Creating a consistent candidate experience in care hiring

LAURA CHAMBERS • 01 Jul 2024

In just under two weeks, our Virtual Roundtable - Enhancing Candidate Engagement in Care Sector Recruitment with our guest expert, Matthew Garner from Voyage Care and in collaboration with The Talent Labs (formerly the Firm) - takes place. We wanted to take some time out to explore some of the key topics Matthew will be discussing and what they mean.

Understanding candidate engagement

We're all aware that the care sector, from the NHS to health and care providers, is in a tough place right now when it comes to recruiting and retention - and candidate engagement is a crucial aspect of that process.

What do we mean by candidate engagement? We're talking about the level of interaction and connection between candidates and your organisation throughout the hiring journey. Why is it important to engage with potential care sector hires? First of all, it helps to attract talent in the first place. Secondly, it can help retain talent once they're employed with you (a major challenge for care right now with a turnover rate of 36.1% for care workers according to Skills for Care).

There are trends (and challenges) to engaging candidates - the high demand for care workers, added to a limited pool of qualified candidates, makes it essential for organisations like yours to stand out.

Streamlining the application process

We'll also discuss how simplifying the application process for your candidates can play a key role in enhancing candidate engagement and reducing drop-off rates. It's difficult enough to attract the best talent, so to lose them after all that hard work because of a poor application experience can be soul-destroying!

73 percent of applicants abandon an application form (1)So what options do care organisations like yours have to solve this? Care organisations can look to technology to help make the application process more user-friendly and efficient. From tailored online application forms that don't take an age to complete or ask for every minute detail, to ensuring you're providing a pain-free process accessible for everyone with clear instructions, support and guidance throughout. Strike a balance between capturing what's required (at that stage of the process) and not overwhelming candidates - that's where a two-stage application can come in handy.

Get involved in the discussion with Matthew Garner from Voyage Care - save your free place below.

Effective communication strategies

You've worked tirelessly to attract the best candidates; they've completed and submitted an application; then it's time for interviews and they don't show up. Data from Indeed recently found that 86% of UK jobseekers have (without notice) not shown up for a job interview. That's a shocking statistic and potentially disastrous for a care organisation trying to fill a care worker position in time.

Girl in a wheelchair with carer (1)

So what can you do? Communication, communication, communication! For example, from the outset of engaging with a candidate, treat them with respect, set their expectations of the hiring process to come and inform them of any delays that inevitably crop up along the way. 

Don't just take our word for it, with 6 years of experience recruiting in a huge care organisation, Matthew from Voyage Care will provide even more know-how in our virtual roundtable.

Delivering consistent candidate experiences

Much like candidate engagement, the candidate experience goes hand in hand. A consistent candidate experience is crucial for your care organisation to attract and retain the very best talent. How do you define a candidate experience?

The candidate experience encapsulates every interaction you have as an organisation with potential hires, from the initial recruitment marketing phase to the final onboarding process.

It's a reflection of the overall perception and emotions that candidates associate with your organisation. It includes what's on social media, job sites, adverts, applications, assessments, interviews, communication, feedback and the pre and onboarding journey. These touchpoints shape your brand, reputation and ability to attract and, crucially, retain top talent. A positive candidate experience nurtures trust and engagement and therefore ultimately boosts the chances of successful hires.

So what can your care organisation do to create a successful candidate experience? From the initial application to the onboarding process, candidates want to feel they're being respected and listened to.

Clear and transparent communication, as I mentioned earlier, forms a key part of the candidate experience mantra. Treat candidates with respect and dignity and offer support and guidance throughout the hiring journey. Your care organisation should also focus on creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for candidates and showcase your commitment to diversity and equality.

Gathering feedback to continuously improve

Are you listening to what candidates say about your organisation? Whether it's chatter on social media forums, feedback from unsuccessful candidates or even those that successfully join your organisation. Gathering this type of feedback from different groups of candidates is essential for care organisations to continuously improve hiring processes. The feedback you receive could prove illuminating and identify areas of improvement to make adjustments to supercharge your candidate experience.

What types of things could you be doing? Surveys, interviews or feedback forms allow candidates to share their thoughts and suggestions of what could be improved and what worked well for them, helping you strive to continually improve.

Our virtual roundtable event follows a highly successful breakfast in-person event held in Manchester with Voyage Care in April 2024. To learn more about that, visit our blog here.

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