Social Care Recruitment Wisdom from Neil Eastwood
We asked author of Saving Social Care, Neil Eastwood, to give us his take on the thorny issue of recruitment, often cited as the number one issue facing social care providers.
Recruiting successfully in social care is tough. Just meeting the increasing need for care from an ageing population and the demanding nature of the work sees to that.
But the world of recruitment itself is also changing. The jobs market and candidate expectations have shifted. Societal and technology changes mean job applicants are more impatient, fickle, have higher expectations and are more willing to leave negative feedback if they have a poor application or interview experience.
High levels of staff turnover in social care mean large numbers of ex-employees with bad experiences to share, which feed the negative portrayal of care roles and depress applications. But part of the reason care employers increasingly struggle to recruit is that, in many cases, their methods of sourcing, attracting and managing applicants have not kept pace with this shift. This represents an exciting opportunity to see large improvements quickly – and can be achieved by any employer, big or small.
Dependency on a few sourcing channels is high risk
One of the most common examples of poor recruitment performance is an over-reliance on internet job boards to find applicants. Putting aside the wastage and quality-issues that pervade this method of sourcing compassionate and reliable staff, they have reached advertiser-saturation, with care applicants receiving multiple interview invitations which, of course, drives no-shows.
It is essential for social care recruiters to diversify their sources and ensure they are reaching a range of demographic groups, both online and offline, and prioritising existing connections to their organisation first.
This short video, taken from my new online Recruitment Masterclass, explains more about this approach:
You can also download the accompanying cheatsheet here.
Matching the increasingly high expectations of applicants
Once someone has expressed an interest in your organisation, then you need to be ready. That means responding promptly and with clarity about the next step and when they will hear more. I strongly advise that everyone who has taken the time to enquire or apply deserves a response. Don’t ignore those whose applications you have rejected. In many cases, they live locally and will know others who could themselves be suitable. Not having the courtesy to thank someone for the time they took to apply is a sure-fire way of driving down your organisation’s reputation.
Given the pressures of sourcing staff then it is all too common for employers to feel they simply don’t have time to take a step back and take a fresh look at the way they find staff. But having a recruitment strategy that is optimised for an increasingly challenging labour market will be vital in the months and years ahead.
Neil Eastwood is author of Saving Social Care: How to find more of the best frontline care employees and keep the ones you have. For more on his Recruitment Masterclass visit www.findandkeepthebest.com.