Hiring well in the community sector | PerformHR

In all the points raised by the Royal Commission into Aged Care, and the topics highlighted by the current Royal Commission into Disability, there is one common theme.

In one way or another, every issue is related to people. Whether it be a systemic breakdown in people processes and procedures, individuals not being trained sufficiently or supported correctly, or the wrong people being employed in the first place… people are, unfortunately at the heart of the matter.

For businesses in the community care sector, bringing the right people into your organisation is critical. But, of course, that goes without saying. No one ever set out to recruit the wrong type of person.

For many of us recruiting in the community space, we’ve been faced with a lack of diversity, a small talent pool, and a lack of high-quality applicants to choose from.

However, we know the right people are out there. The problem is that traditional recruitment methods aren’t anywhere near as successful at finding them as they once were.

So, what can you do to ensure you find the right candidates, and the right candidates find you?

Develop a strong employer brand

Like attracts like. If the way you come across online and in person reflects quality, positivity and care, then you’re far more likely to attract higher calibre candidates – and retain them throughout the process.

Ensure the recruitment experience from start to finish is a positive one – friendly, open communication, with clear next steps articulated. The recruitment process is as much about the right candidate choosing you, as it is about you selecting the right candidate.

Identify the attributes you need

From experience, you’ll know what it takes to be successful in your sector, in your company and in the role you’re recruiting for. Write down the non-negotiable and the nice-to-haves, and ensure you’re assessing each candidate against those attributes. Getting real clarity – and internal agreement – on the soft and hard skills helps assess objectively and accurately.

This ‘values-based’ approach to recruitment will lead you to candidates who are culturally aligned and will likely be of significantly greater value long term.

For a support worker, for example, attributes to look for are empathy, patience, the ability to think outside the box, flexibility, adaptability, passion, positive attitude, collaboration, resilience and self-care.

Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s far easier to tailor the rest of the recruitment process accordingly.

“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity!"

Richard Branson

Hone your jobs ads - and make sure they are seen!

Your employer branding should really come to life in your job ad. Creating the right feel through your choice of words and images, and the right impression through the quality of the ad, works wonders. What sort of candidate is going to be attracted by a poorly-written job ad?

Convey your company culture. Describe what sort of place it is to work, and what opportunities await the successful candidate. Share what’s in it for them, rather than just what’s in it for you.

Once crafted, release your job ad, and give it a helping hand.
By all means post on the usual job boards, but use your social media (LinkedIn especially) to share with your network, and encourage others to do the same. Jobs boards rely on people looking for jobs – by pushing through socials you may just pique the curiosity of someone who wasn’t actually looking in the first place.

Recruit collaboratively

Bringing anyone into your organisation is a big decision, and should be treated as such. Don’t leave it to one or two people to select and recruit candidates – if you do, it’s easy to develop tunnel-vision and to overlook things that may be critically important. Invite people with different perspectives to be part of the recruitment process – think staff, peers, volunteers, third-parties or your clients. By recruiting collaboratively, you’ll get a range of insights and observations that will more clearly inform your next move.

Create an assessment centre

Why see one candidate at a time when you can see several? An assessment centre may sound grandiose, but it can make for a more effective and efficient process. Essentially, you can bring together several candidates for a range of activities that have been designed to reflect the skills of the job. An assessment centre can include an information session, during which the team can share the realities of the role, individual profiling, personality and motivation questionnaires, assessment exercises and behavioural and situational interviews.

Seek candidate feedback

Finally, after the recruitment process is over, invite the candidates you’ve spoken with to share their experiences with you. Ask them to rate different aspects on a scale of 1-10, quiz them on what worked well and, importantly, what didn’t. Learn from the feedback to refine and hone your process.

In conclusion

You can recruit quickly. You can hire someone tomorrow because you have a role to fill. But rarely is ‘anyone’ better than ‘no-one’.

By spending time developing a thorough, comprehensive and consistent recruitment process, you can both attract a wider pool of quality candidates and weed out those who may appear to have the required attributes, but culturally aren’t a good fit. Leading you to consistently find the right people for your sector and your organisation.

Ultimately, investing time at the start, will save you a lot of time, money and frustration in the future. By selecting the right candidates, and on-boarding them correctly, you will be able to concentrate on other issues in the business, and are less likely to be faced with systemic breakdowns, or staff who aren’t aligned with the cultural behaviours you expect and value.

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