Recruiting residential care staff: My top 3 tips

by Neil 28 February 2017 0
Care Recruitment Tips

At the core of any Outstanding-rated care or nursing home will be a well-selected, valued and motivated workforce. In fact, the importance of quality staff also dominates surveys of residents and their families and will be certain to take up a large portion of a Registered Manager’s time and attention.

But for most managers I speak to, their entire workforce strategy is threatened by the increasing challenges of recruitment – finding enough new staff of the right quality.

We are not alone in the UK experiencing what is commonly now referred to as a recruitment crisis. The same issue has now become the top threat to providers in almost every social care sector around the world. That is why I spent the past eight years seeking out international best practice methods of finding and selecting frontline care staff. Here are my top three tips:

  1. Widen your sources

We have become lazy recruiters. The convenience of Internet Job Boards and the increasing pressures on a Registered Manager’s time have seen to that. But research tells us that the quality of candidates from an online source will be typically much poorer than those who are found through word-of-mouth and community outreach. As an example you can expect 14% of staff that applied via an Internet job board to be with you after three years compared to almost 50% of those who were recommended by a friend.

Key tips to build the flow of word-of-mouth candidates include:

  • Promote your refer-a-friend scheme regularly to staff, celebrate successes publicly and, importantly, ask applicants for referrals too
  • Contact leavers you were sorry to lose. In tests 30% will return within six months of being approached
  • Put the word out to residents’ families. About half of residents will have family within 10 miles of your home. Who do they know?
  • Seek out those with family care experience, those who give their time to the community and active retirees with time on their hands. Often these groups will not be found on an Internet Job Board.
  1. Pre-screen using technology

Recruiters are now experiencing high levels of no-shows to interview as well as much wasted time trying to reach elusive applicants by phone. This is disruptive and demoralising.

More and more care providers are turning to technology, in the form of online screening methods, such as our PeopleClues tool, which identifies the suitability and Safeguarding risk of applicants before you ever meet them.

This helps prioritise which candidates to fast-track and dramatically reduces no-shows.

Surrey-based care home operator Beritaz Care has used PeopleClues for over three years. As Business Support Manager Janka Siskova-Sabolova explained: “The ability to measure the risk of an applicant’s counter-productive behaviour has helped us feel much more confident about who we take on.”

  1. Upgrade your candidate experience

Care homes compete with retail and hospitality employers for the same candidates. Those two sectors are well practised in the importance of customer service and regularly use those skills in their recruitment process, something social care recruiters often overlook.

It is essential that applicants are responded to promptly, feel valued, listened to and welcomed each time they have contact with your home. Too often candidates can wait days for their application to be acknowledged or feel rushed in a busy care home when they come for interview.

By implementing these changes Registered Managers will be well on the way to improving their recruitment results, reducing their agency staffing bills and maximising their chances of an Outstanding CQC rating.

To find out more about the PeopleClues screening tool, and to schedule your free trial, get in touch today. Look out for my book, Saving Social Care, which will be published later in the year.





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