Lack of staff is a key restriction upon occupancy and therefore, the commercials of your care home; so attracting both enough candidates and the right sort of candidates is vital if you want to be able to increase the number of residents in your care home and ensure they are getting the best possible quality of care. But, with 105,000 care vacancies currently to be filled in the UK care sector – and care demand growing – you’re going to need to stand out to make your ideal candidates notice you amongst all the other thousands of adverts. The messaging you use to attract candidates is central in this. So, what are some of the simple (but effective) ways that care home owners and providers can increase their chances of drawing in new recruits?
Identify the benefits of your care home
The first thing you may notice when investigating online job listings for current care home vacancies, are that they can all appear to be identical at first glance. This can be due to using similar job description templates, or even recycling the same wording for care worker roles year after year. If that sounds familiar, it may be time to identify what benefits your care home can offer compared with the competition. This will not only allow you to share all of the positives that your care home can offer new candidates, but also demonstrates the added attention to detail your care home gives to seeking new staff – which is an early indicator for potential candidates of the value your care home places on its staff.
There are a number of key points that can instantly help to increase the appeal of your listing:
- Offering training programmes: New or inexperienced care workers are more likely to apply to care home roles that can help them develop their skills. Highlighting any training programmes that you provide to care staff is a good way to show that your care home is right for them.
- Clear career progression: Do you reward longstanding care staff with new responsibilities? Shout about it! By including examples of clear career milestones in your job listing, you can show care worker candidates that your care home values loyalty and retention – rather than quick turnover.
- Positive testimonials: One of the most important things for any care sector applicant to know is whether your care home is right for them. Use positive feedback from existing care staff, residents and reviews to help demonstrate the benefits of being part of your care home’s team.
Involve your care staff in your recruitment messaging
Nobody knows what matters more about working at a care home than its workers. Discuss with your existing members of staff the things they value most about working at your care home, especially the points of difference with your competition. This is especially insightful if they have worked with your care home for a long time or have worked with other care providers previously. This way, you can develop your care home messaging to include the information that matters most to your team, so increasing your chances of drawing in care worker candidates who hold those same values and appreciate the things that you have to offer.
The best way to get open, natural feedback from existing staff is to talk to them, rather than asking them to fill in forms. Any form is built on a prescriptive idea as to what the answers might be; a conversation can flow and follow unexpected twists. The thing that staff most appreciate about your care home may be something that the management team take for granted – you are most likely to uncover this through dialogue. If you have effective management, you should have an open culture which facilitates these kinds of discussions, but if you think staff may be reticent to talk openly about what’s great (and not so great), you could consider bringing in an outside marketing expert or consultant to conduct the interviews for you to get more valuable insights.
Of course, in asking for feedback, you may uncover areas where staff feel less happy. This may be uncomfortable, but effective management teams will use these learnings to inform changes that will help retain good staff for longer, as well as improve your chances of attracting the best-fit candidates.
Aim for tailored, emotional connections in care recruitment listings
If you have really strong feedback, you could even use some of this as direct quote(s) to sum up in a sentence or two what is so great about working at your care home. After all, 80% of any decision-making process is emotional, rather than rational, so establishing an emotional connection with potential candidates will help you build instant rapport to increase the chances of them applying to your care home. With so many identikit listings, an advert that starts “I’m excited every day to come to work at XYZ Care Home – it’s such a lovely atmosphere and it’s great to know I’m making a positive difference for the residents” would both stand out and tick a lot of boxes for jobhunters who are looking for a supportive, friendly employer and are truly motivated to care.
Talking with your existing care staff about how to approach new candidates will not only help shape the messaging you use in your recruitment postings, but can also give a clear idea of the type of candidates that would work best within your team. For larger care home groups, giving a member of the local care management team the duty of collecting this feedback will enable you to customise each job advert with the traits that the specific care home management team are after. This way, despite potentially needing similar applicants at multiple care home sites, your advert will be tailored to local needs — and not be a quick copy and paste!
Keep your care recruitment listing simple
The last thing that anyone wants when hunting for new work is to be left scratching their head, unable to decipher the job description. Try to avoid using any unnecessary jargon in your care worker job listings and keep any expectations, perks and details of the role clear.
For example, if you offer a good salary, including this in your listing is vital. The average salary remains at around £17,000 — roughly around the UK’s minimum wage. But as more care homes have started to offer wage increases as part of their approach to tackling vacancies, potential candidates will be on the lookout for this in new listings.
This doesn’t mean your care home messaging needs to be dumbed down, but rather universally accessible. Make sure that all of the key details are covered: hours, rates, travel and any flexibility for shifts. If your job listing doesn’t tell potential candidates this information in an instant, your job advert may be losing you recruits!
As specialist care consultants, we regularly help our care home clients make their recruitment messaging work for them. We recognise how important it can be to get recruitment listings right and attract the candidates who are best suited for your care home. If recruitment will be a focus for your care home in 2022, our latest, free whitepaper [LINK TO WHITEPAPER] has a range of information and solutions designed to reinvigorate the care sector in the post-pandemic.