With 15 years experience of using the Rickter Scale, we asked our Director of Operations Nan Wood for her top tips to accomplishing an effective Rickter Scale interview.
“On training days I often receive positive feedback on my skills when interviewing. These usually centre around how at ease I am, the tone of my voice and how good my recollection is when I reflect back. I have to say that most of this comes with practice and perhaps a few things I have picked up over the years of using Rickter. Believe me when I started, I had the same challenges and worries as everyone else! I thought it might be useful to share what I consider to be my tips for using Rickter effectively.”
- After your Practitioner training read all of the handouts, especially the “Rickter Steps” document, to help get the process of the interview clear in your head. Don’t feel that you have to learn the Baseline Profile Questions off by heart, familiarity will come through using them. There is more chance of making mistakes if you try to rush things. Don’t cut corners, stick to the language and the process as you learned it on training.
- Think about who you are going to interview first and if you have a choice in this, ask an individual that you know and with whom you have already established rapport.
- Prepare for the interview by having all of your resources ready. If you are using an overlay, ensure you have printed off those questions, the recording sheets and Action Plan. Put your resources in the room before the interview, laying them off to the side on a small table if possible, but within reach.
- Think about where you are going to do the interview and set up the space to be as user-friendly as possible i.e. chairs in ten-to-two position, handkerchiefs and water. I try to sit on the left of the individual because this enables me to read the headings on the board and acts as my prompt. Make sure you are safe by working with someone and letting them know where you are and how long you plan to be.
- Be welcoming to the individual you are going to interview and help them feel at ease. Their first big step may be coming through the door to see you.
- Practice your introduction, keeping it simple and explaining the reasons that you are using the Rickter Scale and what you hope the individual will gain from it. Remember to protect yourself and the individual by explaining the service rules of confidentiality and disclosure.
- Think about your body language, the tone of your voice and about this being a shared experience. Try to be observant as you go through the Rickter process, watching the individual’s body language. This can lead to you asking additional questions, or if you see distress or agitation it is about asking whether they are okay to continue. You don’t want Rickter to be a negative experience, so always remember to offer choice.
- Remember the individual is the expert on themselves, you simply have to listen and value what is being shared with you. Don’t panic over reflecting back by putting barriers up in your head, where all you are thinking about is that you have a terrible memory. Reflect back only what you have heard and not your own opinions. Bear in mind the individual is sharing in this process and will help you to recollect if necessary.
- Record the Action Plan and help make the steps for the individual small and achievable. If they can complete the first step, they will be encouraged to move forward and see the impact this has on the rest of their lives. Make sure you explain this is an ongoing process and set a date for the review before they leave the first interview. Record the interview data. This evidence is there not only for the individual’s progress, but also to demonstrate the work you are doing and your service provision. It may even help you to keep your job secure by demonstrating good practice to help gain funding.
10. Ensure that you have support from line management. You need to know that you have someone to talk with and share how you feel if you have a particularly challenging interview, but it’s also good to share and celebrate those positive outcomes. Remember too that we are always here to support you and we like to hear of the positive effect Rickter has too. Knowing you have this should help to build confidence.
I hope these tips help as you are using the Rickter Scale and if you have any to add, we are always open to learning.
Nan Wood, Director of Operations