Recruiting care and support workers is a struggle which is felt across the entire Social Care sector. This has been a hot topic amongst those working in the industry and a key point brought up at the Social Care Roundtable earlier this year.

And why wouldn’t it be? The sector is struggling to grow and reach new demographics, as well as facing a notorious skills shortage. Those recruiting in the sector need to be pro-active and seek new and innovative ways of reaching the right people.

It’s key to remember that the initial stage of the recruitment process is about reaching the right audience. Who are the right people and where will you find them? For example, 82% of the Care sector workforce is made up of women and 97% of Pinterest users are also women- so why not use Pinterest to reach out to potential applicants?

Engaging with candidates face to face is another invaluable way of telling them about you and your business. There’s real opportunity here to win them over and start receiving applications. Talking one on one with the public not only increases brand awareness but also creates leads and, ultimately, means a higher number of applications. And don’t forget, not all potential applicants know where to look or even have access to the internet.

Male care assistant reading senior woman bookHave you tried canvassing local shopping centres? Our recruitment specialists have found this to be particularly successful. By contacting your chosen establishment and finding which days are the busiest for footfall, you have the potential to reach a much wider audience. Promotional signs, banners and flyers are usually very successful, with flyers being a great way of getting information out quickly.

Once set up, don’t expect candidates to approach you and fill in an application form- be pro-active! Approach your audience and be ready to either hand out a hard copy of your application form or direct them to your jobsite.

Making a note of everyone who shows an interest is important as you will need to ensure that you engage with potential candidates after the event- this contact is just as important as the initial conversation you had with them. Some individuals may need further support or prompting to apply.

This really is a great way to engage with a whole new audience. Many Social Care businesses are already working with schools, colleges and even more closely with the job centre to reach and engage with new demographics and placing yourself in the midst of the general public can yield great results.

Have a look at our ebook on Future Proofing Social Care to see how we are trying to help the sector combat their recruitment challenges.


With Britain’s got Talent hitting all the headlines this week it’s clear that the UK is bursting at the seams with weird and wonderful talent. Thousands and thousands of applications have been made for the show… proving that BGT is hitting the attraction strategy on the head with everyone wanting to be a part of their talent campaign.

britains-got-talent-semi-finalists-So what are they doing right?

Why do singing dogs and elderly dancers seem to be in greater abundance than support workers and drivers?

Take a look at our 4 top tips for building a solid recruitment strategy  that will have the best candidates knocking at your door – rather than at your competitors!

1. Know Your Audience

It’s unlikely that you’ll have the budget for an advertising campaign on ITV, but you can work out where your top talent might hang out. Candidates aren’t all that different from an audience, you have to sell your business and the role.

Look at your current top performers, are there trends? Do they come from a particular background? Perhaps they fit a certain demographic… once you have this information, you just need a targeted campaign. For example, 85% of the social care workforce is made up of women, and around 90% of Pinterest users fall in to the same demographic, so why not set up  recruitment campaigns on Pinterest?

2. Candidate Engagement

ITV plan ahead- applications are invited 12 months in advance, this may not be necessary for some roles, but think of this as a ‘register your interest’ opportunity. By allowing applicants to do this on your website, you are constantly engaging in talent pool management of candidates who will be ready and waiting when you need them.

It’s important to engage with candidates from the moment they apply right to the point where they are either filtered out or begin the onboarding process. Try different channels- social media, phone calls, text messaging. By finding out their preferred method of communication you will be able to ensure they are fully engaged throughout the process. 68% of candidates will choose one employer over another, based on the recruitment experience.

3. A Great Screening Process

BGT had thousands of applications! 45 of those making it through to the finals this week. And by Sunday, there will be 1 successful applicant left. That’s amazing progress within one week!
Take candidates through a journey that allows you to pick the cream of the crop and interact the very best of the talent pool.
A robust screening process could look something like this:

4. Detailed Feedback 

Simon Cowell definitely doesn’t hold back when it comes to letting contestants know what they’ve done right and wrong, in fact it’s part of his personal brand.

Providing candidates with feedback is also an important part of your employer brand. Whether a candidate is successful or not, let them know why and how you came to your decision. For a candidate, this is all about their personal progression, so help them out!
They will talk to their friends about their recruitment experience, make them a fan of what you’re offering! Take this unsuccessful candidate’s feedback as an example:

“Your recruitment team is so much better than all the others I have dealt with;  my friends, who are also applying for jobs agree! Your approach has helped massively and I really appreciate all the time and effort you have put in.”


By implementing these simple steps, you have the beginnings of a successful recruitment strategy. You might not get a knock at the door from someone who’s about to perform at The Royal Variety Show, but top talent is out there, you just need to ensure that you’re ready to reach and engage with them in the right way!

Written by Josephine Lester, Marketing Executive


“Current.” “Energetic.” “Trustworthy.” What do your employees think of you? What does your employer brand say about you?

