Blog Recruitment Performance 8 Reasons Recruitment Within the Health & Care Sector isn’t Working

8 Reasons Recruitment Within the Health & Care Sector isn’t Working

Mark Stephens Apr 25, 2018 Recruitment Performance

8 Reasons Recruitment Within the Health & Care Sector isn’t Working by Mark Stephens.

We’ve been working closely with more than 100 Health & Care organisations over the past 18 months, and we have gained significant insights and an understanding of the most common issues and challenges facing people recruiting within this sector.

Recruitment strategy is becoming vitally important across many industry sectors where there is a shortage of skills, but the care sector, in particular, seems to be in turmoil and many companies and organisations almost at the point of meltdown.

We have dedicated the last 10 years to developing recruitment solutions for business and established our own online service as the most consistently effective method for recruiting staff directly, without the use of any third party services, anywhere in the UK.

We are proud have become the UK’s market leader for online recruitment in nearly all vertical markets. But our solution is no miracle and in truth we are just doing things more diligently that our competitors.

What we do has been driven by research, the analysis of data and by developing a deeper understanding of human behaviours, when it comes to recruitment.

Around two years ago we started working with a few organisations in the care sector and our consultative approach uncovered a number of serious recruitment related problems that seemed endemic of the sector and yet the good news is, that once we applied our processes and solutions to those organisations we were able to make significant improvements towards resolving the lions share of their issues.

All sectors have common challenges, but the health and care sectors seem to have quite a few (more than most) and I wanted to use this article to highlight those that we come across most regularly.


Common Challenges

– A lack of funding for job advertising. (yet the same companies are using agencies to provide staff)

– Salary budgets are not competitive. (Yet the same companies are paying double to recruitment agencies)

– Seasonal talent shortages. (Even though they know its coming, many companies make no advanced preparation to deal with this)

– Lack of time/resources for managing recruiting internally. (Again leading to an overreliance on agencies)

– Unattractive/restrictive location for potential employees. (I was surprised how many out of town institutions struggle with this)

– High attrition levels, especially in the first 12 months. (Too many organisations are recruiting the wrong people culturally. Add in poor onboarding, training and a lack of a clear career roadmap, it really isn’t that surprising)

– High levels of competition for care staff. (There are staff out there and although there are not enough to go round, we have been amazed how many companies are doing recruitment so badly).


So here are the 8 most common factors that contribute towards making the recruitment of staff so much harder than it needs to be and a few little insights into where positive changes could be made.


1.Your adverts suck!

When we assessed over 200 Health & Care job adverts posted across the 5 largest UK job boards and measured them against the most essential criteria that determines whether a job advert is likely to succeed we found that 90% of those job adverts failed miserably.

Most adverts we read sounded like a job specification rather than an advert promoting a career move and most failed to follow any sensible structure. Nearly all the adverts were written using a very formal style or tone that was uninspiring, and the majority of job adverts did not place anywhere near enough emphasis on what the opportunity was for the prospective employee. Statistically we know that over 90% of job searches are performed by people who already have a job and these people will not apply to a job just because they think that they can do it. They need to believe that the role sounds better than what they have already got, or they will vote with their feet and they wont hit the apply button. Oh, and don’t forget to use a job title in your adverts that candidates are actually going to search for.


how to write outstanding job adverts


2.Job adverts were usually posted on the wrong channels

Around 75% of all online job-related searches start in Google and it was obvious that most advertisers hadn’t tested their job title and location in Google to see which media channels were most likely to generate the best results.

The lion’s share of search traffic will click on one of the first four natural search results that Google or any other search engine generates.

Here is the wake-up call for the Health sector: Health and Care Job related search traffic clicking into more traditional job boards exceeds the number of people visiting NHS jobs many times over. In a survey of more than 100 applicants who had applied for a nursing role for an NHS trust, more than 70% said that they started their search in a search engine and visited several traditional job advertising media channels before going into NHS jobs. It might be free, but it isn’t where the majority of online search traffic is going.


3.Your Recruitment process is far too slow or long

Over 90% of candidates applying online are already in employment and according to significant research performed by Indeed, involving more than 250,000 candidates, over 70% said that they were assessing the company that they had just applied to by their experience of the companies recruiting and interview process.

