Nov 19

How can I select the best candidates?

Posted: 4 November 2019

Once you’ve attracted the right people to apply for your job vacancies, the next step is to select the best candidates. 

Meeting with applicants is a great way to get to know them better and find out more about any transferable skills they’ve gained if they don’t have experience of working in social care.


Here are our top tips for holding interviews.

  • Consider holding interviews at more flexible times to suit potential employees. Ask applicants if they have any specific requirements to enable them to attend interviews. Think about how different methods could be used, such as more informal meetings over coffee or via webcam.
  • Employers have told us that they often experience issues with people not turning up for interviews. Keep in touch with candidates that you want to interview by sending reminder emails and text messages telling them that you’re looking forward to meeting them and reminding them of the date, time and location.
  • Using behavioural rather than competence-based questions helps to ask the right questions to draw out the qualities and values needed for the role. This provides a better indicator of how someone is likely to perform in the role, which will aid retention. Come along to one of our practical ‘Values-based interviewing’ seminars where you’ll learn a specific interviewing technique and develop the skills to uncover candidates’ personal values.
  • Include people who need care and support in the selection process. They know what kind of people you need to do the job and can really help draw out the values, behaviours, attitudes and interpersonal skills of job applicants.

“People who need care and support are involved in the recruitment process. They meet with the interviewee and ask specific questions e.g. “how will you ensure I feel safe?” A carer documents their response. The interview panel receive this document and also ask the person who needs care and support their view on the candidate. This accounts for a certain percentage of the overall marks in the scoring system we use at interview.” 
Ebury Court residential care home (taken from Skills for Care’s ‘Good and outstanding care guide’)

Eligibility checks

Social care employers are required to carry out criminal record checks as part of their pre-employment vetting. It’s important to know that having a criminal record isn’t an automatic barrier to working with children or adults at risk. Many people with criminal records have successful and rewarding careers working in the sector.

To help you to implement safe and fair recruitment policies and procedures, our practical Safe and fair recruitment guidesupports you to understand your legal rights and responsibilities when carrying out criminal record checks.

Paying for DBS checks and training

A barrier to people applying for and accepting jobs can be the expectation that they have to pay for their own DBS checks and induction training. Show that you value your staff from the start by covering these costs and remove that barrier.

Keeping in touch once you’ve made an offer

When you offer someone a job, it’s important to manage expectations about turnaround times between your offer and them starting their new role.

Ask how long they can wait for a start date if checks are pending and keep in touch even if you have no news by telling them that you’re looking forward to them starting.

Some of the ways to keep in touch include:

  • inviting your new recruit along to team meetings in the period between your job offer and their start date
  • sending out their induction plan
  • setting up a meeting with a buddy or mentor
  • inviting them to a new starters club if you’ve recruited a few people at the same time
  • inviting them to shadow a shift
  • sending them a welcome card that’s signed by the team.

For more information visit www.skillsforcare.org.uk/select.