Recruiting in the care industry: how to get it right

Recruiting care workers

Recruiting the right employees for your social care business can be a minefield. From skills, attitude, behaviour and experience, there’s a whole load of criteria to measure candidates against.

Luckily, Skills for Care have published an in-depth report outlining the secrets to recruitment success. Read on as we share some top tips…

Recruitment plan

Having a recruitment plan in place allows you to:

  • Act strategically rather than reactively
  • Target the right people, with the right skills and values
  • Provide consistency
  • Get the most out of limited resources.

According to the report, nearly half (46%) of adult social care businesses don’t have a recruitment plan – do you?

How to attract employees

To get the best talent, you need to first convince candidates that they should want to work for you. Some of the most popular tactics deployed over the last 12 months to achieve this are:

  • Investing in employee development (75%)
  • Offering flexible working patterns (74%)
  • Actively informing candidates they’d be paid the National Minimum Wage or more (61%)
  • Developing and promoting the business’ culture (55%)
  • Putting more focus on candidates’ values during the recruitment process (47%)
  • Using local events to promote and raise awareness of their business (41%)
  • Offering volunteering opportunities (38%)
  • Offering apprenticeships (34%).

Advertising success

When it comes to advertising job openings, the most successful methods cited were: employees referring friends (49%); adverts posted on their own website (29%); adverts in the local paper (20%); posters in the local community (20%); and social media adverts (17%).

Job descriptions

To be successful, a job description should: be non-discriminatory; promote your business’ values; be jargon-free; clearly outline what the job role will involve; and only include relevant information.

However, when asked if they had reviewed their job description(s) to ensure they’re in-line with the aforementioned points, more than one third (36%) of employers hadn’t. One in seven said they’d reviewed some of their job descriptions, 12% reviewed them over a year ago, nearly one in 10 (8%) said they only review them if a vacancy arises and 2% had no plans to review their job descriptions at all.

Job applications are your first port of call for enticing candidates. If you cut shortcuts here, you’ll likely miss out on attracting some great candidates, so make sure yours are top notch!

What to look for

The report also asked employers in the care industry to rank the importance of three recruitment criteria: qualifications, prior work experience and values and behaviours – and the latter came out on top.

Importance of recruitment criteria

Getting it right

Recruiting the right people is tough – even with watertight processes. To strengthen their methods, many employers implemented the following six hacks to help make sure they took the best candidates on board:

1. Work experience, taster shifts or on-site visits
2. Included people who were in need of care in the recruitment process
3. Conducted pre-interview assessments
4. Offered pre-employment training
5. Partnered up with apprenticeship agencies and/or learning providers
6. Included useful care worker information in application packs.


Three in 10 employers filter candidates out of their recruitment process before the shortlisting stage, by asking questions around things like: driving licences, DBS checks, experience and why the candidate wants to work in the care industry.

A word from us

Mick Feather, Care Business Manager at Citation, commented: “Attracting the right people, with the right values, behaviours and attitudes to work in adult social care is vital. The quality of care in a service is measured by the quality of employees who provide it.

“There are no “one size fits all” solutions but identifying employees with a “can do” attitude who’re honest, reliable and compassionate can be more important than qualifications and previous care experience.

“Many learning disability services actively involve the people who use their service in the recruitment process. This approach can be adopted by adult social care services to ensure that potential new employees are suitable for the role.

“Why not invite candidates to complete a values-based pre-assessment or a ‘taster shift’, where they can shadow an experienced member of staff for a few hours? This can identify a candidate’s ability to build a rapport with employees and people who use the service, and at the same time help them determine whether the job is right for them.”

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