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10 care industry recruitment challenges and how to solve them

November 7, 2019
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Struggling to recruit care staff?

We stopped by a talk at the Care Show to hear Scott Sheridan of The Care Hub, talk all things recruitment and home care jobs - and how you can make recruiting the right people easy.  

He spoke about the 10 challenges in recruitment, how many can you relate to?

“I can't attract enough people”

If you’re struggling to attract people it’s often not a shortage of skilled workers that causes the issue, instead, its a shortage in knowledge of how to target these people. There are more people looking for jobs in the care industry than there are jobs available. You just need to find them.

The solution?

Look at where you’re currently posting your job adverts and assess how many people are engaging, applying or even just clicking on your ad. 

If you’re seeing loads of people clicking on your post but not many people applying, you may need to look at the way you write your advert.

The first 70 characters of a job ad are the only things that are shown on a job board - so these need to be engaging from the first letter. Don't start with your story or your business. Candidates are primarily interested in what appeals to them. What will they get out of the job? What's the benefit? What skills do they need to apply? If you need a specific skill, list it first - this way you’ll get only relevant applications?

If you’re recruiting using social media try changing your message or image. Or pay a little money to boost your post so that your ideal candidates have more of a chance of seeing it. 

Above all, make sure you measure what you’ve done and keep a log of your process. You’ll need it later down the line and it’ll help show you what’s working and what isn’t.

“I can't find staff with the right values”

Making sure you recruit based on values is a hot topic right now. But what if no one is matching up?

Finding the perfect carer might feel like a tall order, and if you’re struggling based on the applications you’re receiving, it may be time to look beyond the CV.

The solution?

Sometimes a person’s experience may not add up to the role they’re applying for. Many people misjudge a CV that doesn’t align to a role as simply a person who has applied to retain benefits or not a serious application.

However, you could be missing out on key, value-driven staff who are looking for a change in career or have a desire to provide care. 

Designate time to call each and every one of your applicants and ask them your key questions over the phone. If someone’s experience doesn’t seem right on paper, they may have other skills or experience (like personal caring for a loved one) which would make them fantastic candidates.

“Using agencies is easier than recruiting”

In the short term, agency staff can be a quick fix to a staffing issue. However, not only will your care recipients suffer from a constant rotation on agency staff, your bottom line will too. Using agencies as a long term solution is a very expensive recruitment method, and whilst it may be easy, investing extra time into recruitment will be a far better move.

The solution?

Read this blog post top to bottom, and get a handle on how to recruit better. A little time spent now will save you a lot of time later!

“A lack of staff means I can't grow my domiciliary care business”

If you’re looking to grow, you need to be confident that you will have the staff to support you. Many agencies don’t actively look to grow, because they fear that recruiting more staff will be too difficult.

The solution?

If you want to grow your business you need to make it attractive to both new staff and new clients. Start by looking at your brand image. Is it professional? Does your website reflect you well? Do you have an active social media page? These may feel like small details, but families of new clients and care staff alike will be looking for this information. 

If your business looks and feels appealing, is thriving online and credible, recruiting staff will come easily. 

Your brand image is your storefront, so you need to consider how you appeal to the ‘passers-by’. If you’re not sure how to do this start by:

  1. Making sure your values are easy to find and understand
  2. Posting content regularly on social media that supports your business
  3. Enlisting the help of a designer or website developer if you need help in this area
  4. Defining a clear list of benefits for new staff joining your agency, and keeping these front and centre
  5. Defining what makes you different from other agencies in the area - and shouting about why care staff  should come to you

“I don’t know how to measure my recruitment strategy”

A big mistake in recruiting is recruiting without a process. If you put a process in place, you’ll be able to measure your strategy.

The solution?

A process doesn’t have to be complex either - a spreadsheet will do just fine! Just make sure you track the adverts you post, where you post them and what the next steps will be. Then in each of these sections, you can track how many people made it through each stage. 

If your recruitment campaign isn’t a success, it’s easy to see where you went wrong. For example, if you notice that you lose candidates after an offer has been made, it may be time to look at your onboarding process. 

Remember, you can't improve what you don’t measure.

“I don’t know how to advertise on social media”

Facebook is a top place to source candidates, but many people don’t know where to begin, or simply aren’t doing it correctly. 

Job boards are a great way to advertise directly to those who are actively searching, but Facebook will help you reach those people who aren’t - and as we mentioned earlier, sometimes the best staff come from unlikely places. 

The solution?

Even if you’re not a social media pro, recruiting on Facebook is simple. Start with a great photo - using real people, like your staff, is a good place to start, just make sure you get their permission first! Then use your earlier job description and make it sound exciting. Start with the benefits, and draw people in with fun messaging. Once it’s posted, send a message to your carers and ask them to share, share, share! 

You might be reluctant to ask your carers to share your message, but they’re a great resource to you as they’ll know lots of other carers and people looking for jobs. 

