When it comes to looking at the recruitment process within social work, one of the well-established companies that practitioners know to turn to is Hays Worldwide. With over 50 years’ experience of working with employers to help connect applicants to their ideal role, there’s no doubting Hays understand the recruitment process within social work. They echo the One Stop Social drive to support the social work community and use their worldwide platform to help job seekers across multiple industries. To see how the Hays spirit translates to the practitioners they work with, we interviewed two of their social workers and got to hear from the source how Hays has benefited their recruitment experience.
What brought you to social work to begin with?
Paul: “I started working with the local authority as a Team Clerk on an adults social work team. I was fascinated by some of the day to day stories which were being discussed and the varied role of social work. From here I took a role as a Social Worker Assistant on the team and really enjoyed meeting some of the most interesting people I had ever met. I felt privileged when people shared their life stories and expressed to me the challenges they were facing. I enjoy helping people and in this role I felt I was able to make a bit of a difference and make a positive impact. After a number of years as an unqualified worker I made the decision to obtain my degree and begin my social work career.”
Umar: “Initially there was no set reason. I had finished college and was advised there was jobs available in social work.”
What job role are you hoping to find?
Paul: “I enjoy challenging myself and therefore look for 6 to 12-month contracts. I particularly like project work, with clear goals being set and outcomes that are realistic. In this way I feel a sense of achievement and enjoy the variety of working in different settings.”
Umar: “I’m currently a senior practitioner. So, if I wanted to move I would look at another senior or potentially a team manager position.”
What have you found to be a common problem within recruitment in social work?
Paul: “In my current role as a Senior Practitioner, I find the most common problem is finding experienced Locum social workers to fill posts.”
Umar: “A common problem is lack of transparency in recruitment. Jobs are not sourced and actioned in time. Quality of candidates coming through is not good overall and staff turnover is fast.”
How do you feel Hays improves the recruitment process for social workers?
Paul: “I am registered with a number of Social Work recruitment agencies and I feel Hays is the best at sourcing the contracts I want. Part of this is the contract Hays has with the LA I am working with. However, it is also down to the good relationship I have with my Hays Consultant. Hays are in regular contact with me to ensure I am happy with in current assignment and keep me informed about new opportunities that are available.”
Umar: “Hays portal is simpler for processing timesheets”
What advice would you give to social workers looking to change jobs or NQSWs looking for their first role?
Paul: “Social work can be very demanding and often a practitioner needs to be very versatile to adapt to the many challenges we face. All social workers need to utilise their ‘toolkit’ as every interaction we have with people or professionals will often require a different approach. One way this can be achieved is by working in a variety of settings, not limiting yourself to one role or place of work.”
Umar: “Be committed to the role you are undertaking and understand that social work is a challenging profession. With perseverance you will be successful.”
From what we can see Hays approach social work recruitment with a very “no-nonsense” policy: they have an easier timesheet processing portal in order to reduce the risk of delayed payments, they look for contracts that suit the social workers themselves and help to place practitioners in varied and engaging posts. Recruitment doesn’t have to be rocket science, and Hays seem to understand that. It is the process of someone looking for a role where they can contribute positively, and eventually finding said role. In particular, within social work, where the day to day tasks can be emotionally trying and complicated, it’s great to see an agency approach recruitment in this manner – and save practitioners a lot of stress along the way!