A few warm-up questions to kick us off – what attracted you to healthcare recruitment (if anything!)? Plus, why do you like nursing recruitment, and what is your biggest recruitment-nightmare memory?
Co-Founder, Niche Jobs
The variation and ability to help people find their dream job. Just that little moment when you have the success of placing someone in a new nursing or healthcare job - it's a great feeling.
The biggest nightmare - out in India when one of the bombings happened in Mumbai. It was the night before we were due to travel and interview 30 people. Everyone had to be contacted, extra nights in the Delhi hotel needed to be held, business rooms organised and flights re routed - all in 12 hours. All the candidates except one were interviewed somewhere though!
Wow! I know consultants are expected to think on their feet, but that’s pretty extreme. OK, moving on - Medacs provide temp and perm nursing jobs. Is one easier to work on than the other? Can you briefly explain the different challenges each presents?
Temporary nursing recruitment - the biggest problem I would say that we face is compliance, this can take some time to complete. We need to rely on the candidate to supply all documentation and to accurately complete CRB checks. Candidates cannot start work until this has all been completed and checked. Sometimes the information is difficult to obtain especially if all reference checks, security checks and occupational health has previously been done overseas.
With regards to Permanent nurse job candidates, generally I would say that candidates can be tougher to contact as they tend to work during office hours so it can be tricky to contact them when it comes to gaining information, finding out their availability when setting up interviews or feeding back to them after they have attended interviews.
Unless already answered, would you say nurse temps is a little more stressful due to the urgency of the needs?
Both temp and perm can be equally stressful! Whilst temp nursing vacancies and requirements can come through thick and fast due to the urgency of their needs, on the perm side it can be tough convincing candidates to consider specific nursing jobs.
In an industry that is continuously growing, a number of agencies are out there these days calling the same candidates that we are about the same roles that we are recruiting for, or are passing candidates across to our clients without their consent.
That’s not great. But good that you don’t do that of course. So, Medacs Healthcare has a lot of specialist nurse and critical care jobs. We hear that Theatre Nurse jobs, and ODP vacancies especially are some of the toughest to fill. Would you agree?
Yes - there is a true global shortage of theatre nurses for jobs. An increase in surgical intervention for patients, new procedures, an aim to lower bed occupancy rates, opening of ISTC's are just a few of the reasons for an increase in surgery leading to the shortage and need for skills in theatres.
From your own personal experience, which other job roles in nursing, if any, are suffering from an acute skills shortage? Do you feel anything can or should be done?
As above, theatres, critical care and neonates are some of the current key shortages in nursing recruitment terms. There are some inherent reasons as above, as well as the overall increase in population and the number of fit people of the baby boomer generation who are able to survive surgery when previously they would not have been considered. Medical technology now allows safe procedures to be carried out when previously people would not have been able to survive.
There is a concurrent lowering of spend on post graduate training places for specialist nurse courses leading to a shortage of skilled personnel.
Focusing on the candidate who wants to apply to a nurse job.... CVs – what would be your top tips for someone about to write their nursing CV?
Be sure your CV is clear and concise, with your academic and employment history. Break down your employment in date order (most recent nursing job first), by hospital, job title and full duties and responsibilities.
Interviews – are there any typical skills, attributes or traits you look for in a phone or face-to-face interview?
Able to describe situations well
Needs more detail than face-to-face interviewing
Need to be in a quiet location
Face to face:
Positive body language - confident
Since Medacs have offices and jobs based downunder.... Do you have any tips for nurses considering moving from the UK to Australia or New Zealand? What things should they consider or prepare for before taking the plunge with a nursing job in Australia or New Zealand?
Have they considered the little things?
Do they have pets who need to be sorted out?
How will they maintain contact with their family?
Have they researched the area they are going to work?
Are they able to be open about location initially? (The more open they are to jobs and locations, the more opportunities will be available.)
Have they put aside a nest egg? (There are always hidden costs with relocating - its always a good idea to have a bit put by - even if it's on a spare credit card and may never be used.)
Recruiters spend their days dealing with people. So you must see all aspects of how people operate. Are you always surprised by human nature? We’d love to hear the good and the bad... (no names!)
Absolutely surprised! We see how many people are keen to please and for many the hard work and commitment that they will put in to preparing for interviews and the way that they perform in interviews. We often have candidates writing to us commending us for the support that they been given in their search for employment.
On the other hand some candidates have the tendency to ignore consultants and like to keep us guessing despite applying for our jobs! They may no longer be interested in the roles that we may put them forward for so can at times cancel interviews at short notice or not inform us that they will not be attending, keeping the client waiting which can be very embarrassing! They may also agree to more than one agency putting them forward for a job so when it comes to gaining feedback you can sometimes find clients unsure as to which agency they should work with.
One of us here at Nurses.co.uk has had a go at recruiting. He says of it: “A nightmare. I just simply never understood it when an applicant wouldn’t return my calls or emails – after they’d applied to a job!” Is this an experience particular to him...?
Oh no - however, the people who let you down are few and far between - many more are eager and will really work hard and prepare for interviews etc. It’s sometimes a case of ensuring you ask the right questions about their commitment. There are always people who are ‘window shopping' and you need to try and sift them out if possible at an early stage. At the end of the day - people are people good and bad!
Finally, what challenges and opportunities will be presented to all of us in nursing recruitment in the coming years?
This is difficult. There are lots of fairly political answers to this: of course the worldwide shortages together with how Nursing is perceived as a career in western countries and the global movement of Nurses across all regions. I think the market will continue to fluctuate, but people will always want to move on to pastures new - we just need to be ready to find them their dream next job.
Many thanks to Sue and Alex at Medacs for their time. So do please view Medacs Nursing jobs