.uk, but for carers/special needs nannies?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 14:20:03

Hi Outraged I dont want someone who is a 'carer' as Ive had such bad experiences with that before, and most carers through agencies are not insured to be alone with children/ care for children/ even feed them! I had ridiculous things like people refusing to make food for him, but making food for me and I had to give him food off my plate!

By empathetic I mean someone who is willing to learn and after I;ve explained something, can understand why I need something done a certain way, and wont get in a huff/ take umbrage at it.

For example my current person absolutely refuses to lower the plate so I can see whats on it, and also refuses to tell me in words whats on it! She seems to think its me taking the piss and by refusing to do this, she forces me to injure my neck each night - and even though she's been told so many times, just will not 'lower herself' to do something she has decided is unnecessary.

Thats what I mean by empathy - how can a normal person think their behaviour is ok in that situation?!

Both of the amazing people I have currently had absolutely no experience with disability, but are nice, kind people who use their brains and understand that its in their power to make life easier for me, or to cause me real physical pain and suffering... its that I'm really struggling to find.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 14:22:53

Nom no the agency will not sad

They have a sliding scale of paying it back - 90% after 1 week, 80% after 2, and nothing after 8 weeks, and no obligation to try and find someone better.

I really wanted it to work with this person, and I couldn't believe she wouldn't be able to learn quite basic things over time... and I was desperate. So by the time it became clear that she was utterly unsuitable, I couldn't get my money back so have to continue with her even though its awful...

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 14:24:11

also, I made the hours longer to attract someone, and so now I have to pay someone to do more hours than I wanted ... badly. Whereas my other 3 carers could be doing more, and better. I really am in a state...

notapoloshirtperson Wed 15-May-13 15:12:15

Double, are you very specific at interview?

I know you are probably trying to strike a balance between attracting good candidates and yet not putting them off, but maybe you are not being specific enough at interview? I appreciate employing someone in this kind of role is, essentially, a very personal thing.

Have you written a very detailed job description? You really need to put in everything in minute detail if possible. Send it to prospective candidates, and if they are still interested, at interview, pick out parts of it and ask them how they feel.

Ask them about particular scenarios..what would you do if....how would you handle this situation..?

Always have a trial morning/afternoon..more if you can afford it!

You could possibly call the role Family Support?
Someone with this kind of background should know when to step in and when to take a step back, yet have enough childcare experience to take sole charge when necessary.

I really hope you find someone lovely soon!

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 15-May-13 19:11:27

Can the people you already have not increase their hours to cover the times you need? The right person is out there, but I guess it's a needle in a haystack situation OP.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 23:20:26

One is already doing 59 hrs! And the other is amazing but not reliable as this is not her 'vicarion' and if anything comes along which is in the field she's committed to, she will always prioritise that, so I give her about 14 hrs a week but can't rely on her for more.

Going to email snap, but goodness knows how I'd pay for it...

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 23:21:05

Vocation! what's a Vocarion?!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sun 19-May-13 23:52:15

NotAPolo I am very specific at interview, which is why I feel like have hit a brick wall as far as interviews are concerned.

I give them a detailed job description, and ask them questions.

I guess I should ask them more 'What would you do if ...'
It's very difficult to get through the interview gloss, the urge to perform well at interview...

ConfusedPixie Mon 20-May-13 12:12:29

I have no clue but remember some of ype threads about previous 'carers' sad I'd happily do that kind of job, I have aspects of more mothers helper type work in a current job as one of my bosses has chronic fatigue so I'll do some pa bits for her. Maybe somebody who isn't as experienced would be an idea, an older childcare student or something?

Might be worth calling your locals colleges and unis to see if they have a responsible young adult who wants some evening work doing a bit if childcare and house hold bits?

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 20-May-13 13:07:11

What kind of interview do you do? Maybe it's worth just doing a trial afternoon, rather than a sit-down interview. May give you a better idea of what they're like 'on the job'? You can address questions etc through email and a phone interview.

I remember some of your threads about carers, you have had a shit time of it.

What are you advertising the role as at the moment? It sounds like a mother's help plus personal assistant to me. I wonder if you could somehow try to target people with nursing type backgrounds who no longer want the shift work.

I am a nurse (not practising right now) and it strikes me that the skillset would be a good match - someone who can use their noggin, treat you as a mum who needs assistance rather than a disabled person , ideally with childcare experience but at least genuinely likes children.

I think scenarios are a good idea for interview. So you can evaluate their approach to things, make sure they have some common sense.

Have you done a person specification/detailed job description for the role? It may help both you and the applicants to prioritise what skills/experience are most vital for what you need.

I wish I was nearer, I would love to help you screen and interview, it would be right up my street smile You see, you need someone like me (but who likes other people's children, I am only really keen on my own TBH grin ).

What is it about your current helpers that makes them so good?
What hours do you need? How flexible do they need to be? Are you able to offer an attractive wage?

BenjaminButton172 Mon 20-May-13 13:47:52

I think a trial would make u see how people work.

I am shit at sit down interviews. No matter how perfect the job is for me i always mess up the interview.

It sounds like a horrible time u are having. I wish u would get rid of the current one they sound horrid. But then i guess u cant until u get someone else hmm

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 20-May-13 23:46:57

Thanks so much for the lovely helpful posts!

I already do at least one evenings trial, but I think am so battered down by the effort needed that its a question of surviving the trial rather than being able to set things up so that I can give them 'a full work out' as it were... It's so frustrating, basically I'm too in need of the help, to be able to scrape up the time and energy and health to actually make use of a trial properly.

