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What To Look For When Hiring Care Staff

George Griffiths

21 July 2020

What To Look For When Hiring Care Staff

George Griffiths

21 July 2020

Hiring the right home care staff is crucial for your care agency. Your employees are the face of the operation for your clients, and as such they need to uphold your organisation’s high standards.

Recent research by the University of York has highlighted the ‘relentless lack of availability of care staff’, which has left the care sector struggling with unsuitable workers and the recruitment challenges this brings.

Putting in extra time during recruitment could be the difference between finding the perfect fit for your care agency, and choosing someone unsuitable for your care goals.

Three of the main questions to consider when hiring home care staff are:

  • Will the candidate provide top quality care for clients?
  • Does the candidate embody the values of the agency?
  • Does the candidate possess the key core behavioural traits of a good carer?

In this blog we’ll look at how you can answer the above questions, as well as methods of recruiting care staff, new approaches to hiring, the qualities of a good carer, and how to retain staff.

Hiring home care staff: recruitment methods

Firstly, you’ll need to create a job advert and post it to job boards.

Your job description needs to accurately describe all the responsibilities of the role, list the core requirements (eg how many years’ experience), and have a person profile detailing the ideal candidate and their qualities.

It may go without saying that you want somebody empathetic and caring, but explicitly place these qualities in the advert under the person profile - this might help filter out unsuitable candidates applying with the wrong intentions.

You could consider adding a screening stage to your application process if you’re inundated with unsuitable applications. For example, personality questionnaires can help filter out inappropriate candidates.

Key traits to look out for when hiring care staff

Empathy - Care staff need the ability to emotionally and mentally put themselves in the place of the clients, and provide great care accordingly.

Friendliness - Care staff need the ability to get on with everyone and the ability to provide companionship.

Equality - Care staff need to be able to provide top quality care regardless of clients’ race, ethnicity, sexuality or any other factors. Discrimination must be avoided at all costs.

Trustworthiness - You must be able to trust your employee in many ways, such as to use their time effectively, not slack, and to provide quality care on your behalf.

Patience - Care staff need to be able to move at a slower pace without unduly hurrying clients or getting frustrated. Cool, calm composure is key.

During interviews, to test for this you can ask competency based questions such as ‘describe a time when you needed extreme patience and explain how you responded to the challenge’.

hiring care staff

A family and values-based recruitment strategy: the Jonathan Cunningham method

Jonathan Cunningham MBE is a leading UK care consultant and manager of Rosebank Care Home, currently graded ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

He champions a family-based model of recruitment.

He suggests that providers post on social media platforms to share more about themselves as employers and the love they have for the work they do together.

He says he doesn't look for qualifications, but looks for people to fit into the "family", explaining that practical care skills can be taught but having the right personality for the team is something the candidate needs to have inbuilt.

This is part of a values-based recruitment strategy - which the NHS states makes sure candidates have the ‘right values to support effective team working in delivering excellent patient care and experience’.

How to recruit care staff using social media

Social media is largely free (with the exception of promoted job posts on LinkedIn) - so has the opportunity to widen and engage your pool of candidates at minimal cost.

  • Post pictures of your agency and your staff in action. This would allow potential candidates to see what the job would be like and imagine themselves working for your agency.
  • Post about job vacancies on social media - this may target people passively considering a new job who aren’t looking at job sites.

Safe Recruitment - DBS Checks

The safeguarding of clients is paramount when hiring care staff.

Before they can work with the elderly (classified as ‘vulnerable adults’), most home care staff will need an enhanced DBS check showing convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings, and any important information from the police.

Any staff member working in regulated activity will also be eligible for a barred list check, a list of people barred from working with vulnerable adults.

uRoster’s uRosterCare software is integrated with uCheck’s DBS checking service, so if you are a uCheck client, results from your DBS checks will come through to uRosterCare.

uRosterCare will then alert you if you are rostering someone without a clear DBS.

uRosterCare also allows you to prepopulate employee information from one application form, which removes time inputting the same data over and over again.

Hiring care staff - retention

Recruitment is not just about on-boarding, it’s about limiting staff turnover.

Not looking out for your staff can lead to them being demotivated, stressed, and on the lookout for a better position.

Crucially, however, this can result in a lower standard of care for clients, which must be avoided at all costs.

Clients need a consistent service with friendly faces that they can trust to see regularly. Building a rapport with clients takes time and disruption to this can be distressing for them.

As such, during recruitment you should offer a competitive salary that reflects the carer’s level of responsibility and ensure you provide a good company culture with support networks for carers.

Requesting references

References are a great way to get another perspective on your prospective employee.

Many people can ‘sell’ themselves to you in interviews, when in practice they might not be able to carry out the job to a good standard.

When requesting references, you should get written and signed consent from candidates first, make job offers conditional on satisfactory references, and explore bad references properly.

Conclusion

Hiring the right home care staff is a difficult and long process, but is crucial to the success of your care agency.

You can ensure you get the best staff by taking a family or values-based approach to recruitment, checking for core care qualities, and by checking references and completing the correct background checks.

uRoster’s uRosterCare is easy-to-use home-care rostering software that can keep your care agency running like clockwork. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.

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