Stefanie originally wrote this post for the Nov/Dec Issue of ANCOR LINKS.
It takes a lot of work and skill to become a great Direct Support Professional. It also takes a lot of work to hire a great Direct Support Professional. The interview is the most important stage of the hiring process because it's where you see if the individual has the personal touch needed to effectively care for your organization's clients. To help ease the hiring process at your organization, we've made a list of the 5 must-ask questions in a Direct Support Professional interview:
"Tell us of an incident that truly tested your ability as a Direct Support Professional."
Rationale: With this behavioral question, you can get an idea of a person's past behavior which should be predictive of their future actions as an employee at your organization. If they have no experience as a community support worker, ask about a time that they successfully calmed a difficult situation. For the answer, a great candidate's response should include the specific actions they took, all while keeping calm and ensuring client well-being is a priority.
"If you were delivering personal care to a client, how would you go about your duties while keeping their dignity and respect?"
Rationale: Not only does this question provide you (the interviewer) with insight into the candidate's situational behavior, but it also gives you the opportunity to understand how deeply they know the role and its responsibilities. The main components of their answer that must be taken into account are their ability to do the job empathetically, encourage the individual, while offering support through open communication.
"If a client was being difficult or displaying aggressive behavior while receiving care, what would you do?"
Rationale: Situational questions are crucial in Direct Support Professional interviews. With this being a potentially common issue for your staff, the candidate's response must be in line with your organization's practices, while also being ethical and permitted by legislation.
"How important do you think a Direct Support Professional is to the client? Why?"
Rationale: Although this is a slightly more open-ended question, the candidate's response should be indicative of their character. In their response, a successful candidate would answer with a focus on values such as compassion, empathy, and friendship.
"Why do you feel that you are well-equipped to handle the responsibilities of a Direct Support Professional?"
Rationale: This question is relatively open-ended; however, the things you should be looking for are desirable personality traits and experience. For a candidate to become a successful employee, they need to have various interpersonal skills and technical certifications that are consistent with those of a great community support worker. The key takeaway here is that a successful candidate should be able to articulate what it is about them that makes them the best fit for the position.
Want to use these questions and more in your next interview? Download the complete Direct Support Professional Interview Guide and start hiring great staff!