The Health & Care Industry's Big Recruitment Wake-Up Call

By Mike Molloy

There is a sector of closely associated industries that struggle constantly with the recruitment of suitable staff and sometimes even more to retain them. The Medical, Health and Care sectors have for some time been heavily dependent on agencies and overseas workers and suffer from much higher than average attrition levels especially within the first year of employment.

Nurses and Care workers are in huge demand but suffer traditionally from relatively low pay (especially within the public sector) and therefore retention of staff can be difficult. A high staff turnover is in no one’s interest, least of all those patients being cared for.

Recruitment and job advertising within this marketplace is extremely competitive and many companies and people find it very difficult to operate within it for this reason.

Job adverts typically receive relatively low numbers of suitable applicants and we have established that higher than average attrition levels, especially within entry level roles, are caused mostly due to recruiting the wrong type of people. With best intentions to ensure that a business or department is sufficiently staffed, behavioural and cultural alignment are often overlooked just to get vacancies filled.

In our efforts to help and work with various companies within these sectors we have consistently identified the same set of issues, that can be rectified relatively quickly:

  • Poor quality advertising copy
  • A lack of budgets for online media advertising
  • Advertising in the wrong channels
  • Slow response times to applicants
  • Poor quality applicant experience
  • Lack of appreciation for the high levels of competition for the best applicants
  • No cultural or behavioural assessments taking place
  • Staff retention issues in the first year of employment
  • Poor induction and training process
  • A lack of training
  • Undervalued staff and low moral

The Health & Care Industry's Big Recruitment Wake-Up Call

We have identified many problems that exist in recruitment for the health and care industry, but this article aims to focus on just a  few areas relating to Talent attraction strategy and job advert writing.

Writing recruitment ads that grab the candidates attention and sell the opportunity to work within an organisation that genuinely cares for its clients, improves the clients standard of living and aids wellbeing is key. If you are unable to compete on the basis of salary, then selling the opportunity to help patients with particular needs can be far more of a motivating factor. Job satisfaction in this sector often comes down to the employee knowing that they are helping particularly needy patients, within an organisation that sets high standards of patient and customer care.

Applicants for any job advert whether an online advert or the more traditional advert need to know that they are going to become part of a great team that will not only value them but will nurture them as well. If you are a caring organisation you need to tell your prospect exactly that, tell them in the job advert that they will be supported and valued and you will be amazed how many applicants will tell you that this was a major factor for them applying to your role.

Finding ways to get this across in your job advertising copy is key. A good corporate video can be an excellent way of humanising your opportunity and attracting and converting higher numbers of applicants. Most of the major job boards do not offer the ability to include a corporate video, but that should not stop you from including one on your website career page and then sending an automated email response, acknowledging receipt of an application that can also contain a link to a video or a page that contains your corporate video.

Thanking the applicant for applying (ideally using an automated email response) and including additional information that helps to sell the proposition of working for you is key to retaining the applicants interest in you after they have applied. You need to assume that they have applied for several roles and are being courted by several recruiters.

There are several key areas that the care sectors need to focus on in order to improve results:

  • Improving job advert quality
  • Increasing advertising reach
  • Improve quality of communications to applicants
  • Improve turnaround speed
  • Improve the on boarding process

There is lots of expert advice on writing better advertising copy and the talent attraction piece.

Here are some excellent free resources that you should check out:


If you operate within the Medical, Health or Care sectors and would like to discuss practical ways to improve your online recruitment strategy, then I recommend that you contact Mark Stephens or one of his team at Smart Recruit Online. They are leading the way in helping businesses find rapid, cost effective actions to making significant improvements in key areas within this sector.

Having seen some of the results that they are generating within the Healthcare sectors to increase applicant quantity and quality as well as reducing the cost of hiring staff, then I would suggest that this would be a great place to start.

About the author

Mike Molloy is an experienced freelance professional author and copywriter. He regularly writes blog content on a variety of recruitment related topics for Smart Recruit Online and The HR & Recruitment Library