Atholl Craigmyle, Director, Hilton Nursing Partners
Hilton Nursing Partners launched numerous recruitment campaigns with attractive incentives and renumeration packages but found recruitment harder than ever this year.
We worked hard to promote the company in a more attractive and appealing way, but it just isn’t working. Recruitment has become more challenging due to people leaving the workforce after the Covid pandemic, and the impact of Brexit, which has increased competition from the retail and leisure sectors.
With demand for our service outstripping their capacity to deliver, we have been unable to expand; so we have had to start thinking differently about recruitment.
We had to go international. It’s not an option I would have envisaged for a community service a couple of years ago, but once we looked into it, we saw significant potential. We decided on Zimbabwe as English is widely spoken, it has a good education system, and there is a drive from individuals looking for opportunities to work in the UK.
It was surprisingly easy to get started, we simply applied for our sponsor licence through the Home Office. Once our company was published on the Home Office website the applications came flooding in. We received hundreds of applications and held initial interviews via video link. We were amazed by the quality of applicants, and by their enthusiasm, resilience and commitment. It was a challenge to narrow the applicants down to a 40-applicant shortlist of which we were committed to meet personally in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare.
Flying to Zimbabwe, fellow directors and our recruitment team held assessment centres to meet people, some of which had travelled up to 12 hours to meet us. The assessment centres covered numeracy, literacy, IT and group exercises, providing a comprehensive view of each applicants’ skills and abilities.
We’re asking people to move half way around the World to work for us, the least we could do was go to Zimbabwe to meet those individuals who are all so willing to take a chance on us.
The video interviews gave us confidence that applicants would attend the assessment centres. 100% of the people shortlisted turned up compared to a 33% no show rate often experienced in the UK.
From our face-to-face meetings we successfully recruited seven top tear high calibre individuals who will start this year with a further eight joining us in the New Year. The assessment centre means that we know about our Zimbabwean starters than other employees we recruit, enabling us to tailor their induction.
Starting small we wanted to make sure the people joining us are supported, feel comfortable, settle in well and enjoy their work. Once the first phase is complete we will recruit further from their exceptional talent pool.
Successful candidates will receive re-location support, company induction, full training, and a career progression package complete with enhanced training, full pay, and peer support.
For those looking to explore the same path the company we have some advice.
Watch out for the scammers. There are applicants paying agents for the opportunity to work in the UK. For the applicant this can mean their take-home pay will be much less due to the agent taking their cut, or that their family use their life savings. We made it clear that no agent should be charging for a job in the UK. If anyone is offering you overseas employees at no cost, ask how they do this.
The other issue is securing your certificate of sponsorship. We couldn’t start hiring until we had received our certificate, this should take one day. It took two months before we received ours required the assistance of my local MP for help.
Don’t be put off, just do it. We’re pleased we have. We’ve met so many ambitious and positive people who will be a great asset to our business in helping us expand our services and build for the future.