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Q&A Guide: Successfully recruiting a registered manager

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Whether you are starting a new health and social care business or are an existing registered provider, the job of registered manager is perhaps the single most important one you will ever need to fill. The registered manager post holder shares legal responsibility for the quality and safety of the services your organisation provides.

In the aftermath of care scandals at Winterbourne View and North Staffordshire, the Francis Inquiry Report attempted to understand the failings and enable the problems to be corrected. One of the key results is that the regulatory process now places an increased emphasis on high management standards. From October 2014 one of the five overarching principles or Fundamental Standards focuses on the need for service providers to be well-led.

The selection criteria that you evaluate must be able to determine if candidates are capable of delivering against the management brief for the post. Good technical skills alone are not enough. Candidates for registered manager positions need to be able to demonstrate good decision making and people management skills across all stakeholder groups including staff, service users and relatives.

However, it is not only the selection criteria that are evaluated that need to be given a lot of thought. The process of recruiting the role of registered manager also needs careful consideration. Mistakes in the process may lead to the recruitment of inappropriate candidates or rejection of capable candidates.

In this guide we provide you with advice on how to recruit what is probably the most important employee of any organisation providing health and social care.

Part 1: Before you advertise to recruit the role

What is the best way to prepare for recruiting a registered manager?

It is imperative to prepare thoroughly to recruit a registered manager. Failing to prepare adequately can flaw the process and increase the likelihood of unsatisfactory recruitment. Failing to prepare thoroughly increases the chances of the process being bumpy.

Remember, it is important to demonstrate to any prospective employee that your care organisation possesses the same professionalism and attention to detail that you require from the post holder. A well-oiled recruitment process sends out exactly the right message.

Thorough preparation should include the following points:

    1. Clarify and quantify the strategic objectives of your service.
    2. Clarify organisation structure, responsibilities, and culture.
    3. Create a job description based in 1 and 2 above.
    4. Create a person spec based on 1, 2 and 3 above, and knowledge of the culture of the existing management team.
    5. Be aware of the Well-Led criteria of the new CQC Fundamental Standards . The service provider’s recruitment process must test each candidate’s management skills, particularly with reference to:
      1. Leadership
      2. Quality Assurance
      3. Accountability
    6. Create a scoring system for all Job Description and Personal Statement requirements. The scoring could be Yes/No or 1 - 5 for less clear cut issues.
    7.  Review and decide on recruitment channels:
      1.  Advertising.
      2. Recruitment agency, including head hunting
      3. Social media.
      4. Internal promotion and development.
    8. Create a two stage information pack consisting of:
      1. An attractive and clear media advert.
      2. An extensive information pack to be sent out to potential applicants.It is not nearly enough to simply send out an application form. Good managers will be put off by potential employers demonstrating sloppy thinking and processes. A poor process gives an indication that the process and result are not valued. The pack should contain a lot of material about the organisation, its key personalities, its objectives, and its culture (or target culture).
    9. Set objectives for the recruitment process and clarify internal responsibilities in moving the process positively forward. Include all the processes used to test all other employees – such as criminal checks, employment gaps, etc., but tuned and added to for this critical post.
    10. Devise and document the process and tests to be applied to each stage in the process:
      1. Clearly list evidence required to be submitted before interview.
      2. Application filtering.
        1. i.    Long-listing to remove no-hopes.
        2. ii.    Short-listing to identify those at or near the required standard.
      3. Communicate to fill in evidential gaps.
      4. Final short listing of ‘ONLY’ candidates who, according to the evidence offered and careful analysis, can do the job, and only the best of those.
      5. Interview to investigate unclear areas, and mainly to judge on the ‘fit’ of the personality.

Write speedily to ALL unsuccessful candidates, at this stage and later, to tell them they have not succeeded and why. Courtesy and good feedback from employers is rare; those that do provide niceties differentiate themselves ahead of their competitors in the search for excellent employees in the future.

What happens once preparations are complete?

    1. Ensure that all the process elements are lined up and ready to go as soon as the closing deadline has passed. Make sure dependencies on others are well managed.
    2. Set the wheels in motion by advertising the role in the most appropriate way using the outputs of 7 above.

