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Top 10 Tips to Recruit a Registered Manager for your Care Service

  1. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #1 - Understand that recruiting a registered manager is a 2-way process.

    Many employers think they’re doing someone a favour by offering them a job. This might be true if you’re offering a job to someone who doesn’t have the skills, experience, qualifications, personality or motivational fit you’re looking for - but it’s an attitude that will likely destroy your chances of hiring the best people. Pretty much everything you do during your hiring exercise will determine the calibre of manager you’re able to hire at the end of it. Do you think publishing a job description and person specification is the way to attract the best people to come and work for you, or do you understand how important it is to SELL your opportunity in a way that makes the very best candidates sit up and take notice? Do you think interviewees should be prepared to jump through all of your hoops from the get go, or do you understand that jumping through a few hoops yourself at first, might well put you in a position to hire a better quality manager in the end? Do you think that changing someone’s interview arrangements at the last minute won’t have any impact on your ability to hire them, or do you understand that the better the candidate, the more likely it is that they will view that kind of behaviour in a negative light? Right at the start of your hiring exercise, try to consider everything you’re planning to do from the perspective of a high quality manager and ask yourself whether it’s a) necessary and b) likely to have a positive or negative impact on the outcomes you’re seeking. 
  2. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #2 - Work out what the job really looks like.

    What are your specific goals and business objectives? What will your new manager be expected to do, in order to help you achieve these objectives? Is it a relatively easy 9-5 role, or a ‘blood, sweat and tears’ turnaround situation that will require a huge level of personal commitment on the part of the new manager? The answers to questions like these will help you answer the next key question (what kind of person you’re actually looking for) and also help you prepare an accurate and impactful presentation of the opportunity to appeal to the right kind of potential candidates. 
  3. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #3 - Work out what you’re really looking for.

    What skills, experience, knowledge, qualifications and other attributes (such as cultural values), will your new manager need to possess, in order to achieve what you want them to achieve and help you get your business to where you want it to be? Knowing what the job really looks like (see Hiring Tip #2), as well as having a good understanding of your company’s cultural values, will help you formulate an accurate person specification. This, in turn, will help you prepare an accurate and impactful presentation of the opportunity to appeal to the right kind of potential candidates and create a fit-for-purpose assessment process to help you separate the ‘haves’ from the ‘have-nots’.
  4. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #4 - Create a valid assessment process.

    Your person specification should form the foundation of your interview/assessment process - once you know what you’re really looking for (see Hiring Tip #3), creating a process that enables you to select the most suitable person for the job becomes an infinitely easier task (although still one you’d be well-advised to seek some professional assistance with). In an ideal world, your assessment process should consist of 3 key stages. The first should be a relatively informal meeting, where you get a chance to get to know the interviewee on a personal level, help them get to know you and your organisation (including its cultural values), show them around the place of work, introduce them to other people they might be working with and ‘re-sell’ the opportunity to them in order to get them even more interested in the role. The second meeting should be a more formal assessment, where you use a series of questions and/or tests to help you establish whether the interviewee possesses the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to perform the role effectively. The third stage should be an ‘offer meeting’ - offers delivered face-to-face result in significantly higher offer to acceptance ratios than those delivered by phone, email or letter.
  5. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #5 - Prepare some effective marketing collateral.

    Once you’ve worked out what the job really looks like (see Hiring Tip #2), what kind of person you’re really looking for (see Hiring Tip #3) and what your assessment process is going to look like (see Hiring Tip #4) you should prepare some marketing collateral to put in front of potential applicants, in order to generate maximum interest in your opportunity. This collateral needs to focus not just on the job and person specifications but also (very heavily) on what you’re prepared to offer someone in exchange for bringing their ability and commitment to your organisation. I’m talking not just about money (in our recent registered manager salary survey, salary was the SIXTH most important factor for care managers), but about other things like training, development and career opportunity). In an ideal world, you need 2 things - a short, sharp, impactful document that can be used as an ‘advertisement’ and also a more comprehensive document (a prospectus, if you like), that can be sent out to candidates once they’ve either applied for the job, or requested further information.
  6. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #6 - Market your job opportunity effectively.

