Today I am off to south London for an assessment day for
residential social workers who have applied for jobs with a client.
My role is to carry out the type of personal interview recommended
by Lord Warner. Armed with my tape recorder and psychometric
materials, I arrive at the assessment centre. I do my best to put
applicants at ease. Realistically, the maximum number that one can
deal with in any day is four before exhaustion sets in. After a few
minutes, the applicants forget the tape recorder and become totally
involved in their life histories and what motivates them. The
personality measure that they complete at the beginning gives added
insight into their suitability and how they are likely to fit in
with their colleagues.
I start to write up the results of yesterday’s sessions. At
lunchtime, I receive a call from GMTV. Another child abuse
conviction – can I give my opinion in the continuing debate over
Megan’s Law? This gives us a chance to keep the awareness up in a
responsible way – it’s hard enough to educate the professionals let
alone the public.
In the afternoon I hold a brainstorming session with colleagues
about ways to attract more people into the residential care
profession. We have found that a lot of good people do not even
consider it because they assume they will require a lot of
qualifications. The reality is that many people go into the work
with no qualifications or experience at all, often by accident.
They may also see their life choices as limited to the lowest paid
occupations anyway. Often they have limited communication skills.
The attrition rate is high: there has to be a way to attract more
people who would not normally consider the job but would be ideal
in terms of education level and personality. Leave the ideas with
our specialist recruitment marketing team to mull over.
More assessments today. Iam shocked to discover in the first
interview that the applicant had been sacked from a previous job
for gross misconduct – improper association with a young person in
his care. He has answered “No” to the question about whether he had
ever been dismissed or disciplined. But how did he get this far in
the process and why had he been employed by an agency since then?
Why is he not on the Protection of Children Act 1999 list for
people considered unsuitable to work with children? The list is
only as good as the information given to it.
Today I am helping an airline select pilots using competency-based
interviewing and personality profiling. Suitability in respect of
culture and personality apply in the same way as social care and a
lot of the requirements are the same: ability to cope under
pressure, team working, and culture fit are certainly essential in
both arenas. Thank God it’s Friday!