Seeking care workers? Then have you trodden the fivefold path to recruitment enlightenment?

by Neil 10 February 2017 0
Recruitment path

Eight years. My pilgrimage to understand from overseas care providers how we in the UK can find more and better frontline staff seems to have only just started. But on the way I have seen a wide range of sourcing and selection methods in use, some very successful, many less so.

Time and again the employers experiencing the most frustration were those over-relying on a single path. Oftentimes this was, of course, Internet Job Boards, as readers familiar with my findings will know.

But if the Internet Job Board had yet to be invented then many providers would simply develop a dependency on another too-easily accessible method, such as local newspaper adverts or the Job Centre.

Putting aside the variation in the quality of candidates delivered for a moment, then whatever universally available recruitment medium we select is not going to be effective for long.

Reaching Recruitment Nirvana

So how does a care provider with limited time and budget reach for recruitment Nirvana?

It requires dedication and determination of course but always taking more than one, and some of the less travelled, of the five major recruitment paths below is the key, I believe, to the cessation of employer suffering.

Path 1: Online

This includes job boards, your own website, social media, AdWords and CV search, amongst many others. Social Media, particularly Facebook, offers social care providers huge potential, especially when combined with the right incentives and engaging content.

The tips to success here are efficiency, speed of response, impactful messages, clever targeting and, critically, pre-screening to fast track high potential candidates.

Path 2: Print

Traditionally this path would be dominated by local newspaper classified advertising, now it is more hyper-local: targeted door drops, leaflets, posters in community centres, parish magazines, cards in locals shops and the like.

Here the target audience, what you say, the images you use and timing are key considerations.

Path 3: Word of mouth

Word of mouth networking remains a powerful but woefully under-used source of new staff. The best results will be from direct connections with your organisation, such as refer-a-friend, past leavers, families of those being cared for or from honey-pots of high potential future staff in the community. My favourites here include those who care or give time without financial reward and the over 55’s. Often, but not always, the same group.

The trick here is how to find them, how to approach them and how to nurture them. Above all else closely matching the specific needs of each group to the intrinsic benefits of frontline care is key.

Path 4: Partners

Although it doesn’t often feel this way to those burdened with the responsibility for finding new staff, you do have powerful allies. Some local, some further afield.

The most obvious of these is Skills for Care with well-considered free resources and advice, but there are energetic care partnerships and associations operating around the country that are well worth seeking out. Some recruitment agencies and Social Services teams can be great allies too.

More locally there are a range of organisations that would be delighted to make their members or networks aware of such a worthwhile job opportunity. These could include hospice supporters, universities teaching nursing or medical courses, domestic violence shelters, colleges, schools and places of worship to name a few.

Path 5: Migrants

In some cases attracting staff from overseas could be a solution. Generally speaking migrant staff work more hours and can be highly motivated but the on-boarding effort should not be underestimated. Accommodation, transport, language and cultural adjustments can be headaches.

The major risk is over-reliance on migrants because given their distant roots, (often) youth and mobility they are more likely to move on, often at short notice, suddenly leaving you with many hours to replace.

Success here is about delivering on the job ‘promise’, screening, matching and engendering what is termed cultural competence with staff, clients and families to avoid misunderstanding and conflict.

There is no one true recruitment path. Only many.

The more I talk to care employers and the more I learn then I am increasingly convinced that recruitment success in the care sector has its foundations in this ‘many paths’ approach.

Those who engage with all types of potential staff, not simply those that are actively job-hunting or working for a competitor will ultimately find themselves on a journey to a happier and more enlightened place.


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