Your employer brand is the image of your organisation as perceived internally and externally. It is about effectively communicating your organisations values, personality and culture to create a seamless appearance.

The process begins with the recruitment and onboarding process, extending to every aspect of employment. This includes training and development; support and incentives, right through to their exit from the organisation and beyond.

By distinguishing yourself from the competition, promoting strengths and values, you will ensure that your company stays ahead of the pack and becomes an employer of choice during both recession and boom times.

Have you heard of Glassdoor? A new website where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management- this gives some great examples of businesses who boast a top-notch employer brand (and those who don’t)

(Top 3 companies rated on Glassdoor)

glassdoor top 3

How to be tip top in the employer branding stakes

Having a strong employer brand will help you to engage with great candidates, rather than discovering that they are working for your competitors. Cohesion can help you attract and retain people who will boost your employer trademark, further promoting your brand ‘personality’ and overall company image.

There’s a new kid on the employer brand block. Social media has fast become the HR department’s top tool for creating and maintaining an enviable reputation as an employer. Keeping constantly engaged and active with your customers and candidates ensures increased brand knowledge and brand attractiveness.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a minute-long video is worth around 2 million. Showing candidates what the business is about is far more valuable than writing about it. Posts can also include current employee testimonials and scheduled video newsletters to keep candidates connected over time.

An employer brand will continue to grow and develop over time and requires ongoing attention. The best employer brands recognise the changing needs of their workforce and shifts in perceptions, and adapt accordingly.

Tools such as employee satisfaction surveys, employee workshops and exit interviews can all provide invaluable insight. Remember, employees are the best ambassadors!

Read more about how we help to ensure your employees are happy and engaged here.


Written by Josephine Lester, Marketing Executive


As a business we are hugely excited about sponsoring a PhD study. But what’s good about it? What can we all hope to learn from it? And why is it exciting?

This week we talked to John to get the answers to these questions…

“On a personal basis this is a very exciting project to be involved in and one I am very fortunate to be leading. I’ve studied for 4 years and obtained 2 degrees in order to enable myself to undertake a PhD, so this is a huge deal. This opportunity is the dream combination for me. It not only enables me to live out a long held ambition of completing a PhD, it also means working in a very hands-on environment and carrying out some really interesting research.

What really makes this an important project is the impact that this research can have. It is research that will directly impact people’s lives. When thinking about recruitment, you often get caught up thinking about who’s going to be recruited and how it will positively impact the industry, which is tremendously important, but Social Care runs deeper than that.

This project is important because it will impact service-users, and that’s what it all comes down to. Whether it be ourselves, a friend or a relative, most of us will come in to contact with this side of Social Care at some point and we will all benefit from an improved recruitment and selection process.

The area of recruitment and selection has been a passion of mine for a few years now. I have always been interested in this type of work and last year I became a British Psychological Society accredited psychometric test user. This has helped broaden my understanding and leads perfectly into this PhD.

I hope that this opportunity will give me the ability to use all of the various statistical and theoretical techniques I have built up over my years of study. I will especially take great pride in the development of a measurement tool. This is no mean feat and is something of huge significance that will most likely be one of my biggest academic achievements to date.

I am also hugely excited by the prospect of undertaking interviews with care workers. I relish the chance to be able to really get a feel for what the work is like for the workers, what makes them tick and what elements of the job they enjoy, as well as their dislikes. To have the chance to complete research that can have a tangible impact on the jobs and lives of care workers is a great opportunity and a privilege.

Some of the most robust work is research that is undertaken longitudinally and follows participants over time (as oppose to cross-sectional). This type of research, by its nature, is time consuming and hard to do. So again to have the opportunity to do this is great and a really exciting prospect.



Finally, the sector is one that is particularly important to me. This is a sector where the research study to be undertaken can actually impact on the lives of people and make a difference. It is a sector that is largely under researched and one where great strides can be taken. It is a sector that needs to recruit over 1million workers by 2025, and one that often receives a myriad of negative press. I therefore see it as a real opportunity to make a difference and to help tackle some of the challenges that a crucial sector faces going forward.

As previously touched on, I love that this PhD is hands-on and involves active research as opposed to being purely theoretical. I also love that I have the opportunity to work with Cohesion, a successful recruitment company. I am passionate about eventually completing my Chartership and becoming an Occupational Psychologist (as well as doing some consultancy) working with businesses and organisations is something I really relish.

This opportunity has ticked all of the boxes for me.”

For more exciting updates from John, click here.

In the meantime, why not take a look at some of our free Social Care ebooks which further explore the skills shortage, the future of the sector and values-based recruitment.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates!


Written by John Barratt, PhD student at Aston University

At a time when skills shortages are wreaking havoc, employment rates are creeping up and competition for top talent is fierce, it’s not enough to rely wholly on one element of your recruitment process to attract and retain the best people. It’s important to utilise a Total Recruitment Philosophy which incorporates all elements of the recruitment puzzle.

