Pippa Gardiner, Head of Clinical for Equal Approach, chats to us about the job of the nursing recruiter. She also offers tips on how to 'approach' job seeking... About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

As an ice-breaker, can you tell us how you ‘got into’ healthcare recruitment?

Believe it or not I fell in to recruitment in the early 80’s, after working in London for 7 years doing Beauty Therapy. I went into a local agency to register my details having no office experience whatsoever. Two weeks later they had invited me in for an interview to work for them.... and guess what, I got the job! 20 years later I am still in the industry and love everything about my career.

Keeping things nice and positive, what is it that you love most about recruitment?

Recruitment has everything to offer a consultant, total job satisfaction when you secure a new client or place a nursing candidate in their ideal role. It is all about offering a quality of service by listening to client’s/candidate’s needs and understanding the business market. No day is the same, it offers challenges and rewards and keeps you on your toes.

Maybe less positive, what are the chief frustrations for the medical or nurse recruiter?

The biggest frustrations for a clinical recruiter, is not being able to find the right skill level for some of the more specialist roles. But the rewards are greater when you eventually do.

What 3 things would you ask all nursing job seekers to do to increase their chances of finding a job, and to make your life easier?

1. To be able to compile a comprehensive CV, outlining their work history to date

2. To ask themselves whether they are seriously looking for a new nurse job

3. To take their details off the nursing job boards when they are no longer looking for a new position [good point, say!]

What are the first 5 things you need to see in a CV?

1. Personal details including contact information

2. Profile

3. Current job role, including responsibilities for the role, followed by work history

4. Qualifications

5. Training

These aren’t necessarily the first five things, but certainly key when viewing a CV for the first time.

In your view, are ‘Personal Interests’ sections in CVs worthwhile?

I don’t think people tend to look at these so much anymore, so they wouldn’t be missed if they weren’t on a CV.

Stepping back from the detail, do you think the UK faces any key shortages in nursing skills?

Yes there will always be some shortages in certain specialist nursing areas and we may have to consider looking outside of the UK for nurses to make up for these shortfalls long term.

Equal Approach has some very senior healthcare vacancies. For instance, an ‘Operations Director within Social Care’. We’d expect these senior level vacancies present you with considerably tougher challenges. Is this the case and how do you tackle these roles?

Our organization is used to recruiting at a higher level and would head hunt on behalf of our clients to achieve positive/maximum outcomes. We would also look at more specialist advertising, whether it be a healthcare job board, journals or newspapers.

What, if any, regional variations are there? By that, would you say that it’s harder to recruit a nurse in Surrey over a nurse in the North West of England?

London has its challenges, especially as a number of our nursing jobs are community based, and a lot of Nurses in London either don’t drive or don’t have their own transport.

Lastly, when it’s all going wonderfully in recruitment, there’s no better job to be in.... But on those terrible days, when your third candidate has pulled out for a MUST FILL VACANCY and other potentials won’t answer their phones or reply to emails, what alternative job does a senior recruiter dream about....?!

Being a lady of leisure with a husband who is stinking rich- you can always dream!!!

Thanks very much to Pippa Gardiner of Equal Approach. Please view their jobs