The residents of care homes can offer valuable life experience to support the business’ growth and development and none more than in recruitment and the process of interviewing prospective employees. By working in partnership with residents and staff, St Martin’s Care (SMC) has adopted this approach as part of its recruitment drive.
Residents have a good understanding of what good person-centred care looks like especially since it is these residents who are receiving the care. From an organisational perspective, companies such as SMC have an obligation to recruit against job descriptions and person specifications, but resident involvement adds value as they will look at the recruitment process from a more person-centric point of view. Being involved in recruitment also gives SMC’s residents responsibility to advocate on behalf of other residents, increasing confidence in the knowledge that their care provider is listening and taking on board their views.
SMC has adopted the approach where it doesn’t just involve its residents in the interview process though, they are also consulted throughout the probation period. The approach and performance of new staff requires feedback from residents and their families on how they have been cared for.
SMC firmly believe that by involving a resident in the interview process they have an expert on the panel, someone who knows how care should be delivered, how you should treat, respect and value residents. You also get to find out more from the resident as they often share life experiences that they may not have shared during their initial assessment.
SMC Director of Care Gary Dixon reflects on comments by resident June Arkless from Willow Green, in Darlington, after a recent process to interview a member of the care team and housekeeper. He explains:
“Speaking from recent experience I interviewed a candidate with an amazing woman called June at Willow Green. June was feeling low at the time of being asked to help with this process but when she got involved in the interviews she was like a different person. June seem to put the candidates at ease she would have some light-hearted conversation with me in front of them saying she was my PA and it de-stressed the situation and got the best from the interviewee.
“June would just come out with a question that I was not expecting and her feedback was enormously constructive. We would debrief after and she would say ‘They seemed really caring which is so much more important for us residents’. Or she would explain: ‘They asked more about the hours or money but didn’t ask anything about the residents or the care they need’.
The manager’s view
During these interviews the home manager was involved. Clare Staddon registered manager at Willow Green said:
“I am definitely for this approach and it is very innovative. When I came to the interview it helped me having June there. Having worked in this sector for many years, I find it easier to relate to older people in care, and it did take some of the anxiety of an interview situation away.”
The interviewee’s view
Noreen Nevison Willow Green House Keeper said:
“It gives a different perspective. I’d never had an interview with a resident before. I’ve built up a really good relationship with June.”
And Francesca Edwards, Deputy Manager also interviewed said:
“June added a sense of security she made me feel instantly relaxed. And I got a good vibe from the home as it represented its values which made me want to be an employee there.
June was able to ask spontaneous questions that employers may not have thought of which made me think on the spot and demonstrated fundamental knowledge.”