Part 2: After you advertise the role

What should I do if I didn't get many applicants?

    1. Low response rates may mean ads are poor or are placed in the wrong media or with the wrong advertiser. Review where you are running the ad, or investigate how to improve results from the social media channel. If a recruitment agency is involved tell them to work harder!
    2. Review the wording of any ads. Is it professional and concise? Is the salary offered in line with that paid for similar roles?

How should applications be processed?

    1. Process applications as per 7 above.
    2. Spend time carefully comparing applications with the Job Description and Personal Statement.
      1. At least 2 people should consider applications and compare notes.
      2. Reject no-hopes.
      3. Communicate to clarify points with those close to meeting the specs.
      4. Proceed to short interview list of, say, the best 3 candidates.

Remember that most research shows that interview is the least reliable recruitment method, and therefore should only be implemented after all criteria have been evidenced as met. The main value of the interview is in judging the essential team dynamics and determining personality.

When should I start interviewing short-listed candidates?

    1.  Look keen! Move quickly to schedule dates and times for each candidate that you wish to interview. Even if the standard is high and you believe there is a clear winner on paper try to interview at least 3.
    2. Conduct interviews.

How should I make final evaluations of candidates so that I can directly compare them?

    1.  Assess all candidates on a point scoring system. Do this before contacting any applicants or indicating a decision. Make these decisions quickly, but carefully.

What is the process for informing interviewed candidates of the decision?

    1. Informally communicate a decision to the first choice. Make any offers subject to successful registration with the regulatory authority. Do not reject any candidate until in receipt of a clear acceptance.

What happens after I have received written confirmation that a candidate intends to take up the job offer

    1. Move on to the contract creation stage.
    2. Inform regulatory authority of the job offer.

What is the best way to welcome the successful applicant to the organisation and introduce the organisation to the new registered manager?

    1. Design induction based on information gained to date and set review dates.
    2. Receive, induct and support your new manager.
    3. Support manager’s application for registration.
    4. Informally support your manager, and also conduct reviews on the agreed dates and against the agreed objectives. Support the manager with any difficulties they are having in reaching their objectives.The consultation document ‘A new start’ published on 17 June 2013 by the CQC set out a number of key changes to which it invited stakeholders to respond. These include:

What is the best way to ensure registered manager recruitment documentation is in line with best practice for HR management in the health and social care sector?

    1. Compliance management systems that are purpose built to the needs of health and social care organisations offer specialised documentation.
      1. Use templates, not only for individual forms, but also to guide you sequentially through the complete process.
      2. A competent template system will provide you with the structure and the sequence to ensure you do not miss any essential steps.
      3. The best solutions are not overly prescriptive on detail and provide you with the flexibility to tune the process to the post you are recruiting.
      4. All recruitment follows the same basic process, but the level of complexity of information required for to support selection depends on the criticality of the post in question.
    1. QCS Recruitment Packs are written by experienced health and social care HR management practitioners. Three packs of templates guide the main phases of the recruitment process.
      1. The Recruitment Pack – Recruit Specification
          • Guides the user through the process of defining what the characteristics of the person they are looking for should have, in terms of qualifications, experience and personality.
      2. The Recruitment Pack – Individual Application
          • Provides application form templates covering all the information required, templates for the analysis and scoring of each individual, and the record of how the final decision was made in order to reduce the chances of unintentional discrimination.
      3. The Recruitment Pack – Induction and Job Start
          • Provides a comprehensive but flexible series of templates to competently guide induction to the organisation and the necessary follow through for final confirmation of appointment.

About QCS

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Whether you are an established Care Provider, Dental Practice , GP Surgery or a start-up organisation, our service is provided with the aim of ensuring that all aspects of compliance are being attended to.

Our industry experts continually update existing policies and procedures, whilst introducing new ones in response to the latest changes issued by the Care Quality Commission (England) and the SCSWIS(Scotland).

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Some suggested further reading & sources

Source:            Care Quality Commission

Title:                Our fundamental standards



Source:            Department of Health

Title:                Provider handbook, Consultation, Community adult social care services

URL:                 Provider Handbook PDF

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