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5 tips for success in social care recruitment

February 15, 2022
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Here at Birdie, we know that recruitment poses an ongoing challenge for home care agencies. 

Outsourcing to a social care recruitment agency takes away the hassle, but it’s a pretty costly option, so home care agencies often decide to manage the process themselves. 

We want to support home care agencies in any way we can, so we’ve put together our top 5 tips for successful social care recruitment.

1. Be clear on your reasons for hiring.

Before starting, you need to be clear on why you need to hire. Think about short term and long term business needs. How many hours do you need to fill immediately? You might find you can plug the gaps with existing employees, so it’s worth asking around your current workforce to see if anyone wants extra shifts. When this works out, it’s a win-win situation: you avoid the hassle of recruiting, and the carer gets to top up their usual wage.

If you decide that you do need to hire, work out your business requirements before jumping into recruiting. How many people do you need? Is your client base growing? What’s your budget for recruitment?

2. Get the job ad right

The details of a job advertisement can make all the difference in social care recruitment. It’s important to spend time getting this right, as this is your first chance to filter out unsuitable applicants. 

A good job ad outlines:

  • the exact details of the role, including hours, location, responsibilities and expectations
  • essential and desired knowledge, skills and qualities
  • any additional requirements, e.g. do they need a car?
  • benefits, including pay and further training opportunities
  • information about your home care agency
  • how to apply.

There are different schools of thought on including rates of pay on a job ad. It saves time interviewing candidates whose pay expectations don’t match yours, but it can also cause candidates to discount your role if it pays less than others. It can be helpful to check out what other employers in your area are doing, or you might already have a preference one way or the other.

3. Consider values-based recruitment

One of the factors that make social care recruitment so challenging is that the practicalities of the work are only 50% of what’s needed to be good at the job. The other 50% is the nature and personality of the employee. Delivering care requires many qualities, including patience, empathy, kindness and a good sense of humour. Focusing on these attributes when considering a new hire is known as values-based recruitment. You can read more about values-based recruitment here.

4. Recruit in different places

You never know where you might find a new recruit. As well as placing job ads on social care recruitment websites, think about how else you might reach potential candidates. People working in other sectors might be open to a job in care, so try advertising on other types of jobs boards. Ask current employees if they know anyone who would be suited to the job, and tell everyone you know that you’re hiring.

5. Work on your onboarding process

When you appoint a new staff member, the last thing you want is for them to leave again shortly after starting. Unsurprisingly, this can happen if you rush the hiring process and employ someone who isn’t quite right for the role or the team. But if enthusiastic candidates who seem perfect for the role are leaving shortly after starting, you might need to review your onboarding process. 

A new employee has to learn new skills, make friends with their new colleagues, get used to the way your particular agency works, and get to know your clients - all at the same time. If they feel unsupported or have a negative experience in these early weeks and months, it can cause them to leave. It’s in everyone’s interest if you can nurture and support new starters as they settle in.

A good onboarding process might include a formal welcome from senior staff and the team, regularly checking in with your new starter, and assigning a mentor to show them the ropes.

To help home care agencies through the recruitment process, we’ve created an eBook: Fast track recruitment: A practical guide to recruiting care staff in a crisis. It contains a step by step guide to social care recruitment, with activities and examples to help you at every stage. Download it here:

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.

CTA: Discover more recruitment advice and tips

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