If this isn’t quite getting you enough traction, you can promote your Facebook post for very little money. If you’re not sure how to do this you can find out everything you need to get started here.

“I’m not up to date with modern recruitment practice” 

Recruitment has changed. No longer is it simply enough to post an advert int he local newspaper or shop window and expect tons of applicants. 

The solution?

There are lots of options when it comes to recruitment, and the best thing you can do is learn about what’s out there. If you always use the same job board. Try looking at others. If you’ve never used Facebook or LinkedIn to recruit, take some time to learn and try it out. You might feel like you don’t have enough time to learn newfangled new ways of recruiting, but the landscape is changing. With so much competition for jobs, businesses must be visible in as many places as possible and offer something unique to attract the best candidates.

If you’re really stuck, you can always use a specialist recruitment service like The Care Hub to help you with your recruitment. 

“I don't have time to recruit new staff”

The question to ask yourself here is not if you have time, but if you’re using your time correctly. If you’re recruiting ‘on the side’ or spending time ‘only when you can’ on your recruitment, you’re not alone! Recruiting well can be a labour-intensive process, but by cutting corners, you’re actually wasting more time than you’re saving. If you’re posting an ad then reviewing your candidates two weeks later, you haven’t reacted fast enough? It will take you a whole morning to go through your candidates and by that point, most people have forgotten that they've even applied.

The solution?

Recruitment needs to be managed in a linear fashion - it is a process, and should be treated as an important part of your business.  

Once you’ve created your ad, posted it and received your applications, don’t stand by! Speed and quality are your best friends in recruitment. 

Heres’s how to maximise your time and make sure that you don’t lose great candidates:

  • Call and screen candidates the day they apply, every 24 hours that passes reduces your chance of engaging by 50/60%!
  • Set a target. Will you call, email and text a certain amount of times after the initial screening?
  • Scott at the Care Hub recommends 6 to 8 touch points - made up of:  3-4 calls, 2 emails, 2 texts, sent at various points in their journey. To reduce the chance of no shows, be sure to send reminder texts and emails and call on the day of the interview.

“My candidates don’t show up”

A big problem for care agencies comes from the no-show. When candidates don’t arrive for their interviews it wastes time and resources, and of course, reduces your chance of making a great hire. 

The solution?

As we mentioned above, you need to be tenacious in your strategy. Make sure you follow up all candidates within 24 hours and keep a constant line of communication.

Remember that your candidates have a choice, and if you’re not offering something as exciting as another employer, they will go there instead. But, if you can build up good communication, you’ll build trust and loyalty from the start - which means you’ll have less chance of no shows, and more chance of retaining your staff for longer. So call, text, email and above all do everything you can to keep your candidates engaged.   

“My candidates drop out at the last minute”

So you’ve done everything correctly, you’ve made a great hire… but at the last minute, they pull out of the role and you’re back to square one. Sound familiar?

The solution?

Once again, the solution lies in the tenacity and your on-boarding process. If you don’t have an on-boarding process, now’s the time to create one! It doesn’t have to be long and complex, it can simply be a series of phone calls, texts or emails - from the initial employee agreement to the day they start.


  • A pre-start meeting to go over any questions
  • A phone call to follow up the meeting, or a phone call in place of the meeting 
  • A follow-up text or email
  • A welcome email, text or phone call to confirm their start date, time and any training
  • An email with their training details included (if required) and a text to follow up
  • A day in the field with a carer if they’re new to the role, before their official start date

At Birdie, we want to help care agencies succeed in all areas of their business. In a recent survey we undertook, over 80% of those who responded told us that their greatest challenge as a home care agency was recruiting staff. We know that recruitment can be difficult so we've done the legwork for you. We've spoken with experts, compiled research and created useful articles, eBooks and webinars to help you. Explore this page to find the right resources to help you - from writing your job advert to implementing an onboarding process, we've got it covered. Explore our other content below:

How to advertise your care vacancy to attract the best carers

How to hire exceptional carers

Do you need a care recruitment agency?

10 care industry recruitment challenges and how to solve them

Carer Interview Questions: What Should You Ask?

Values-Based Recruitment Framework

Your Homecare Staff Retention Plan

Social Care Recruitment - 5 Tips For Success

Hired: Your complete guide to recruiting care staff

Practical advice for recruiting carers during the crisis

Even on a good day, being a carer has its challenges. To make life easier for your team, make sure you use the right digital tools to streamline their day and ease their workload. Adopting digital processes, including record-keeping and eMAR, can eliminate the need for paper trails and help free up the carer’s time so they can deliver the outstanding care your clients deserve. Using digital systems in this way shows candidates that you value their time and do all you can to reduce workload where possible. Find out more about the digital tools that can help your business here.

Want more like this? Follow Birdie on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Oh, and if you’re interested in learning more about what we do here at Birdie and how we can help you improve your agency, you can find everything you need to know, here.

CTA: Discover more recruitment advice and tips

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