Applications to work in Social Care
As part of our blog series about recruiting for social care during the Coronavirus crisis, we now turn to the rollercoaster of daily applications to work in social care that began at the end of March. I imagine that all social care providers saw a spike in applications at end of March, a major slow down during April, with another pick up during May.
It seems like so long ago, but initial confusion around whether you could work whilst furloughed meant candidates were declining offers once they’d spoken to their current employers. Thanks to some government lobbying, the rules were relaxed, but allowing applications to work in social care from all furloughed employees was never going to be the only answer for attraction to the sector.
We also know how much the media can influence candidate activity – for years we have struggled to climb over the mountain of negative press and doing everything we can to change perceptions. But this is no different now; and whilst we had that flurry of applications from the very original clap for carers we all did on that first Thursday evening, once the media attention turned to care homes and challenges with PPE, we saw a negative impact on applications.
Best way to attract applicants
But despite all of this, how can we best position our adverts? Acknowledge the situation and tell the story – explain that now is the time to come and help the care sector! Share all the great activities you’re still up to at the homes, explain what’s available beyond this period; sell the career pathway. One provider we know that do this really well is Majesticare – and I saw their latest video online this morning where staff had filmed a fun remake of “Is this the way to Amarillo”, dressed up in fancy dress and PPE! If I was a candidate – I’d apply to them because it looks like a fun place to work.
And to get the message heard, include all the relevant keywords within adverts so they’re picked up on job board searches. Indeed shared that at the start of this crisis, candidates quickly took to the job boards using search words like ‘urgent’, ‘immediate’, ‘temporary’ – and they also saw more self-employed people register.
Young people in care
When it comes to audiences, as always we recommend casting the net far and wide using a values based recruitment mindset. Any of you that know Cohesion well will be aware that one pool of talent we’re always championing is young people in care, and actually at this time there are many young people available because their current workplaces are shut down. About 4 weeks ago, we partnered with the Association of Colleges to share our clients’ Key Worker campaigns with students across the UK via our sister website Care & Support Jobs which I’ll cover off in more detail later. By day 2 we’d received over 150 student registrations! So yes – early talent, without experience, are considering care – and many of them want to join and stay!
Mix of Applications to work in Social Care
I have to be really careful I don’t generalise here, but we’ve seen a real mix of candidates apply who we don’t think would have applied before COVID19. We’ve seen more applications from hospitality and catering, education workers such as teachers, those from arts and theatre, retail workers, those who are self-employed such as painters and decorators. Also from volunteers – some will take this opportunity to join you on a paid contract – and if you have any self-employed contractors that support you e.g. with activities, reach out to them too.
The calibre of applications has been mixed too – some aren’t sure if they will like care, yet are doing exceptionally well during the process, but we’re also receiving applications from candidates who lack passion for care.
One thing we learnt from the recession that followed the 2018 financial crisis is that typically job switching falls in recessions and candidates take fewer risks, and therefore we expect this to be the case for more senior positions in care, clinical roles including Nursing, and head office settings at this time. Boosting your attraction for these roles might be a knee jerk reaction to lower applications but might not yield the best results. Now is the time to be looking from within – who’s ready to take that next step?
Care & Support Jobs
Many of you will be aware of Care & Support Jobs – our site for those looking to develop a career in care and to share good news stories about working in care. We did this because we felt care was lacking in this content where other sectors, such as construction, were doing well but also because like you we were uncomfortable with the negative press overriding the good. This month we’ve relaunched the site with a new look and feel and job board. You can see some of the topics we cover on the site.