    Once you’ve prepared your marketing collateral, you need to find a way of getting it in front of as many prospective candidates as you can - the more interest you can generate in your role, the more choice you’ll have and the greater the chance that you’ll manage to hire someone who is right for the job. This is one of the critical areas where a good recruitment agency can provide invaluable assistance. A free advert on Indeed might be seen by 20 or 30 people, most of whom will likely be unsuitable for a whole host of reasons... and at the end of the process, you might well find yourself staring down the barrel of Hobson’s choice. Prospect Health has a database of over 20,000 candidates, which is almost guaranteed to provide you with a better choice of high quality candidates at the end of the recruitment process, than an advert on Indeed.

  7. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #7 - Communicate with applicants quickly and effectively.

    If an application is unsuitable, reject it quickly and politely - this will save you wasting time fielding follow-up enquiries from unsuitable people. If an application looks good, acknowledge it at the very earliest opportunity (ideally within a matter of hours) - this will show higher-quality applicants that you’re professional and well-organised, which will stand you in good stead moving forward. Explain the assessment process and timescales to people straight away, so they know exactly what’s happening. Move quickly - the best candidates are often snapped up before some employers have even got around to acknowledging an application. Offer a high degree of flexibility when it comes to arranging first stage interviews (at the very start of the process, the best candidates might not be quite ready to jump through all the hoops you want them to). Keep in mind that some candidates might be looking at other jobs too, so be prepared to accelerate your timescales if you believe a stand-out candidate might not still be available by the end of your planned process.
  8. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #8 - Stick to your planned assessment process.

    By all means, move more quickly than you originally intended to, especially if you receive an application from someone who is obviously a hot contender for the role but is already coming towards the end of a hiring process with a competitor - but if you’re planning a 3-stage process, don’t panic and offer someone a job at the end of the first-stage informal meeting, out of fear that you might lose them. We’ve helped some clients to organise a first-stage informal meeting, a second formal interview and an offer meeting, all within the space of 36 hours - if someone is seriously interested in your job (which they should be if you followed all the previous Hiring Tips), they’ll hang on for 36 hours! Above all else, be well organised and do what you say you’re going to do - most employees believe that an employer shows their very best side during the hiring process, so if you show yourself to be anything less than professional, reliable and well-organised at this critical time, don’t be surprised if there aren’t any high quality candidates left in the process at the end.
  9. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #9 - Don’t overlook the vital importance of correct Motivational Fit.

    Motivational Fit is the degree of alignment between what a person expects or wants from a job, and what the job can actually offer. It is a primary component in determining how hard a person will work, how determined they will be to succeed and whether they will remain on the job beyond the short-term. Assessing motivational fit should be a key part of your assessment process (one that permeates every single stage of it), so by the time you’ve concluded your interviews, you should have a good understanding of each applicant’s relative cultural fit, skills, experience, knowledge and motivational fit. At this stage you need to keep in mind that whilst good motivational fit will never make up for incompetence, you’ll often find that the best possible candidate for a role is someone for whom your role represents a ‘step up’ or a new challenge, rather than the person who has all the skills, all the experience and has already achieved all of the things you’re looking for someone to achieve. 
  10. Registered Manager Hiring Tip #10 - Get the value of the offer right first time!

    Having been a recruiter for 26 years, I’ve seen a fair few employers needlessly blow up their hiring exercises by getting the value of their job offers horribly wrong. I’ve even seen a few owners lose their businesses within 12-24 months because they’ve refused to abandon an historical policy of paying ‘as little as we can get away with”, which has caused them to lose out on a high calibre candidate who was capable of helping them turn around an underperforming service, in favour of a lower quality candidate who cost less but wasn’t equipped with the right skills and experience. Considering the amount of time and effort most employers put into each hiring exercise, there really is no excuse for not considering the value of the job offer very carefully and getting it right at the first time of asking. This really is vitally important, as few things are as off-putting to a high calibre manager as a job offer that under-values their potential worth to the business, or ignores either their current salary or salary expectations. As long as you’re confident that the person you’re offering a job to is the right person for the job, the key question to ask yourself is how your business will benefit financially if they can help you achieve your business objectives (see Hiring Tip #2) and what the cost might be to your business of hiring the next-best/cheaper alternative. It’s important to find out, during the hiring process (usually at the first informal meeting), what the candidate’s current salary is, whether they have an imminent salary review, whether they’re looking at any other opportunities and what their salary expectations are likely to be. This information, coupled with the answer to the key question outlined above, should put you in a good position to get it right - but also keep in mind that receiving good advice from a skilled recruitment consultant will often make the difference between landing your dream manager, or not!

If you want to talk to us about recruiting a Registered Manager for your Care Service please email us at care.info@prospect-health.com or call us on 01423 813455


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