In the care sector, if you take more than 48 hours to respond to a new application, there is a 25% chance that they are no longer available.

If you take more than one week to respond to an application even if it is to arrange an interview, then there is a 50% chance that the candidate is no longer interested.

This can get worse, especially for harder to fill roles and in many cases we discovered that typically a nurse who has just uploaded their CV into a job board, in order to apply for a job will have received more than 5 job related telephone calls within the first 48 hours.


4.Your Recruitment Strategy is all about you

Over 90% of people performing job related searches are currently in work. (yes I know I already said that but it needs repeating again). Passive applicants need nurturing and romancing to win them over, whether that is in your job advert or in the way that you engage with them during the recruitment process. If your adverts or selection process is all about screening out unsuitable applicants, then you will not attract the best candidates for your job or even if you do, they will potentially drop out during the selection process.


5.You are not performing your due diligence

There are two equally important factors that you need to assess candidates against:

The tools and processes for making these assessments need to be chosen carefully and must be deployed in the right way. By not performing due diligence you will undoubtedly run the risk of recruiting people that under-perform, become disengaged and ultimately leave. By delivering these tasks inappropriately you will put off some of the best candidates who will subsequently drop out of the process. High levels of attrition in the first year of employment within the care sector can often be put down to poor cultural and behavioural alignment and a bums on seat recruitment strategy.


6.The best applicants are not buying into you or your organisation

According to the CIPD, over 90% of business owners agreed that recruiting the very best people they could each time that they have a vacancy, was probably the most influential aspect to future commercial growth. So why do we not approach the recruitment of staff appropriately?

Do you and the organisation build a relationship with the best applicants? Were the best applicants invited in to tour the facility and meet other people as part of your onboarding process?

Are you genuinely in touch with what the most important aspects are for candidates deciding on what new job to take in your sector?

It is a massive decision for most people to quit their current job and so do not expect candidates to accept an offer just because you made it to them.


7.Your Recruitment process is counter-productive

If you are re-directing applications from your job adverts to a career page or to an application form, then you will be losing over 50% of the candidates that hit the apply button.

If you can get candidates to hit the apply button, then you have done the hardest bit, so why redirect them to a pre-screening questionnaire? If you are doing this, then statistically you are losing between 70 and 85% of candidates that wanted to apply to your vacancy.

It gets worse… Research proves that the most passive (and probably the best) applicants are the most likely to drop out.

I also want to add in to the mix, that multiple stage interview processes can also lose great applicants. Unless the level or the complexity of the role determines it (and that usually means the salary will reflect this too) then more than one face to face interview places the best applicants at risk. (I should note that on some occasions I would support a second interview presentation and a meet the team type exercise). However, for most roles getting the candidate to keep coming back is quite frankly unnecessary and reflects badly on the companies organisational ability.


8.There is a disconnect between the recruiting team and the business

Most Coalface recruiters will admit that getting the job filled quickly and efficiently is their top priority.

But how can a business deploy an effective process for always recruiting the best talent, when the people on the coalface are prioritising just getting the job filled?

Until the business starts to influence and reward the behaviours that change this mentality they will never achieve their objective.


About the Author

Smart recruit Online CEO Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has over 20 years of business management experience, across Sales, Marketing, Recruitment and Technology environments. In 2013 Mark won the Chambers of Commerce award for innovation in business. He is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of several companies including F10,  Smart Recruit Online and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library.

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

Mark also delivers keynote talks and training to recruitment teams in both public and private sector organisations, on writing better advertising copy, targeting passive candidates and understanding candidate behaviours online.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn. 


Offering support for both recruiters and on-site HR workforces, Smart Recruit Online helps businesses find and hire the best talent more efficiently. To see how SRO can improve your talent acquisition, campaign management, and candidate screening workflows, book a demo today. 

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Mark Stephens

Mark has worked in, and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years, focussing on the unique blend of recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science in order to optimise performance and recruitment outcomes. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce - Innovation in Business award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell). Smart Recruit Online has been the winner of several national and international awards for recruitment innovation.

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