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Recruitment support

Skills for Care Recruitment and Retention Skill kit

A care worker needs a specific set of skills and personal values that not everyone has. Have you struggled to find the right people?

Skills for Care has a value based recruitment and retention toolkit to help you identify your ‘ideal candidate’ based on their values and design a values based recruitment process that looks for this person. It also gives guidance on:

  • Reinforcing these values in the induction
  • Including these values in supervision, appraisal and progression review
  • Embedding these values into your leadership and management

On this page, you can find lots of helpful information on:

  • Improving recruitment: Staff referrals
  • Improving recruitment: Planning a successful local recruitment campaign
  • Improving recruitment: Local events
  • Improving recruitment: Developing your application forms
  • Improving recruitment: Supporting candidates through application
  • Improving recruitment: Choosing your interview questions
  • Recruitment and Retention in Adults Social Care – Secrets to Success
  • Skills for Care Recruitment and Retention Toolkit See each individual section for the source of the advice – generally Skills for Care or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Improving recruitment: Staff referrals

Advice from the Department of Health and Social Care Evidence shows that employee referrals work well – they don’t generate high volumes of recruitment but they are selective, efficient and cost effective. Conversion from employee referrals is close to 50%, much higher than the 3% conversion rate from job boards. It takes investment and resources but has long term benefits, finding you staff with the right values, personality and skills.

Guidance from experts include:

  • Offer attractive awards such as cash bonus or paid leave
  • Make sure staff are aware and understand the scheme, including new starters
  • Ensure management support the scheme, encouraging staff to use
  • Keep the scheme exciting – use communications to launch, remind staff and relaunch
  • Pay rewards quickly as agreed
  • Personally thank referrers alongside their reward
  • Tier rewards according to what’s been achieved
  • Actively manage your scheme, track and monitor its success and get feedback from staff This information has been taken from the DHSC’s Adult Social Care Recruitment Campaign Partner Toolkit which you can view and download here.

Improving recruitment: Planning a Successful Local Recruitment Campaign

Advice from the Department of Health and Social Care The DHSC’s Adult Social Care Recruitment Campaign Partner Toolkit recommends four key steps in planning a successful local recruitment campaign.

The toolkit helps you to consider each of the key steps:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. How can you reach them?
  3. What messages do you want to give?
  4. Build links with your local community

View and download the toolkit here


Improving recruitment: Local events

Advice from the Department of Health and Social Care Research shows that direct contact with employers can more than double a person’s likelihood to apply for a job in social care – as a result, local events are a powerful tool. Good ideas for local events include:

  • Open days: either half or full days let interested people talk to staff and the people who use your services. They can get their questions answer and hear about different career paths.
  • Taster sessions: These help to ensure people understand the realities of the work and myth bust Provide the option to submit application forms there and then if the person is interested and a good fit.
  • Attend local recruitment fairs and events – keep checking our Provider Support pages for opportunities. It’s a great addition to have staff join you at these events.

Make sure you advertise all of your events using banners, posters, social media posts, on your website and across local community groups and Job centres. This information has been taken from the DHSC’s Adult Social Care Recruitment Campaign Partner Toolkit which you can view and download here


Improving recruitment: Developing your Application Forms

Advice from Skills for Care The application form should only ask for information relevant to the job and how the person meets its requirements.

The Application form should focus on:

  • information about the applicant: name, contact details, current employment status
  • skills and knowledge: qualifications and education, relevant skills
  • experience: work experience and explanations of gaps
  • values: relevant personal qualities, attributes, values and behaviours

Avoid asking questions on an application form about any of the following:

  • age, race, gender, religion, belief, sexual orientation, disability
  • marital status
  • children and childcare arrangements
  • health record

It’s important to:

  1. Allow people to give information on experiences from outside of paid work that have allowed them to gain skills.
  2. Ask for examples of how the candidate shares your organisations values if they are clearly defined.
  3. Use a separate monitoring form to gather personal information about candidates which may be useful for monitoring purposes but not seen by the shortlisting or interviewing panels.
  4. Offer disabled candidates the opportunity of any reasonable adjustments to the application process to enable them to apply for the role.

For more information and example application forms, visit Skills for Care here.


Improving recruitment: Supporting candidates through application

Advice from the Department of Health and Social Care Individuals may well be applying for jobs besides the one with you – good candidates are in high demand. So keep in touch with them throughout the process. For example:

  • Give clear instructions and don’t assume that people will know what to bring, where to park, where the nearest bus stop is.
  • Remind people of interview dates and times. A quick call, text or email the day before can help.
  • Consider diarising interview slots around mid-morning or after the tea time slot as evidence suggests scheduling around these times reduces the amount of ‘no shows’.
  • Be clear on the interview process, such as if there are special tests, an interview protocol or half day working trial that is required in advance of a job offer.
  • Stay in touch as sometimes there can be quite long gaps in between the checks/stages before employment can begin (such as DBS checks).

This information has been taken from the DHSC’s Adult Social Care Recruitment Campaign Partner Toolkit which you can view and download here


Improving recruitment: Choosing your interview questions

Advice from Skills for Care Skills for Care have compiled a list of questions that can help you assess candidates:

  • Commitment and motivation
  • Flexibility
  • Previous experience
  • Commitment to safeguarding
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Self-motivation and initiative

You can take a look at the questions and download them here. You can also sign up to attend Skills for Care’s ‘Interviewing for values in adult social care’ seminar to develop your interviewing skills and access a number of different values based question banks. You can take a look at the questions and download them here.


Recruitment and retention in adult social care: secrets of success

Skills for Care have conducted research amongst adult social care employers with a turnover rate of less than 10% to explore what contributes to the success of their recruitment and retention. Their research found that the things that make a difference to not necessarily cost organisations more so this report is definitely worth taking a look at.

The report looks at how these Care Providers

  1. Attract more people: including recruitment plans, methods for attracting people, advertising job vacancies, job descriptions and person specifications
  2. Take on the right people: including what to look for when selecting staff, how to ensure you take on the right people, the application process
  3. Develop talent and skills: including supporting employees, workplace values
  4. Keep your people: including improving retention, supporting employee well-being, staff satisfaction, understanding why staff leave
  5. Recruitment circumstances: including reputation, working hours and patterns, pay, career progression opportunities, competition from other social care providers, leadership and management, funding, competition from other sectors, issues relating to operating in urban and rural areas, national labour market issues, and seasonal issues.

Whilst we plan to summarise some of the key findings in these areas and add this to our recruitment support pages, it is worth taking a look at the key findings in the meantime. See and download the report here


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