Finding the Right Staff - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Finding the Right Staff

Recruiting and Interviewing Potential Employees

Table of Contents


Finding and hiring staff are important responsibilities of a Funds Administrator. Hiring your own staff is often the best way for you and your family member to have a direct say in how supports are provided.

Developing a Job Description

Finding staff begins with good planning.

Does writing a job description sound like work?

Before you get started, ask yourself some important questions such as:

  • What type(s) of support (e.g. employment, community access, or home living) am I expecting the staff to provide?
  • Does my family member have any specific needs that require special skills?
  • Does the staff need to have any specific knowledge, abilities, skills and/or personal characteristics in order to do the work?
    • Are there any education and experience requirements to perform the work?
    • Are there any other special requirements such as a driver's license, First Aid certificate, Criminal Record Check, etc. that would be beneficial?
    • What are the duties and responsibilities of the position? What are you expecting the staff to accomplish?

Criminal Record Checks and Vulnerable Sector Checks are strongly recommended.

See the fact sheet on Criminal Record Checks.

  • What are the hours of work (full time, part time)?
  • Are there any special conditions associated with the work, such as significant physical demands, hazards and stresses?
  • Does the location where the work is to be performed present any special challenges?

It is a good idea to look at sample job descriptions available online or in other print resources. Some ideas for places to look can be found through the resources identified at the end of this handbook.


Should I Use an Application Form or Ask for a Resume?

Application Form

A job application form is a useful way to make sure you get consistent information. This makes it easier to compare applicants and decide which ones you want to interview. A job application is easier and faster for people to fill out. This may encourage more people to apply for your job.

A good application form is written in plain language and is easy to fill out with enough space provided for complete answers to questions.

Thinking about using a job application form?

Check out the sample Application for Employment (MS-Word format).


A resume allows an applicant to highlight their skills and abilities. This may give you useful information for a follow-up interview. The writing style and language used in the resume may also give you some information about the applicant such as their level of literacy and their attention to detail.

The downside of a resume is that all of them are different. This makes it difficult to compare information from applicants and you might not get all of the information you need.

Where and How to Advertise a Position

The easiest way to find staff is to ask your friends, family members and co-workers for suggestions or talk to other parents and guardians of adults with developmental disabilities. If you do not find the right staff through word of mouth, then you should think about creating a job advertisement.

Creating a Job Advertisement

Here are a few tips for creating a successful job advertisement:

Need some help writing a job ad?

  • Keep it simple and short. Write five to six complete sentences to answer the following questions:
    • What is the name of the position?
    • What type of work is involved?
    • What are the hours? Full time? Part time? Overnight? Shift?
    • What is the average salary? (Many people do not list pay information, but if you do you may get a better response)
    • Where and to whom should an applicant send their application? If there is an application form, where can they access it?
  • Proofread your job posting. Read it aloud, use spell check, and have someone else read it. Spelling mistakes and bad grammar may discourage educated people from applying.


It is illegal to show preference or ask applicants questions about their race, religious beliefs, colour, sex, physical characteristics, age, ancestry, place of origin or disability.

There are many different ways to advertise your job and reach job seekers. As you think about the different ways to advertise remember:

  • One plan does not fit all. What worked for someone else may not work for you. Find the right fit for you
  • Think about your audience. Which option will help you reach people who may be interested in and qualified for the job you have available?
  • Do not put all your eggs in one basket. One strategy may not be enough - try several strategies
Where to advertise Pros Cons
Online Advertisements
Use internet websites such as:
Most websites allow postings free of charge or for a small fee
Job ads can be longer
Job ads can be posted easily and updated when necessary
Job ads run for a longer time period (usually up to 30 days)
Only reach applicants that have computer skills
Can be difficult to choose the best site
Lots of job ads online
This could make your job more difficult to find
Print Advertisements
Place your ad in your local or regional newspaper.
Used by many job seekers
Quick way to reach an audience
Can be very expensive (you pay per word)
Job ad must be quite short
Takes longer to get responses from applicants
Billboards in Schools, Community Centres, etc.
Place your ad on billboards in schools, universities, community centres, grocery stores etc.
Allows you to find people with specific qualifications
May help you find a staff in your community
Takes longer to get responses from applicants
Only reaches applicants that use these places
You may not get a large response

Interviewing Potential Employees

Go through the application forms and/or resumes you have received. Pick a few candidates that you think would be suitable and schedule an interview. Make sure your family member is involved in the interview process as much as possible.

