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Provider CEOs share aged care recruitment tips


From left: Chris Grover, Michael Bleasdale and Michael Darragh

Listening to your gut, getting to know candidates and taking your time are important aspects of the aged care recruitment process, provider chiefs tell an industry conference.

Identifying suitable candidates is partly related to experience in being able to pick out the right person, but it also relates to your gut feeling, said Chris Grover, CEO of New South Wales aged care provider Scalabrini. 

“Allow your gut feel to play a role, because sometimes your gut feel is well and truly on mark… I am a fan of allowing my gut to speak when I’m going through that process,” Mr Grover told the Future of Aged Care Summit in Sydney on Wednesday. 

It is also useful to identify people you think you can work with, rather than just focusing on what the resume looks like, he said. 

I will always employ people I can work with rather than people who look on paper like they’ve done the job well in the past,” Mr Grover said.

“If you can’t work with them, you’ll never be able to change that. But you can train people you can work with,” Mr Grover said.

Scalabrini runs recruitment workshops with activties for people interested in a role so they can get to know candidates.

“It’s only those people who are shining above others in that environment that we then take forward for formal interview and assessment,” he said.

Getting to know the individual is an important paradigm, Mr Grover said.

Don’t rush the process

Fellow panelist Michael Darragh, CEO of Sawtell Catholic Care of the Aged, said he too followed the gut approach.

He also undertakes thorough background and reference checks on candidates.

“I’m a big believer in ‘past performance is a good indication of the person you’re getting’,” Mr Darragh said.

It is also important not to rush the recruitment process, he said. 

“Once you get to a point where you crystalise your best candidates, it’s then about not being afraid to say… ‘let’s take some time’ because it’s important. We’ll bring the best couple candidates back for a show and tell [and] give them an exercise,” Mr Darragh said.

“You don’t have to rush into it and do it all in one shot.”

He advised providers to cary their approach to recruitment.

“Take things on a different angle sometimes because the reality is, we all know if we get the wrong person in your organisation, it can be like a cancer that spreads and it can impact your culture.

“Every person you add, adds to the positive culture of the organisation and strength of the team. You don’t want to be two steps forward and one step back,” Mr Darragh said.

Listening to consumers

Elsewhere, panelist Michael Bleasdale, CEO of the ACT Disability Aged Carer Advocacy Service, said listening to the opinions of consumers was also an important aspect of recruitment.

“The consumer’s perspective always has to be in that interaction,” Mr Bleasdale told the conference.

It’s important for providers to work alongside consumers to gather feedback about how to improve services, he said.

The 4th Future of Aged Care Summit took place at Novotel Sydney Central 25-26 September.

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6 Responses to Provider CEOs share aged care recruitment tips

  1. Robyn Carter September 27, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

    This does not happen – CEOs are financial driven not people focused

  2. Domini Stuart September 28, 2019 at 8:48 am #

    No women on the panel? Did anyone mention a diverse shortlist?

  3. Country carer September 30, 2019 at 9:33 am #

    Any tips for regional areas where the pool of available people is almost non existent?

  4. Caroline September 30, 2019 at 6:37 pm #

    The recruitment process in most aged care orgs is flawed. The only time I’ve ever been recognised for my study (undergrad & postgrad) is by a disability provider. Reference checks? Background? Really! How would one know what the potential candidate’s background is unless one understands the context of the potential candidate’s entry into the care sector. Past performance an indicator? In that case I’d fail as the provider that most disadvantaged me was unethical, and I certainly am not. Pffttt! the process as described does not work.
    A process that could work is engage with the person not just at recruitment but through that entire life cycle at that organisation. Encourage people to gain skills, education, and support. Validate direct care staff’s challenges and support, don’t shift blame. Our direct staff are largely women in caring roles at home. They are already disadvantaged by gender and roles and pay. Value comes from asking people what they aspire to and support them in their journey.

  5. Caroline September 30, 2019 at 6:40 pm #

    P.S. Does anyone ask ‘hires’ about how they experienced the recruitment process irrespective of whether they got the job or not? Policy is one thing. Experiencing it is another.

  6. Eve October 20, 2019 at 8:47 pm #

    Having been on both ends of this process I largely find it flawed. I worked for an organisation that has a male in charge of recruitment. He came from a background of telesales and had absolutely no knowledge of what is required. Somehow he was promoted to be in charge of the recruiting process. What a joke. He allows staff who have zero experience, questionable ethics, poor work history, very limited availability and he himself has no experience in industry. He then gets to ‘supervise’ these staff and ends up asking them questions about how things are done or provides complete misinformation.

    I have also witnessed CEO’s and Care Managers who don’t really care about the real needs of staff or value the opinions of the clients who provide feedback.

    As for undertaking ‘thorough background and reference checks on candidates’ this should be done sooner rather than later. Having gone through several screening processes and getting a final yes, some hires have been given dreadful reviews by referees or have unsuitable Police Checks. Better to save the time and effort and have this completed early.

    I am also aware of some organisations who are having hires undergo physical checks by physiotherapists. It reduces of employing staff who go on to seek claims for injury.

    Potential staff if identified from the ‘gut feeling’ should agree and be supported to complete a minimum Certificate III in Individual Support.

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