The First 15. Why Speed Counts When You’re Recruiting Carers.
Recruiting carers is competitive.
Which means by definition, you’re in a competition when you’re seeking to recruit good carers.
Your competitors are already good and they’re getting better.
And you need to know how important speed of response is in winning the race.
Where’s Jane Gone?
Let’s imagine that a potential carer, let’s call her Jane, lives in your area and is considering finding a new job as a carer.
Jane takes a look on Indeed to see what’s available in your local area. She sees that there are a number of job adverts, and many of them say similar things. They all claim that the care provided is excellent and the conditions are good. Jane decides to apply for one of the jobs. She uploads a CV, clicks send and then . . .
. . . Jane is prompted to view other jobs that may be suitable. Now Jane has uploaded her CV, it only takes a click or two to apply for each job. Why not apply for a number of jobs? There is obviously more chance of getting one of the jobs, and there may even be a choice. And so this is precisely what Jane does. Finding just how easy it is, Jane then tries Reed, Total Jobs, CV Library and finds it’s just as easy to apply there – and it’s actually quite fun reading about the potential opportunities available.
One of the jobs that Jane applies for is your job. You receive the application at 8:30pm on a Wednesday evening and see it on your iPhone. You make a mental note to deal with it the next day. The following day, after sorting out some other pressing issues that have arisen, your “recruitment system” kicks into effect and you send Jane an email with an application attached and a nice message indicating that you would be interested to consider Jane for your care role, and look forward to receiving the application form back completed. You’ve got your response out “quickly” – well within 24 hours. That should be enough, right?
You don’t hear anything back from Jane. A couple of days later, someone from your office tries to call Jane. It’s 2pm and Jane does not answer. A voicemail is left leaving your contact details, reminding Jane that you’ve sent out an application from and inviting her to send it back. No reply is received.
You try once more and still don’t hear back. You take the view that if Jane really wanted your job, she would have made the effort to get back in touch sooner and you only want committed carers committed to your company and your cause, so there is no point contacting her again.
Jane has gone . . .
. . . but where did Jane go, and why?
Premier Speed Wins The Race
Just after applying for your job, Jane applied for another similar job.
Jane receives an email. It’s an automated email, but nicely branded and well written. It sounds friendly and lets Jane know that her application is important and that it will be looked at as soon as possible. Jane notes the name of the care provider.
While Jane is still searching for more jobs, her mobile phone rings. Jane decides to answer. (If Jane had not answered, she would have received a text message saying, “Hey, we know it’s late but you just applied for a job as a carer and we really want to talk to you about our great opportunity. We’ll try again in the morning if it’s more convenient. You can call back at any time on 0800 999 3992. We look forward to catching up with you for a chat.”)
Since Jane does answer the phone, here is the conversation that takes place:
– “Hey, it’s Jenny here calling from Home Care Careers. I saw you just applied for a job as a carer.”
– “That was fast, I only just applied. I’m still looking at jobs in fact”
– “Sure, we take recruiting good carers really seriously, and when we see someone who’s a potentially good carer like you, we try and get in touch as soon as possible. So what is it that interests you in working as a carer?”
– [a chat ensues during which time the benefits of working for the care provider are emphasised, key messages about the quality of care are delivered, availability and working hours are discussed, it is identified that Jane is a driver with her own transport, and Jane has a real vocation for caring]
– “OK, so from our chat it sounds like you would be a real asset to our team of carers. The next step would be a face to face meeting to discuss the job a bit more and to check that we can match our hours to what you’re looking for. How about meeting up for a coffee at Starbucks to discuss it further, and we can then let you know about our training and how we help you get started.”
– “Oh, and one more thing – I guess you may get offers to work at other care companies, and obviously I understand you are going to give consideration to those. From talking with you though, I think you’d really fit in with our team, so if you do hear from someone else before we meet, please could you do me a favour and give me a call back before you make any decisions? Here’s my direct number . . . . . I look forward to meeting up with you.
Jane receives a text message: “It was great talking to you yesterday. Thank you for your time on the phone. I look forward to meeting with you on Friday at 11am to discuss the carer position further with you.”
Jane receives an email: “Hi, this is John from Home Care Careers. I understand that you were talking to Jenny about our carer role. Jenny asked me to send over some information about the care we provide and also how we support our carers. We really want to provide the best care possible, and we know that we need good carers to achieve that. We thought it might be helpful for you to have this information before we meet.”
Jane receives your email. She opens the attachment and looks at your application form. Jane is busy and decides to wait until after her meeting on Friday to decide whether to complete and return your application form. After all, the other care provider seemed to really want her there, and seemed very friendly when they spoke.
Jane didn’t lack commitment. You just lost the race.
The First 15 Minutes
If you can contact a candidate in the first 15 minutes after they apply:
– they are likely to be still thinking about the application
– you may well be the first care provider they speak to
– you are demonstrating that their application is important to you
– an opportunity is provided for you to sell your care company before anyone else sells theirs
– a commitment to a meeting can be arranged
– you can pre-empt approaches by other care providers
– the candidate may stop applying for further jobs that they would otherwise have continued to apply for
Being the first to talk is powerful. If you arrange a face to face meeting, a candidate very often views this as a firm commitment, and may dismiss other offers until they have met with you.
“That’s Not Practical”
So you’re busy, you have a life outside of your care work (maybe!), lots of competing issues for your time, and you frankly don’t have the resources to contact each candidate back quickly. It’s just not possible for you to do that. You’re not going to be talking to every candidate that applies for your job in 15 minutes, and that’s that.
What’s the answer?
Seriously. Give up. If you can’t contact candidates back in person, and quickly, then you need to know that other care providers can respond quickly and they are.
I know that sounds blunt. It’s also the hard truth.
At the moment, the number of “Premier League” care recruiters is still small enough that you can gain a real advantage by responding quickly by telephone. But the number of your competitors wising up to the importance of a fast, friendly response is growing.
Remember, this is a competition like any other. What are the options for a swimmer or a runner who is slower than his competitors? They’re fairly limited, right? If they want to win, they either shape up or they give up.
Change is never easy. However, in this instance it is vitally important. Recruiting carers is only set to become more competitive and more difficult. now is the time to take decisive action.
If you really don’t have the resources to contact candidates in the first 15 minutes, then fortunately there is another option – outsource. Outsourcing to a company that understands care recruitment and has the resources to contact candidates quickly may be the solution.
Give It A Try
For one month, try contacting every applicant by telephone within 15 minutes, following up with appropriate texts and emails and see the difference for yourselves.
I guarantee that you will see an improvement in conversion rates from applications to active carers.
The First 15 really are important!