Youth Interview Panel – Children in Care Team Manager
In September 2023, three care-experienced individuals who are part of We Do Care helped to appoint a new manager for the Children in Care team. The person in this role manages the social workers that visit children and young people who are in care.
The hiring manager, Amanda, wanted the youth interview panel to help assess the candidates’ personalities, open-ness, and abilities to work well with young people.
All of the managers in Buckinghamshire Council Children’s Services believe that youth interview panels are important, and are committed to involving young people in the recruitment of new Children’s Services colleagues.
Amanda and the Participation Team worked together on the plans for the Youth Interview Panel, to make sure the panel members had an enjoyable experience while meaningfully contributing to the decision of who should get the role.
Preparing for the interview panel
The Participation Team approached three members of We Do Care, who kindly agreed to help with this interview panel.
The panel members worked with Carol after the Social Saturday 16+ session to prepare for the Interview Panel. They discussed the format and wrote their own questions to ask the candidates.
The Interview Panel and Activity
The panel happened at a time and in a place that worked well for the panel members. It was on a weekday, the day after the candidates took part in a professional interview panel. The panel members met in-person and the candidates joined the interview remotely via MS Teams. Carol was present in the room during the interviews to support the panel members to take part, but was not part of the interview panel.
The panel members asked questions and discussed the candidates’ responses to a task they completed on the previous day. The atmosphere was lively and friendly during the interviews.
After the interviews had finished, the panel members discussed the responses and scored the candidates.
Then, Amanda dialled into the room via MS Teams and spoke to the Youth Interview Panel members about how the interviews went, the scores they gave and why, and how genuine the candidates came across. Together, they discussed how well the candidates did in both the professional panel and Youth Interview Panel and the young panel members were informed of the next steps.
How did we listen, act and respond?
The hiring manager listened by ensuring young people fed into the recruitment process for this important role. The Participation Team helped to make this happen by facilitating a youth interview panel.
The youth interview panel members were provided with the information, training, and resources that they needed to take part in this opportunity effectively, as well as the freedom to decide the questions and lead the interviews themselves.
The panel members were supported by the Participation Team to process and articulate their opinions on the candidates and the responses that the candidates gave, so that their voices could be effectively heard by the hiring manager.
The hiring manager Amanda came to meet the panel members after the interview panel to hear their thoughts on the candidates directly.
The Youth Interview Panel members provided their feedback and scores to the hiring manager, Amanda, after the interviews.
Amanda used this feedback to help decide which of the candidates were offered the role.
Their feedback was treated with as much respect as the feedback from the professionals panel. The scores the panel members gave made up 25% of the overall scores for the candidates. The youth interview panel also helped to assess the candidates’ responses to the written exercise the day before, alongside the professional panel.
The panel members were informed of next steps when they spoke with the hiring manager. They were kept up to date by Carol over the weeks that followed.
On the day of the interviews, the panel members were provided with refreshments. They also received a £25 One4All voucher and a certificate to thank them for their time, effort, and valuable contribution.
Impact and Learning
The youth interview panel was a success. The panel members enjoyed being part of the project and gained useful work experience, and the hiring manager received valuable input from them that was useful in deciding the candidate to appoint to the role.
Feedback from the hiring manager, Amanda:
Good Afternoon all,
I just want to feedback whilst it is so fresh in my mind how impressed I am at [the panel members’] contribution to the CiC team manager interviews. Their participation was delivered short notice and they have done an absolutely sterling job. It was really lovely chatting with them this afternoon.
Their feedback was informative, measured and invaluable to the outcome of the interview process. I really look forward to working with them in future.
Great job Carol too – could you please thank [the panel members] on my behalf for giving up their time to support this process.
Kind regards, Amanda
Feedback from a candidate
One of the candidates for this Youth Interview Panel provided this feedback following their interview:
Thanks so much guys – Please send my positive comments to [the panel members]. They presented their questions clearly and professionally… I was very impressed. Best Wishes.
Interested in getting involved?
If you are interested in taking part in an opportunity like this one, please contact the Participation Team.