View All Articles
  • 28 April 2010
  • 5 min read

Lisa Pottage of Grace James Recruitment offers job hunting tips

Subscribe To Advice

If you’re looking for a job working in a care home you’ll want to thank Lisa of Grace James Recruitment for her advice and tips, including ‘the dream CV’ and how NOT to go about your jobseeking!

Before we get started, a little plug. We'd like to thank Lisa for her time so please do browse her nursing and care jobs at Grace James Recruitment.

To kick off, what are the typical roles you recruit for?

I recruit for Care Home Managers both nursing and residential, care home deputies and clinical managers and Care Home RGNs and Care Home RMNs in the care industry. Occasionally I recruit administrators and care assistants as well.

Find healthcare jobs

1000s of jobs for nurses, AHPs, clinicians, care assistants, managers and more. Jobs in care homes, hospitals, and the community

Find jobs

How do you imagine social care and nursing recruitment differs to other industries, say engineering or sales – easier, harder, more interesting, more rules?

It reminds me a lot of when I was doing legal recruitment in that it’s a very candidate-led market and the candidates can, to a certain extent, drive the market in terms of pay and conditions.

But it has all the same ups and downs! It’s also almost recession-proof which can’t be said for all sectors of course.

What are the biggest challenges facing a care industry recruiter?

Simple: Getting quality staff from care assistant level up to care home managers. There are not enough quality candidates for every client.

Get Hired

Upload or create your CV on Our CV building tool is designed specifically for UK healthcare. Use it to apply for jobs and get hired.

Get Hired

You kind of answered this above, but.... Would you say it’s a jobseeker’s market at the moment?

Very much so if you are a high caliber nursing candidate.

OK – time to give it to us Lisa .... It’s Friday afternoon, you MUST fill that care job and you have 20 CVs to read in the hope one will stand out... What really irritates you most about some of these nursing CVs?

Long CVs with too much info! Which may sound odd as we do need information but it’s the layout. Please use bullet points rather than long paragraphs! And I don’t need to know which primary school you went to!

Subscribe and get even more - for free

Access peer-to-peer career insights, our self-help coaching guide, plus expert videos on wellbeing, self-care and mental health.


The dream CV – is there such a thing? If so, how is your dream CV laid out and what content does it give?

A summary of who you are and what you want

Bullet points again especially around achievements in your role both current and past

Bullet points again around training and qualification - put every course/qualification down, because it matters to clients

And please use spell check.

What are the five biggest frustrations for the nurse recruiter?

People who shoot a CV off when they are just having a bad day and don’t really want to move roles.

People who tell you they will relocate and then take a job next door!

People who get obsessed with salary and forget the bigger picture.

Similarly clients how want to pay a very out of date salary and expect the worlds best candidate.

Candidates who pull out at the last minute and don’t have the decency to contact you - you know who you are and remember it’s a small world!

Great reply, thanks. We like it when it’s told how it is! OK, what tips can you offer the nursing candidate to help them prepare for an interview?

- please take all info with you that supports your application - certificates , awards etc

- prepare by reading company site and its CQC report

if there is a job description read it and be sure the role is for you before you go

- it may sound obvious but relax and enjoy it – if you are a good candidate you are in demand

- know your worth but look at the whole picture the client is offering you

Is there anything candidates should be doing generally to increase their chances of finding employment?

Yes, keep your training up-to-date and keep abreast of changes in the industry.

What are the hardest roles to fill at the moment (nursing job type and location)?

I think rural areas are probably harder to recruit in due to location and smaller working population. Thats for all levels.

So, Lisa, how did you get into nursing recruitment....?

By accident, like most people. After a law degree I did legal, HR, and commercial recruitment. I was promoted from consultant up to regional manager and then wanted to work for myself as I got sick of making lots of money for other people and was concerned the personal touch and quality that clients wanted wasn’t there anymore.

In your 10 years or so doing this, how has the industry changed (for the better or for the worse)?

It’s very competitive. It’s always been, but is more so now. Also, when I started it was network based recruitment with branches on every high street. The internet has changed everything including the fact it’s a 24/7 recruitment world now.

Finally, two questions about specific roles: Firstly, what skills do you look for in a Palliative Nurse (we’re thinking that it’s as much about the person as the training and experience they have)?

Yes, of course training and experience, but in my experience a good palliative nurse has a real inner calm and ability to absorb the emotion around him/her. It’s a very tough role doing end of life care and he/she will have a real commitment to dignity for the patient and empathy for the patient and family concerned.

Secondly, and lastly, do you want or expect all nursing home managers to have an RMA / NVQ 4?

I think it shows commitment to the role and a candidate’s career in care home management to have at least embarked on it. It’s also good for the industry to have professional awards like this to ensure standards.

My advice to care home managers looking for their next job is this: it isn’t the be all and end all if there is some excellent experience but an RMA does help if there are 2 or 3 favourites in the running.

About the author

I believe people working in healthcare should be able to choose to enjoy work. That is, choose an employer who reflects their values and provides them with a sustainable career. This leads to better patient care, higher retention rates and happier working lives in this most important employment sector.

Want to get involved in the discussion
Sign In Join

Get Hired

Use your stored CV to apply for jobs and get hired.

Get Hired