In this excellent interview Geneva Health give their views on the shortage of skills in nursing, CV writing and interviews, plus tips for newly qualified nurses looking for their first job About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

Geneva Health offers nursing jobs in hospitals and care homes. Do you guys find one harder to recruit for than the other? If so, where are the real shortages right now, and why do you think this is?

There are shortages across the board. However nursing home jobs are particularly hard to recruit for as there are fewer nurses looking to work in this area of care. This is largely (it seems) due to the perception that older persons care is less challenging to work in. However, nurses may benefit from re-examining their pre-conceptions. Many homes now are offering complex care, including palliative care jobs, and adding additional areas of care such as acquired brain injury. Dementia care is radically altering amongst the more progressive care providers and many of the homes are stunning places in which to work. Where the NHS has a distinct advantage, in terms of career paths and packages, is in the benefits and training it offers nurses. Many of the care home providers simply do not offer enough.

When it comes to care home manager jobs the NVQ Level 4 RMA is becoming an increasingly common requirement. Is this true for yourselves and your clients? Is it a highly valued qualification or just a piece of paper that’s handy to have?

It is definitely not just a handy piece of paper. It is a requirement of CQC that Managers have a recognised management qualification and many clients will not employ a prospective manager without it. In a sector which values continuous professional development it would be foolish of managers to not complete this qualification.

Geneva offers a mix of temporary and permanent nursing and care jobs. What are the challenges facing the healthcare recruiter for each? 

The global shortage of health care professionals is the biggest challenge, across permanent and temporary recruitment. 

We know that you love ALL nursing jobseekers. But everyone has an off day. To help recruiters have fewer off days what would you ask jobseekers to do (or not do) to help the long-suffering recruiter?

To stay in contact and keep us updated if their situation or requirements change and to ensure necessary documents are submitted as requested to prevent delays in their start date.

We’re sure we’ve given plenty of CV writing tips on in the past. But which top 5 tips would you give a nursing jobseeker before they embark on their CV - what do you like to see?

We have strict compliance that we need to adhere to, due to the various NHS supply frameworks we are part of. This results in us needing CVs to have:

1. Accurate dates of employment listed with the most recent position first and descending from this 

2. Explanations of all gaps in CV

3. Position title clearly written for each post held

4. List of key responsibilities under each position held

5. At least the last 10 yrs of employment history on your CV, even if not all the work history is relating the position applied for.

Should the jobseeking nurse expect a face to face interview with every agency they sign up with, or is that a nice ideal but not always practical in today’s frenetic pace of recruitment?

A face to face interview for temporary workers should always be expected. For permanent roles, this may not always be practical due to locality but it is beneficial for the recruiter to develop a better understanding of the jobseeker’s requirements and the jobseeker to understand the benefits of working with Geneva Health. 

Many of your nursing jobs are London based. But you do recruit elsewhere in the UK. Geographically, where would you love to find more nurses?

West Midlands and Northwest! [well, that’s clear! - editor]

We’re interested in what makes a recruitment consultant. Could you name 5 of the most important characteristics a nursing recruiter should have? We’re thinking that ‘thick skin’ might be one of them...?

Easy: Excellent customer service skills and in depth health sector knowledge.

Finally, when we attend university nursing career fairs the most common complaint is that they need experience to get a job. It’s the perennial catch-22. Do you have many jobs for the newly qualified nurse? What tips would you give those about to qualify with a nursing degree to help them get a start in their career? 

We do place some new graduates; mostly with our Older Persons and learning disability care clients. However it is true that not all employers have the resources to offer newly qualified nurses as much support and guidance as they need. Nurses can help themselves by doing care assistant work, or clinical placements whilst studying so they have some relevant experience, and also once qualified should be open as to the area of care they are prepared to work in, and in some cases be prepared to relocate.

Thank you to Bronwyn and others at Geneva for putting in the time to answer these questions. Do browse Geneva’s nursing jobs