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20th September 2013

Wanted: Crystal Ball for Recruitment

My blog last week was about recruitment of staff in order to meet the rising demand for Homecare during winter time. I somehow managed to make recruitment sound easy and I know it’s far from it.

Finding the right people to fill your vacancies is extremely hard. The only positive from the economic recession was, due to high levels of unemployment, lots of new people came into the sector from other industries; those who would never have considered a job in care, but in actuality - are made for the role.

Making the right recruitment decisions from the very beginning is nigh on impossible. Sussing out at the interview stage whether someone is likely to make a good carer is difficult. As an employer you are acutely aware of the false environment of an interview situation, when people can be nervous or anxious or just tell plain fibs.

You think I would be glad when applicants attend for interview with experience. But I know that sometimes these applicants are the hardest to retrain into your way of thinking and company procedures.

The only time you can truly see if an applicant is going to be any good with your precious service users - is when they meet them. Unfortunately, meeting the service users and shadowing a member of staff in the community, comes at the end of the recruitment process. Usually, after a long two or three months of vigorous checks, audits and training. This is a major drawback for any provider trying to recruit.

At interview you do your very best to prepare the applicant and convey what the real world of Homecare is like. Yet some refuse to discard their preconceived ideas that they will be meeting the Grandad off the Werther’s adverts and be changing his lightbulbs.

When the applicant starts their shadowing period - that’s when you see potential. That’s when you realise either a) you’ve just found a real gem or b) you’ve just wasted an awful lot of time.

Time and money is invested in any recruit, and yet it’s not something Homecare providers have to spare - or waste. The costs rise considerably when you start to calculate the financial implications for recruiting and training one individual who at the end of the process is unsuitable. If you multiply that cost by say 50 applicants each year, add in those that drop out naturally along the recruitment process, and you could have a costly expenditure for no gain. With budgets tightening everywhere, it can be a real lottery recruiting staff with no guarantees along the way.

Rosie Robinson - QCS Expert Contributor on Care

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