The Resource Center Hires Job Interviewer

Nancy Barr, right, and Christin Sweat, the assistant manager at one of The Resource Center’s homes, interview a job applicant. Submitted photo

Chances are that if someone has been hired as a direct-care worker at The Resource Center within the last 10 months, he or she has encountered Nancy Barr.

Barr has been receiving supports from TRC for several decades. Last spring, TRC hired her to serve on the panel that interviews potential new employees.

“I just love meeting new people all the time. It is nice work,” Barr said.

Every Tuesday from 9 a.m. until noon, The Resource Center conducts job interviews at its administrative offices on Dunham Avenue in Celoron. Barr is there each week, meeting people who are applying to work in TRC’s homes or day programs. Some interviewees have scheduled appointments, while others just walk-in. Members of the interview team pair up, so there are two people per applicant. One person does the interviewing, while the other takes notes.

“We feel that enables the team to make better hiring decisions,” said Lisa Melquist, recruitment coordinator, “and they can bounce their thoughts off one another.”

“The team interviews seem to work well, so that we have two perspectives on the individual that we are interviewing,” said Kathy Constantino, site supervisor trainer who is a member of the interview panel. “It makes the process move along smoother.”

For Barr, part of that process involves coming up with a set of questions that she reviews with her interviewing partner. She also assists with follow-up paperwork and tries to greet every applicant as he or she arrives.

“She’s very outgoing. She’s not bashful or shy,” Melquist said of Barr. “And she was very interested in doing it, so we’ve just enjoyed having her as well.”

Having Barr on board is part of TRC’s strategy of including people with disabilities in the hiring process.

“It’s really easy for a hiring manager to say, ‘I really like that person,’ but this is a person who’s going to be serving the individuals we serve,” said Melquist. “We want the opinion and the ideas of someone who lives within the homes as to whether or not that person would be a good candidate.”

“You just never know who’s going to come in,” said Barr. “So I just say, ‘Nancy, give it your best shot.'”

Barr said she enjoys getting to know the other interviewers as well as engaging the applicants; applicants, Melquist said, who could ultimately be supporting Barr if they are hired.

“What’s better than to have the person that you’re going to be serving interview you? They’re going to be assisting them with everyday life,” said Melquist.

“I feel Nancy is an asset to the process, because it gives her a sense of pride that she has helped hire someone for a position,” said Constantino.

TRC plans to soon hire another self-advocate to join the interview team.