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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Survey finds social care workers struggle with interviews

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Workers in the social care sector are experiencing a number of difficulties with the interview process, according to a survey carried out by specialist recruiter Randstad Care.

The new research found that just 27% of social care employees consider themselves well-practiced interviewees, with 19% deeming themselves ‘rusty’ and a worrying 40% claiming they have never been proficient in an interview scenario.

While the percentage declaring themselves confident in their interviewing ability was identical to the UK average across other sectors (27%), the proportion conceding they had never been any good was considerably higher than typical in different professions (26%).

Sector  /   Percentage of employees

  • Doctors and nurses    44%
  • Social care    40%
  • Technology & IT    32%
  • Construction    28%
  • Finance    28%
  • UK Average    26%
  • Allied health professionals    24%
  • Education    21%
  • Legal    18%
  • Property    14%
  • Engineering    10%

Respondents answering “No, I’ve never been any good” to the question “Would you consider yourself a well-practiced interviewee?”

Victoria Short, MD of Randstad Care, said: “While it is not uncommon to learn that some people find interviews daunting, it is worrying that so many workers in the health and social care sector regard themselves as poor interviewees. The statistic is put into even sharper focus when you consider that there is already a shortage of social care workers, with some of our previous research indicating that the sector needs to attract 1,500 new employees a year to keep pace with population growth. There is nothing to suggest that there is any problem with the quality of social care professionals we produce in this country, but a lack of confidence in interviews may be preventing workers from moving as freely as they would like between roles or even landing their first position.

“It may even be that social care workers are so used to putting others before themselves in their daily lives that they are slightly reluctant to blow their own trumpets when it comes to interviews. It is also likely that those working in healthcare find themselves moving organisation less than their contemporaries in other sectors so have less opportunity to hone their interview skills, as doctors and nurses were also modest about their interviewing abilities.”

Tougher tests

When asked to compare the difficulty of interviews now with those conducted before the recession, 46% of social care workers felt they had got tougher (compared to the UK average of 41%), the most common answer. None of the social care employees polled felt they had become easier.

In terms of common mistakes made at interviews, more than three-fifths (61%) of social care professionals admitted their mind had gone blank in previous interviews (compared to a 41% UK average) and just over a third (35%) confessed to inadequate preparation (against a UK average of 21%).

Victoria Short added: “Due to the demanding nature of the social care profession, interviews need to be rigorous to ensure that candidates have the appropriate experience and character to handle some of the requirements of the roles available. However, the demands of the profession mean care workers can become time poor and their interview preparation can suffer as a result. That’s where tailored interview tips specific to the profession can make a real difference.”