Osilla Institute’s edge among others, is that we are Toronto’s focused one certificate program that only specializes in the PSW career, we know all parts of the career so well, having had this focus for 30 years.

Being a Personal Support Worker is a great option for a young person or career changer because there are no specific entry requirement or qualification.

Whether the role is based in a hospital, day center, or out in the community, your interviewers will need to establish if you’re well suited to the position. So once you’ve landed yourself an interview, how can you express that you’re the right person for the job?

Here is a list of the usual interview questions you could be asked with expert tips on how to answer them.

Can you describe what you think a Personal Support Worker does and what type of people or groups you might work with?

Maggie Hennessy, associate director of social care and education at HR Company Penna: “This is a very open question and will show the employer whether the applicant understands the expectations of the job – you need to look up a job description and see what the role involves. It’s a good test of whether they’ve done any research, especially if candidates are coming from a different country where the roles may differ.”

Can you provide an example of how you’ve contributed to effective team working?

Roop Bhumbra, director of social care at Hays recruiters: “This is intended to show employers you’ll work well with other social workers and your management team. It will also permit employers to find out if you have the expertise and standards for social care. The best example will show how you have pay attention to the colleagues and supported them. Preparation is important here so have an example that clearly shows why team working is important and how your skills influenced the positive outcome.”

Can you describe a stressful experience you’ve had and explain how you coped with it?

Stephen Wilson, managing director of a care at home company, Social Care Alba: “It may not seem directly relevant, but we’re looking to find out whether the candidate can find stress in themselves and if they’re good at problem-solving. You can give any example, like a young baby keeping you up at night, a death in the family, or planning a wedding, it doesn’t matter. The worst response we hear is ‘I never get stressed’. It only shows you have no understanding or recognition of when a situation is complex or needs to be handled sensitively. We’re not looking to catch people out, we’re looking to find out whether they can identify these situations.”

If you were delivering personal support to someone, how would you maintain their dignity and respect?

Stephen Wilson: “This gets candidates to think about how the other person is going to feel. They need to show they can do the job thoughtfully, encouraging the individual to do as much for themselves as possible, while offering support. The most significant thing is to always communicate. Explain how you would promote the person’s independence and help them over time gain the ability to do more for themselves. It shows us the candidate has a deep understanding of the role.”

Explain how your understanding of current legislation would inform your daily work

Roop Bhumbra: “Your answer needs to show an employer you have knowledge, experience and understanding of relevant legislation within areas like mental health or child protection. These are always changing so it’s essential you keep up-to-date. You may then investigate deeper into your areas of expertise in your answer. Refer to specific regulations or guidance, acknowledge why the legislation is important and how you would use it in the role.”

Safeguarding is an important and topical issue. When going into someone’s home, how would you know they are safe and healthy? If you felt concerned, what would you do?

Maggie Hennessy: “You need to explain what you’d look out for and the signs that someone is in a safe environment. For example, you need to look around at their surroundings; does the person look cared for, do they have somewhere clean to sleep, do they have food and water available, are there signs of abuse, and have there been any behavioral changes? The care worker would need to speak to the person to see if they reveal anything, and if they have ongoing concerns, report it to their manager. We need people who take the time to follow up with someone if they’re worried.”

Succinctly talk us through a complex child protection case you’ve worked on, where you have achieved good outcomes for the child involved.

Roop Bhumbra: “An employer will be looking to see if you have understood and listened to the twofold question. It is common with such questions that interviewees get confused answering the first part and forget about the second. Interviewers are not solely looking for case details; they want you to talk about the end result for your service user, and your role in delivering the outcome. Give an outline of the case, but place emphasis on how you were sensitive to the best interests of the service user in your actions and the outcome.”

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Personal Support Worker, please follow the link and fill out the form and we’ll schedule a time to come in for a coffee / tea / water and chat.