What is a Total Recruitment Philosophy? It’s a strategy focussed on reaching out to, and engaging with, the best talent for your business. It’s about having your finger on the pulse when it comes to attraction AND retention. It’s about understanding what good looks like now as well as predicting the employment needs of the future.

Our Total Recruitment Philosophy (TRP) recognises the journey recruitment has taken over the years – no longer is it enough to just look at attraction and assessment to find the best candidates. Our philosophy recognises the importance of employer branding, including its influence on candidates and how this needs to be reflected throughout the recruitment journey. It demonstrates that the journey doesn’t end once a person has been offered a position, but continues through the onboarding process and beyond. It is only through looking at all of these stages as a whole that you can truly influence your recruitment strategy to reach the right audience, engage with them in the right way and ensure you retain the best talent.

Our TRP is changing the face of recruitment by transforming the way companies approach and view the process, which results in them being able to both attract and retain talent in their business who are not only staying longer, but performing better.

We completely re-engineered recruitment processes for one healthcare organisation by working with them on a new online application form, introducing them to a range of new sourcing streams and moving them away from the more traditional and expensive advertising methods using conventional media.

We introduced values-based screening and assessment methods through the use of telephone and video interviews, which assessed candidates on their values and behaviours and how these matched the role, the client’s customers and the organisation. Candidates were engaged with throughout the process and had a regular point of contact. Managers were no longer interviewing irrelevant candidates and they saw a rapid decline in the number of ‘no shows’ – this was replaced instead with a high attendance of quality candidates achieving a 79% conversion rate at the face to face interview stage. By incorporating our TRP we were able to fill over 100 vacancies in 3 weeks, a tenfold uplift when compared to previous campaigns.

The feedback from our client speaks volumes:
“The service you have provided has completely transformed our healthcare recruitment process; we simply could not have achieved what we have without you”.

We often see recruitment campaigns fail where organisations do not have a TRP because they still believe recruitment activity can exist in its own silo. We often have to re-advertise roles for our clients- when we ask why, we are often told that the candidate did not start. After following up with the candidates we find this is because they have been left in the dark- sometimes waiting for 3 months or more with no contact from the company. In some cases, candidates have had to continually chase for updates. For example, they may have had a contract but had to chase for a start date.

There is simply no point in creating a fantastic recruitment experience, only for your onboarding and induction process to let you down. This can be one of the most frustrating parts of the process for the candidate – it requires engagement, consideration and reassurance.

Do you know what your onboarding process looks like? How often do you engage with your potential new starters? Do you know why they don’t start? What would your candidates say about their
recruitment experience with you? Time to think and reflect – have you got it right?

A total recruitment philosophy can be adopted by anyone, and it really works!


Written by Hannah Ratcliff, Marketing Executive

Understanding our clients, their vision and their workforce allows us to recruit great people who stay longer. Consulting with hiring managers isn’t always enough- we believe that onsite visits give a better indicator of what and, most importantly, who, will be the best fit for the role.

At Cohesion we aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty and are no strangers to suiting up to work alongside our clients. Most recently two of our specialist recruiters visited CBS, Affinity Sutton’s repairs partner, and here’s what they had to say:

“Working onsite is always an exciting opportunity, it’s great to get better acquainted with hiring managers whilst gaining a better understanding of the workforce and what employees do day to day.

These visits give you a real feel for the work our clients do and the roles we work on. We even met a candidate who we’d placed 3 weeks prior to our visit. She was getting on really well in her new role and that’s always a rewarding experience- it’s great to know that we’ve made a difference to the candidate as well as the client.

In the morning we worked with the scheduling team and became more familiar with their systems and processes. By being shown how the department is operated we gained a real understanding of the type of people who work there and the sort of calibre required to fulfill the needs of the job.

Getting involved was great, it added a new dimension to the recruitment process; giving it a human element that really brings the job description to life.

The part of the day we both enjoyed most was getting suited and booted in safety gear and CBS uniform to spend the afternoon with the Multi-Skilled Operatives. This really allowed us to see the great work Affinity Sutton does for its tenants.

We attended local repairs which ranged from re-sealing windows to re-fitting doors. Working alongside the operatives meant that we had time to ask questions and find out what it’s really like to work within those types of role. Often we work with members of HR and Hiring Managers, so getting feedback from people on the job is invaluable.

They told us their daily challenges and the type of individual who they thought would be suitable in similar roles and what kind of background would be beneficial. Not only has this given us a better understanding of what they do, it’s given us an even clearer idea of what to look for when recruiting for these types of roles.

We both had an enjoyable and insightful day that highlighted the importance of partnership working and understanding the clients we work with.

Client collaboration is key, it helps us to build new relationships and strengthen current ones. Our visit gave us a great understanding of the vision that CBS has for the future and how we can be part of that vision.”

Take a look at our Affinity Sutton Case Study on how we have restored their faith in temporary recruitment.

Written by Kully Bhirth and Matt McHale, Specialist Recruiters