5 easy ways to telephone screening success

It’s very likely that applicants who’ve applied for a role at one care company, have also applied to more care providers (or other employers) in the area. It’s so easy to apply for jobs on the apps nowadays, it’s easy to forget which roles and companies you’ve actually applied for. 

We need to bear in mind that most applicants are looking for work at a reputable care provider for one of the following reasons:

  • to suit their lifestyle, with hours that fit around their family
  • to gain qualifications, progress and hopefully be promoted internally
  • they have a big heart and genuinely love working with people and making a difference in their lives

Nowadays we need to be calling applicants on the day they’ve applied for a role. If we wait for the job ad closing date, we’ll lose early applicants to a competitor. (Read more about the need for speed).

Here are our learned best practice tips on making that important ‘first impression’ call with an applicant. Use them in the way that feels most natural for you.

1. Have a conversation

Don’t start with an interrogation along the lines of:

  • ‘Why have you applied for this role?’
  • ‘Do you drive?’
  • ‘Where do you live?’
  • ‘What care experience do you have?’

You do need the answer to these questions, but ask them a little later.

A candidate may not remember even applying to your company specifically, and may need a moment to recall and engage with you. A quick fire list of questions up front will catch them off guard and that’s not good for either of you.  An easy, chatty conversation that feels natural, relaxed and professional can open up easily to cover other topics. A conversation builds rapport and conveys that you’re ‘nice to work for’ too. Even if the applicant doesn’t have the attributes you need after all, they’ll have a good impression of you and may pass that on to friends and family who might be a perfect fit.

2. Explore hobbies and interests

A candidate won’t take offence if you ask them what they did at the weekend, whether they have any plans for Summer or whether they have any pets. You’re connecting, building trust and a potential professional relationship. We all spend so much time at work, we want to know we’ll be working with people we like (and that works both ways). If we need carers to be approachable, warm and friendly, then we need to know they can have a conversation with us or someone’s mum, dad, son or daughter. 

A candidate will be much more at ease if the potential employer on the other end of the phone is taking an interest in them as a person.  Ask them how they got into care or what made them apply, get their story. Take notes for every applicant. If you seem to take an interest but then forget what they were going to do at the weekend just gone, you’ll lose credibility.

3. Talk about yourself to help build rapport

Candidates need to feel comfortable, confident and enthusiastic, not just about the role they’ve applied for, but their manager too. It’s one of the most important relationships for any employee. Having a poor manager is the most quoted reason to leave an employer.  You’re the voice of the company and the first person the candidate has contact with, so you need to make a lasting positive impression.

Use the phone call to find out if you have any common ground eg care background, schools, children or pets. Whatever the discussion, don’t be afraid to talk about yourself, your experiences and what you love about working where you do. The candidate will respect you for your honesty and feel warmer towards you. Like everything else, ‘first impressions’ matter both ways.

4. Sell your company

Use the phone call to really sell your company. Focus on the amazing team you have and the support new starters receive, including a thorough induction programme and ongoing training and development. 

Do you have progression opportunities, ongoing staff appraisals and regular contact with your manager? If you have a CQC rating you’re proud of, then let the candidate know. Do you have staff parties (covid permitting), a refer-a-friend bonus and employee of the month awards? You can’t sell your care company enough, the candidate will be comparing you to other employers they have already met, or are planning to meet. 

Share what you’re working on with the team right now, and the help you’d need from the applicant. This is the time to clarify the attitude, values, skills and qualifications they would bring to the advertised role.

5. Great candidate? Immediately arrange the next steps

If the candidate meets all the requirements for the role they’ve applied for, they were pleasant over the phone, enthusiastic and you can really see them being a success in the care role, why wait any longer? Arrange the next steps towards onboarding them on the call, there and then. Showing the candidate this level of enthusiasm increases the chances of them choosing to work for you. 

I recommend that you conduct your face-to-face/final stage interview either the very next day or as quickly as they can get in to see you. Ideally, no later then 48hrs.  

Everyone needs to feel needed and liked. Who doesn’t like being told they’d be great for a role?

Ending a great phone call with, “Right, well, I’ll be in touch if we’re going to process your application any further” just deflates and delays the process. Have confidence in hiring excellent staff. It saves time for everyone.

Is there someone in your team who is confident in making these calls? And with the time to attempt to reach candidates many times? Good 🙂

If not, we do this critical activity for all our care provider clients. Feel free to book a call with me to find out more about our managed recruitment service – no strings attached.


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