Think about where you want to have the interview. Are you comfortable interviewing the person in your home, or would you prefer to meet in a coffee shop? Although it is better to meet the applicant in person, a phone interview is also an option.

Top 10 Tips for Successful Interviewing

Need some help deciding which questions to ask?

  1. Identify the "must haves". What are the 3-5 characteristics or qualifications that are most important?
  2. If possible, interview with another person
  3. Prepare questions ahead of time
  4. Do not ask the interviewee to provide information that you already have
  5. Ask them to sign a Reference Check Release Form. This way you know you have their permission to contact their references
  6. Start the interview with some general, easy to answer questions and move to more difficult or sensitive questions later
  7. Ask the interviewee to spend a few minutes telling you why they would like the job
  8. Ask the interviewee to describe past situations where they demonstrated the skills/qualities you are seeking
  9. Only ask questions that are related to the job
  10. Ask the interviewee if they have any questions

Doing Reference Checks

Where can I find a Reference Check Release Form?

You should always do a reference check on your staff.

A reference check is a good way to check and make sure the information you have is correct. A good reference check will give you information about how the applicant works with other people.


Need some help deciding which questions to ask?

Tips for Effectively Checking References:

  • A telephone reference is better than a written reference
  • Do not ask questions about an applicant's personal life
  • Ask open ended questions. Ask questions that give you information about how the applicant interacts with other people

Doing Criminal Record Checks

Want more information on Criminal Record Checks?

Talk to your PDD regional staff. See the fact sheet on Criminal Record Checks.

You should ask potential employees for a Criminal Record Check.

A Criminal Record Check will help you make sure you hire the right staff and keep your family member safe.

Criminal Record Checks are available from the local police station or RCMP office. A fee is usually charged for these.


How to Offer the Job

After you decide which person you would like to hire, it is a good idea to give them a written offer letter. This will prevent miscommunication and ensure an easier transition for you and the person being hired.

Writing a Job Offer Letter?

Here are some things you should include in an offer letter:

  • A message offering the job to the person
  • A short description of the key responsibilities
    (It is also a good idea to include a copy of the job description as an attachment)
  • When would you like them to start?
    • How many hours will they work? Are there specific times and dates?
  • What is the salary or hourly rate of pay?
  • Are there any "conditions of employment" (e.g. Criminal Record Check, valid driver's license, First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training)?
  • Who will they report to?
  • Who should they contact?
  • When should they let you know what they decide?

It is also a good idea to discuss the job offer with your employee in person or by phone.



OCC Info - Alberta Occupational Profiles

Developing a job description? Have a look at OCC Info - Alberta Occupational Profiles. Some of the work may already be done for you.


Canada - Alberta Job Order Bank Services (JOBS)

This is a job bank that allows you to post job advertisements for free through the Internet.


Human Resources Development Canada

An online information source that provides helpful information for employers on a many different topics. Has information on how to write job descriptions and find staff.



The following books and other materials are available free of charge in print and online from Alberta Employment and Immigration.

Finders & Keepers: Recruitment and Retention Strategies

Employers who are able to find and keep valued employees gain the upper hand in today's labour market. Finders & Keepers provides proven strategies and practical tools to help employers attract, recruit, select and retain employees. It condenses best practices and current research into practical and affordable steps. It also contains information about additional resources and includes blank worksheets.

Beyond Pay and Benefits: Effective Practices from Alberta Employers

Alberta business owners and managers share effective recruitment and retention practices that go beyond wage and employee benefit packages.

Employing a Diverse Workforce: Making it Work

Employing a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive workplace is a strategy that works for both employers and workers. This book provides you with examples on how Alberta employers retain and engage a highly motivated and diverse workforce

To get a copy of these guides and others:

  • Call the Alberta Career Information Hotline at 1-800-661-3753
  • Go online at:
  • Visit the Alberta Employment and Immigration service centre nearest you. To find an office close to you, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline


Please note: the following documents and forms are samples only; you are not required to use them. Please feel free to change the samples or make up your own documents to fit your needs.

All samples are in MS-Word format.

Modified: 2013-07-19
PID: 15066