Complete Job Description #1: Part 3 of a series on Personal Care Assistants: A Guide to Hiring, Training, and Firing
Write It Down
This is part three of a series I’m writing on hiring a personal care assistant or caregiver. Check the bottom of the hub for links to the other parts of the series.
The following is an example of a personal-care assistant job description that I posted on my website for any potential employees to read. I referenced my website in the classified ad when I advertised for the position. I also made a hard copy available to every person who comes for an interview.
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Check for Understanding
I ask each applicant if they have read it and if they have any questions. Even if the interviewee has no questions, I go over it again quickly to check for understanding. Some people get nervous in an interview and will scan printed material too quickly while others might try to hide a reading problem by just pretending to have read the document.
Reading problems aren’t an issue per se but I need to know if it will be necessary to compensate on-the-job. (I have one PCA presently who is severely dyslexic. I know about her reading problems so we work to compensate.) However, it is vitally important that I have someone who can read and write in English.
Why I Use This
This type of long-winded job description helps folks to understand that this is a broad ranging job and I am a direct person. Having both pieces of information gives the interviewee a clearer picture of what to expect if they are hired.
Truth be told, however, this job description has also scared a few people off, which is not always a bad thing. It will very quickly discourage anyone who is expecting a “sitting” job or one that is undemanding. Still, it is not a panacea. I get interviewees who are totally unsuitable. I have hired a few of them over the years.
Long and Detailed
At any rate, here it is:
Personal-Care Assistant Position as advertised in the newspaper.
Hours: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday
Wage: $XX per hour
I withhold Social Security, taxes and report all income. Some of your wages come from me and some from the State of Virginia. I pay by check once every two weeks on Thursday. The state pays you every two weeks as well. The result is you will receive one check a week.
Responsibilities: personal-care, driving, some lifting, cleaning, shopping, paperwork. You must be willing to learn to use a computer although experience is not necessary. I must have someone who can speak, read, and write English.
General information: I'm a 50-year-old high-level quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury. I'm paralyzed from the chest down. I can do very little for myself physically and require help at all levels of daily living. I'm also a teacher, volunteer at a nonprofit, and run my household. I have deadlines, appointments, and people who depend on me to do my job. This means I must depend on you to do yours.
I am looking for a reliable individual with a positive attitude. I want to establish a schedule and stick to it. You must be honest and even tempered. I need someone who is flexible in their job duties. Anything you might do for yourself or your family at your house is something I might ask you to do for me here. I have dogs so those with allergies or a fear of dogs might not want to apply.
This job will be demanding but interesting. On an average day, you would meet me at my house, assist me with paperwork then some cleaning, and assist with the personal-care I need to get ready for bed. You must be completely comfortable with the human body and all bodily functions! As you can see, bringing your children to work is NOT an option. We will generally work straight through with one or two short breaks. I don’t mind if you take or make the occasional cell phone call but I do expect you to respect me and this job by keeping these calls to a minimum.
I do not require experience for any of this, simply a willingness to learn. I'm happy to do the training necessary.
I require at least four references. Two must be work references. I ALWAYS CHECK REFERENCES. It will take me about a week after the interviews to check all the references. At that point, I will either hire someone or place the ad again. Sometimes it's necessary to do second interviews if there are too many people to choose from. If you are hired, you will have two days of training. One training day will be at half pay and the other at full pay.
When you decide to leave my employ, I require three weeks notice. It is extremely important that you call if you are unable to come in to work. Except in the case of extreme emergency, I will terminate you immediately if you do not call and do not show up for work.
I try to be calm, honest, and fair in my dealings with all people. I like to have things settled so I can know what to expect and others understand what they can expect of me. I like to work differences out quietly and calmly. I'm not a screamer and I don't like working with screamers or drama queens.
The personal-care assistant position I am replacing is a woman who has been with me for almost 15 years and is leaving because she is taking the day position. My other day person was with me for 17 years and left for a job with benefits. As for my other assistants, one has been with me for almost 6 years, the other for 5 years. I had a new assistant for almost a year but had to terminate her for missing work too often.
I will contact you one way or the other as soon as I make a decision. If you decide that this is not your job then please call and let me know so I can remove your name from my list. You can contact me at
City, State and Zip
Thank you for your time.
Use What Works
This written approach may not work for you. It will take some experience with PCAs to be able to quantify your needs and wishes.
You may prefer just talking without being too specific. Each to their own.
The next topic in a series will cover the actual interview. Links to the other articles in this series are at the bottom.
Please let me know if this information is helpful or if you do it a different way. I'd love to learn how other folks manage.
Other Topics in This Series
- Complete Job Description #2: Part 3 of a series on P...
This job description comes from a friend of mine. He is also a quadriplegic in his 50s. I thought it might be useful to see how someone else does it. PARTIAL LIST OF DUTIES Note this IS NOT a...
- What Do You Need? Part 1 of a series on Personal Car...
This is the first of a series of hubs on personal care assistants (PCA). Many people with a disability as well as those folks who have charge of caring for a person with a disability will have the need to...
- The Classified Ad: Part 2 of a series on Personal Ca...
The time has come to put a classified in the newspaper. I've defined the position of PCA as best I can. I know when I need a personal care assistant and I know what I want them to do. I also know what I...
- Interviews: Part 4 of a series on Personal Care Assi...
This is part four of a series on Personal Care Assistants: Hiring, Training, and Firing. It's time for the actual interviews. I've determined what I want a PCA to do, how much to pay them, when I want...
- Checking References: Part 5 of a series on Personal ...
Checking references is arguably the longest and most important part of hiring anyone. It is astounding to me the number of people who skip this step altogether. You are inviting someone to come into your...
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