Sep 21

Recruitment checklist: what you need to do when recruiting in social care

Posted: 2 September 2021

We’ve put together a step-by-step checklist for social care employers covering everything you need to do during the recruitment process, from before you even decide you want to hire right through to on-boarding your new member of staff.

Make sure you have a plan in place across the recruitment journey with our our 16 steps.

1) Recruit for values

Values-based recruitment should be underpinning your entire recruitment process, as this can really help to make sure you’re finding the best people who are the right fit for your organisation. Values-based recruitment means hiring people based on whether they have the right values to fit your organisation rather than solely based on previous experience or qualifications.

Before you can implement values-based recruitment you need to have a clear outline of what your organisation’s key values are, and this is something that you should be clear in before you even begin the recruitment process. These may be for example compassion, going above and beyond, or innovation. Have a look at our information on values-based recruitment for more support.


2) Get your name out there

It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re showcasing your service to local people who may be interested in working in care. Your website is a good starting point – make sure that this shows off the services that you offer, what it’s like working at your organisation, and the type of people who make a good fit for your team. Create a webpage sharing your mission statement and highlight within this your organisational culture and values, which will be important to current and future staff, as well as the people you support.

When you do come to recruit make sure to keep your website updated with any job vacancies. This means that local people who work in the care sector will already have a clear idea of what you do, can see if it’s a place where they would be a good fit, and can keep on top of any vacancies that arise.


3) Identify where more capacity is needed

We know that right now capacity is a particularly challenging issue, and you may be looking to undertake recruitment to replace departing staff or looking to add additional members of the team into existing roles to provide more capacity. Alternatively, you may identify a newly created role in order to provide a new offering or keep up with the best level of service.

Using data, such as our Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS), to benchmark your organisation against similar local organisations can be a great way to identify any new roles to add to your team as you can compare your team structure against similar local organisations, and assess where there may be gaps in your team. Workforce projection data can also provide insights into how you’ll need to build your team to meet future demand.


4) Calculate your recruitment budget

Before you move on with the recruitment process, plan how much budget you’ll need to support recruitment activities – covering costs such as adverts and interview time.

Our ‘Calculating the cost of recruitment’ tool allows you to plan both the monetary and time cost of your recruitment plans so you can set a clear budget and timeline.


5) Create your role

Once you know the type of role that you’re looking for it’s time to refine details such as job title, day-to-day tasks, objectives for the role, how the role fits into your team structure and who they report to, and conditions such as pay and working hours.

From this information you can create a job description and person specification for the role. Have a look at our template job descriptions and person specifications to help with this.


6)  Create your job advert

Having finalised the job description, you can now create your job advert. As well as including what the role involves, make sure to outline the values and behaviours you’re seeking in the successful candidate, and the key qualities you’ll be assessing as part of the application process. Have a look at our example job adverts for help with this.

You’ll also want to make it clear to potential applicants the benefits of working with you, to ensure you can attract the best candidates. Make sure to highlight if you pay the national living wage, provide information on training and progression opportunities available, give clear information on working hours and any flexible options, highlight what wellbeing support you offer your team, and make sure to promote any other benefits which you offer staff.

You can use ASC-WDS to benchmark yourself against other employers and you can also use this insight to promote your organisation favourably, for example if you pay more than similar organisations for the same role or have a lower turnover rate.


7) Create the application process

Along with the job advert you’ll also want to create a job application to find out more details about the applicant and see if they’ll be a good fit for the role. Think about different ways you can accommodate applications, beyond the traditional application form. For example, our ‘What values do I need in care’ document, asking candidates to outline examples of a time where they’ve demonstrated the relevant values to work in care, can be particularly useful for applicants with no previous paid care work experience.

You could also use our ‘A question of care’ interactive tool to assess candidate’s values. This provides a report you can explore together at interview and see if they’d be a good match for working in social care and your organisation.


8) Promote your role

Now you have the job and application finalised it’s time to spread the word. As well as using traditional methods such as job boards, you can also think outside the box to help share your job further and reach the most relevant people.

Social media is a great first step - share the job on your social media channels; create a social media advert which is targeted to people in your local area with relevant interests; share in local community Facebook groups. Make sure to include a link to the application on your website so that people can easily click through to apply.

You can also add visuals or videos to your social media posts about your organisation to make your posts stand out more and show off what it’s like to work at your organisation. It’s a good idea to share posts about your work regularly on social media so that prospective candidates can see what it’s like working at your organisation.

Also think about other options such as recruitment apps like Care Friends, posting in job boards in local places such as colleges, and asking your staff to share the role with their network.

Make sure to set a deadline on your job advert to encourage applicants to apply sooner and ensure you have a clear cut off time to move on to the next stage.


9) Review applications

Following the deadline for applications it’s time to review those you’ve received. It would be a good idea to have a team of two or more people on the panel, which may be colleagues from within your team and/or people who you support, so you can work together on reviewing and shortlisting the applications for interview.

Decide how many people you will shortlist for interview – this will depend on whether you have one or more vacancies available for the role.


10) Contact shortlisted applicants

Once you have your shortlist together it’s time to contact the shortlisted candidates to arrange an interview. It’s a good idea to contact candidates by text rather than email as they’re likely to respond quicker.

You may want to set aside a few days to run the interviews across but do aim to be flexible in fitting around a time that works for the candidates, such as evening interviews, and providing options such as video interview so you can ensure you’re able to speak with all the candidates you’re interested in.


11) Conduct interviews

When it comes to conducting the interview, you’ll want to go into more detail about the points covered in the application form and in the job advert. Make sure to give each candidate a good overview of the role and organisation to start and then ask them more information about their experience, skills, and values.

It’s a good idea to have more than one person on the interview panel to ensure a range of perspectives. At the end of the interview encourage the candidate to ask any questions they have about the role or your organisation and be sure to let them know the next steps of the process and when they can expect to hear back about whether they’ve been successful.

If conducting the interview virtually have a look at our virtual interview guide.


12) Notify all candidates

Once you’ve decided on the successful applicant get in touch with the candidate to make the job offer.

It’s also best practice to notify all other candidates that they’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion. This means they’re not still waiting to hear and it also allows you to maintain a good relationship with unsuccessful candidates who may be suitable for future roles.


13) Finalise job offer and checks

Upon offering the successful candidate the role, provide them with a formal job offer including their contract to sign, with all crucial details such as salary, working hours and start date.

You’ll also need to conduct references and any relevant background checks at this point.


14) Keep in touch

It can sometimes be a while after the job offer before your new recruit will start in their role. Make sure to keep in touch during this period and make your new team member already feel as though they’re a part of the team.

You could send them a congratulatory card to say welcome to the team, add them to your mailing list for any internal company updates, and arrange for them to have pre-induction catch-ups with other key members of the team they’ll be working with.


15) First day

Make sure there’s a clear plan in place for how your new recruit will be spending their first day, or even their first couple of weeks, and communicate this to them so they know what to expect.

Make sure they have everything they’ll need to get started such as relevant equipment, software, tools, passwords, and resources. Try to ensure their line manager will be on-hand to provide support during their first week or otherwise another member of the team. You can also provide each new recruit with a dedicated buddy they can go to for support on any tasks as well as someone they can have informal catch-ups with about how they’re settling in.


16) Keep on top of progress

Build regular catch-ups and appraisals into the initial induction period on both a formal and informal level. Check in with your new team member to see how they’re getting on in their role and in the team and answer any questions. Also use this time to discuss progress, set key goals and plan in any additional training and support as needed.


You can find more support and resources to help with the recruitment process in our #RecruitmentReady spotlight.