News Opinion

Improving recruitment efficiency in the care environment

Paul Patarou, Head of Strategic Projects – Health and Social Care, Access Group

Let’s face it, recruitment is a nightmare. Attracting the right calibre of staff – and then keeping them is a real challenge – not to mention trying to entice younger prospective carers into the sector.

There are currently 1.58m adult social care jobs in England according to Skills for Care’s ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England 2017’, 1.34m of which are in the local authority and independent sectors. With a growing older population, this most likely will rise in the coming years. And that’s a lot of carers that need to be hired.

Hiring overwhelm

The issue is that current recruitment processes are often inefficient. Paper- or spreadsheet-based systems can undermine recruitment – particularly when there’s a high turnover of staff to contend with too (but I’ll leave that for another time).

This frustration not only impacts care providers and clients but relatives and friends of those being cared for as well. If you’re understaffed, there’s the worry that loved ones aren’t receiving the care they deserve because carers are overstretched or that there aren’t enough staff to cover absences.

Whilst hiring good care workers takes time, manual processes make everything more cumbersome and difficult. It’s easy to make mistakes, miss something out or delete important information and lose valuable data. You also spend more time doing repetitive admin than selecting and interviewing applicants.

Those tasked with hiring new carers must review paper CVs, work out whether candidates meet the criteria, then invite them in for interviews before finally deciding whether someone gets the job or not. Next, there’s the onboarding process to contend with too. And we’ve not even mentioned all the job boards and agencies that eat up yet more time. It’s a complex myriad of tasks that must be carried out and managed.

Digital recruitment

Alongside older workers, there’s a need to encourage younger generations into care, which makes it important for the sector to be technologically adept. The latter are particularly used to applying for jobs online – not just through job boards but social channels too. It’s second nature so employers need to follow suit if they’re to attract younger recruits.

In fact, it gives providers the best of both worlds. In addition to being more attractive to the younger audience, it also improves efficiency throughout the recruitment processes. That’s got to be welcomed.

When people apply online, there are no paper CVs to get lost in the post. By having all your recruitment activity in one place, on one central system, you never need to hunt for that piece of paper again – or find a place to store it.

Managing recruitment electronically also means you can store unsuccessful applicants, so that you can quickly find them once a more suitable role becomes available at your company.

A complete picture

Tracking the whole hiring process from application to job offer provides a complete picture of the recruitment process. Where does the bulk of applications come from? What sources are the most successful – and which ones aren’t so hot?

You might find that your best recruits are being referred by other staff. They could be applying for work on the off-chance of a job or because of a newspaper advert, Facebook ad or job board.

In fact, if you run your own job board, encourage staff to say why they love their job and why a new hire will too. Come to think of it, put the quotes on your website regardless! Let people see you’re a strong employer brand – it could help to reduce recruitment spend and encourage more prospective carers to want to work with you.

By using technology to understand the exact cost of hiring – including agency staff and the impact that has on budget – care providers can see exactly how their recruitment drives are performing. It ensures they’re using resources efficiently too.

Recruitment shouldn’t be a bottleneck. It’s a gateway to attracting great candidates that have a desire and commitment to care. By systematising your recruitment processes, you’ll not only cut costs and firefighting but also make data-driven decisions that help you hire the best people to deliver the highest quality of care.


State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England 2017:

Edel Harris





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