Looking back, it's about 2-3 weeks of awful health draining induction and gradually seeing what someone is like and how they take to the job ... And that's when I start realizing whether they're vaguely ok or not. That's besides the ones that are obviously wrong that is, but even having 1-2 'wrong' trial evenings will take up all my reserves and usually I've no choice but to take the least bad person to stop everything collapsing. Also doing the trials puts my child in a really vulnerable position, and he gets very insecure and shaken unless they few and far between.

I know that sounds really hopeful and unconstructed, but your posts have made me face it head on, and really face it. Good and bad I guess. I want to be so much more capable than I am, I hate being so bloody needy.

Nurses the way you describe them would be great, I wonder how I'd find them? There's a massive opportunity in helping people like me access the help they need... I wish I could set an agency up, instead of being in need of one myself...

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Tue 21-May-13 00:12:59

So you've helped me work out the main things going wrong to date, I'll list them... One step closer to solving them if I know what they are, I guess!

INTERVIEW PROCESS AND TRIALS
- usual process timelines make me too ill to do proper trials or make proper decisions ie multiple interviews -> 1-2 trials in a week is just too much
- how can I do a trial where I can actually trial someone vs lie on bed too ill to do anything but accept what help they can offer and choose the one that coped 'not the worst'
- how can I space interviews & trials so I'm not getting iller without missing out on good people who expect fast/ financially need rapid decisions & employment (& agencies pushing for same, and saying anything and everything to push through a 'sale')
- how can I design a trial session which puts minimal strain on me / ds whilst making it a useful trial?
- Does it have to be an accurate representation of the usual session? As I've been aiming for that and it's not going right
- my current main nanny/ helper being around to help out means that Ds doesn't interact with them at all, so not ideal as a trial, and when she did stay before (as she didn't feel comfortable leaving Ds with a trial - thank goodness!)... The trial-ee spent 3 hrs making dinner! Of rice, roast potatoes and canned tomatoes (ugh!), and didn't show any ability to be able to engage Ds and cook at the same time... Which is a key element. Now I think about it, she was terrible so maybe not because my nanny/helper was there...
- should I do one trial without Ds there at all (he'd have to go stay w my parents, who are 200 miles away so not ideal, and forces me to clump trials together therefore compromising health argh!)... Or have one trial w nanny here and one after without? But spaced out?

THE INTERVIEW GLOSS
- people approach interviews as something to be successful at vs really think about job and skill suitability - need to get behind the 'gloss'. Actually the more polished someone is at interview, the more suspicious I am these days! Im not looking for someone who's an amazing self promotion expert, not a key skill of the job really! Also the more 'performance' speech the interview is, the longer it gets and more draining for me...
- scenario based questions ? Then need to come up with some good ones... I struggle to find ones that it would be fair someone would be able to do without me telling them specifics and 'giving the game away'... In rl I guess a core skill is the ability to understand, and then act on it and not refuse to believe it/ learn it/ remember it... Separate qs for this vs trying to roll into a scenario based q?
- or less reliance on interview & more trials? And then back to 'how to make trials count'?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Tue 21-May-13 00:38:18

Last Post for now - hang on what happened to all the spaces & paragraphs in the last one - sorry probably unreadable sad

What did I like about the two lovely people I employ?
Just written the following... The main themes I've noticed having written it are

- they were both 'slow burners', & it went from me liking them to them 'blooming' in responsibility - both didn't work full time at the start

- I couldnt predict they'd be so good - maybe down to me having such bad experiences, and them building a gentle/ slow connection with Ds, and them stepping up vs coming in at peak performance

- they weren't the 'polished' interviewees

-my main helper has personal experience which was perfect for not having assumptions about disability (tho no caring experience)

Main nanny/ helper
At the time - she was calm and quiet compared to the showing off and 'look at me' types! She was gentle and gave Ds space, as well as me space, no pressure to fill every second with chat & questions - but not wishy washy!

She also has personal experience of a family member being very ill, but it not being a visible thing - so she doesnt have that annoying 'if I don't think you look like the stereotype I have in my head, then you can't be ill'... So she never had to learn this, was already there in her being.

And she just seemed nice!

But I wasn't sure she was a fit at the time, and actually went for someone else who walked with no notice after 8 days, and refused to fill out the crb check form day after day, so suspect an issue there. She was better on paper as she was just finishing a social work degree and wanted to work in care - so I was in shock when she just walked and I'd thought she was nice, I was nice etc... So called up my now nanny/ carer/ helper and explained I'd made a mistake and did she still want the job..,

She did part time for a month (as she was working out notice on previous job). For the first 2-3 weeks was unsure, partly as worried she was too quiet and not bonding with Ds, and mostly cos was so wary of it all! It was probably 6 weeks before I was decided that she was a treasure and was slightly scared I was depending on her so much! She also blossomed when other people let me down and she took on more responsibility.

And the other person I have now part time:
Met her through as she was introduced to me by a short term carer, as potential longer term person. Initially thought she would be ok as an emergency / stop gap person as felt she was more of a babysitter than anything else. Did like that she also went to church and volunteered to take ds, as im too ill to go, but thought she might be a bit 'flightly' ... But thought she seemed nice and Ds liked her.

Used her as an emergency cover person now and again and she just grew into the role. Ds adores her, as she's amazingly imaginative and he feels it's a real treat when she comes round. Have since given her a half day without Ds when she does more of a PA role for me, which she's been great at and never would have expected her to be before she'd been here a couple of months!

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