Posted: 15 September 2021
When it comes to providing high-quality care and support, finding the right people for your organisation is key. That’s why an effective and targeted approach to recruitment, which reaches people with the right values to work in social care is so important.
So, we’ve put together some practical tips on how you can find the best candidates for your social care roles, including the types of people who would most likely be interested in and suited to a career in social care; where to advertise so that you can be seen by the right people, and how to frame your job advert so that it engages those people.
Who to target
In data collected as part of Neil Eastwood’s Recruitment Masterclass it was found that 35.1% of high performers chose to work in social care because they already had experience of caring for a loved one.
Other top motivations included wanting to work locally, having a friend or family member who worked in care, and returning to work after a break or being an early retiree.
All these motivations can feed into the type of people who would be interested in and suited to a career in care. These are the people you should target your recruitment efforts at. This would include carers, connections of your current staff, mums returning to work, and people looking to take a partial retirement.
Having this insight of who you want to target your role at, can help you to plan where and how to advertise vacancies.
Where to advertise
Once you know who you want to reach, you can plan where to advertise your role to increase your chance of reaching specific people most likely to engage with your vacancy.
Of course, these days the online world is one of the best places to recruit your roles with many options available from online job boards, to social media, to your own website, and recruitment apps.
Social media is a particularly effective way to reach potential candidates, as it’s very easy to personalise job adverts on social media to reach a particular demographic.
First, think locally. We know that many of the top performers in care chose the sector as they wanted to work locally, so use local Facebook community groups to share your role and highlight that you’re looking for local people to support people in their local community.
When creating a job advert on Facebook you can also tailor it to be served only to people in your local area. On top of this you can tailor to other demographics, interests, and work experience. For example, if you’re looking to reach retuning mums you could target the advert at people with interests related to parenting, or if you want to reach early retirees you can target at that specific age demographic.
The important thing when creating your advert and targeting it to be seen by specific demographics is to make sure that you also edit the advert itself to be relevant to that audience. We recommend creating a suite of different adverts for different groups you’re targeting.
Facebook has traditionally been one of the most popular social media platforms for job advertisements, but we know from speaking with care providers that many are also now turning to Instagram and TikTok to reach a younger audience and are seeing a good level of engagement coming from these platforms.
Of course, you can also apply the same targeting principles of social media to the ‘real world’. Just like on social media, by knowing who you want to see your advert you can plan where to post it on job boards in your community.
For example, we know that people who have cared for a loved one often pursue a career in social care, so target carers in your community with adverts at places they’re likely to be – such as local care groups, GP surgeries, and community centres.
You could also specifically reach out to young carers groups and talk to young people about pursuing a future career in care.
Data also tells us that people with a religious belief are more likely to work in care, so reach these groups by advertising in locations where religious groups meet.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests people working in care are more likely to have a pet, so think about advertising at veterinary practices or in pet stores.
We’ve also seen that a top motivation for people working in care is that they have a friend or relative already working in care, so utilise your existing team as a recruitment source through employee referral schemes.
No-one can paint a better picture of what it’s like to work in care and at your organisation than your existing staff. They also know the type of people who would be a good fit for your team, and so can play a key role in identifying quality candidates.
As well as traditional refer-a-friend schemes, the Care Friends app launched in partnership with Skills for Care takes employee referral schemes digital. Employees can refer connections for roles quickly and easily though the app, and earn points which equate to money for their successful referrals.
For something completely outside the box, you could also encourage your team to refer people who they see displaying your organisational values in day-to-day life – for example a cashier who provided high-quality service, or a waiter who showed patience and empathy. We know of one care provider who gave staff business cards to hand out to people who they thought would be a good fit for the team. Thinking of a quirky initiative like this is a great way to bring new life to your recruitment strategy.
What to say
So now you know who you want to reach and where you plan to reach them – the final thing to consider is what exactly you’re going to say to specifically connect with this person.
A really good tip is not to rely on just one generic advert. Instead create a suite of adverts which are tailored to reach different groups of people, by using language that they can relate to and highlighting the benefits of the job which are most relevant to them.
For example, you would tailor a different advert aimed at a younger person who will be looking for interesting work and career progression to one aimed at an early-retiree looking for local and flexible work which can help their community.
Think about evoking an emotional reaction through the words you use, for example making someone feel excited to be part of an interesting and varied sector, or making someone feel proud at the thought of carrying out work that makes a real difference.
Consider the structure of your advert too. Many job adverts put benefits at the bottom but try putting these at the top and really sell your organisation to a potential candidate from the get-go.
You could also look to create a personal connection with potential applicants by including case studies of members of your team in your job advert, who potential candidates may relate to.
As well as the job advert itself, you also want to think about what you’re saying on an ongoing basis across channels such as your social media and website which could encourage people to work in care and with your organisation.
Use your website and social media to share good news from your services, highlight achievements of staff and talk about events and activities taking place across your service.
This means that when applicants do come to apply for a role, they can see what it’s like to work at your organisation and if it would be a good fit for them.
By taking a targeted approach to recruitment – thinking about who you want to recruit and where and how to reach them, you can reach and attract the right people with the right values for social care and your organisation.
Find more recruitment tips and advice on our #RecruitmentReady spotlight.