Sep 21

Interview: what values-based recruitment means to us

Posted: 8 September 2021

We spoke with Laura McSherry, HR Officer at Active Social Care Ltd - a home, community, and activity based care provider - about what values-based recruitment means to them, and how they embed this through their hiring process.

How would you sum up what values-based recruitment means to you?

For us, values-based recruitment is about focusing on applicants as a person rather than just their qualifications and experience.

It helps us to identify whether people share the same values that our clients and staff find important and allows us to assess whether applicants have a genuine passion for supporting people and are motivated to work in care for the right reasons.


How do you embed values into your job adverts?

There are a lot of health and social care roles being advertised in a very similar way, and so we wanted to stand out.

We wanted to do something that was different and more personable, and we did this by tailoring the adverts to be written from the point of view of the person we support - describing activities they would like to be supported with and the type of person they would like to join their team to support them. We liaised with the person drawing on support, or their family, to create the advert.

Typically, people outside of the care sector can have a narrow view of what care work is and our adverts were aimed at breaking down that pre-judgement of what care work involves, so that people with the right values could see that this role could suit them.

These types of adverts help to attract people with the right values and characteristic, as well as managing the applicants’ expectations of what the role includes.

An example of one of our adverts is:

‘I love DANCING TO MUSIC and to LAUGH AND JOKE around, so you need to be ENERGETIC, CONFIDENT, FUN and not afraid to JOIN IN’

In this advert we have outlined a characteristic that’s really important for the person we support - they want someone to support them who isn’t afraid to have fun and join in activities that the client likes.


Where do you advertise vacancies, and what has been most effective?

We mostly use Facebook, job boards, In2Care Kirklees (a local recruitment initiative which has been very helpful to us in helping us to source local people who are looking for a career in care), and Instagram, plus we advertise internally by posting in staff WhatsApp groups and sending an internal email to all staff. Employee referrals is also a very important element, especially when recruiting for values.

Facebook has been a huge source of attracting applicants for current vacancies. We posted our adverts in local community groups where we had vacancies in that area. This was great for attracting a higher volume of applicants, as it got the word out there, people would tag their family members or friends who were currently seeking a role within care. Using social media to advertise allows people who are interested to click on our post and view our profile, which gives them a first impression of Active Social Care and our values.

In order to attract younger applicants to the careers available in care, we turned to Instagram. We’ll post the job advert on our Instagram page and then we ask staff members to share this to their story in order to reach anyone actively job seeking. This has resulted in more applications from younger people. As colleges have been closed and face-to-face recruitment fairs have been postponed, this has been a great way to reach that generation.

Our strongest source of recruitment is recommendations made through word of mouth. Our staff members know the role best as they work with our clients and within the Active Social Care culture, so they know which friend or family would be most suitable for the role and have the right values.

We encourage staff to recommend family or friends through our ‘refer a friend scheme’ which gives staff members a £50 voucher when they successfully refer a friend. We also ask new staff members during their fortnightly probation reviews whether they have any friends to recommend.


How do you assess for values in the application and interview process?

The first stage of the application is a pre-interview assessment, which we conduct with anyone who enquires about a job. The questions we ask at this stage are some of the main things we need to know to match them to vacancies in terms of availability and location - but the main thing we want to identify at this stage is whether the candidate has the right values and motivations for the job.

In the pre-interview assessment, we ask questions such as:

  • What has motivated you to apply for a job in care?
  • Why did or are you leaving your most recent employer?

These questions identify why the applicant is applying for the role.

If the candidate is successful at this stage, we’ll invite them in for a face-to-face or virtual interview.

We also ask interviewees to complete the ‘A question of care’ video challenge before attending the interview so that we have an idea of whether they have the right values and skills for the role. The challenge allows applicants to see what a career in care is like and after completing the challenge they get a detailed personal profile which outlines if they have what it takes to work in care. We use this report to also help judge what areas they may need to work on during their probationary period. We expect applicants to get a score of 21 and above in the test, however if they get just below 21, we’ll speak about it and continue to do the interview, taking everything into consideration.

The questions we ask at the interview prompt the candidates to give real examples of times they demonstrated our company values. We created our company values through exercises with the people we support and staff to identify the attributes that they think are the most important to provide the best person-centred support.

Our values are:

  • be kind
  • be respectful
  • be creative
  • be true
  • be the best you can be.

Our interview questions reflect each of these values.

When the people we support are available and if it’s suitable, we’ll ask them if they want to attend an interview and ask their own questions.

We’ve worked with the people we support to develop a set of questions tailored to the most important things they felt they needed to know.

Their insight is so valuable as they’re able to gauge how that person made them feel and we can see how the applicant and the person we support interact.


How have all staff involved in the recruitment process been trained to use values-based recruitment?

Our HR Manager has attended all three Skills for Care values-based recruitment workshops. She has set up the values-based recruitment systems for the organisation and has trained me and other staff involved in how to use these.


Has using values-based recruitment had a positive impact on your recruitment and retainment, and if so, what has this been?

Yes, it has had a positive impact on our recruitment and retainment.

By using this approach, it ensures we have the right people in the job, so we have fewer issues as people know our expectations and share the same passion for providing person-centred care.

We monitor our new-starters by doing fortnightly probation reviews which provides them with feedback and gives them the opportunity to ask any questions and tell us how everything is currently going.


What advice would you give other care providers on recruitment?

Be willing to be open and adapt to new things and move with times, such as advertising on Instagram and doing virtual interviews. Look at person-centred adverts, which we found worked so much better – the response we got was amazing. Make sure that you’re using all the resources available to you, and using the values-based recruitment process. It’s also important to make contact fast, reply to applications quickly – perhaps using text messages rather than email - so that the applicant immediately engages with you and feels immediately supported in becoming a part of your team.


Find out more about values-based recruitment.

Discover more information and advice on recruitment with our #RecruitmentReady spotlight.

Join our values based recruitment online workshops to find out more about recruiting for values. Book your place.