Vbrt Banner NsaWelcome to this online toolkit

A new approach to recruitment in adult social care

It’s been designed to help you as an employer – however many people you employ – in recruiting the right people, with the right social care values, whom you can trust to do the right thing and who will stay with you to develop their careers in social care and add value to your service.

We’ve based it on a model of values-based recruitment, which gives employers, especially smaller or micro-employers who may be unfamiliar with the approach, an opportunity to try it out and gauge the effect on their workforce and their service.

This is a pilot that we are looking to test across the sector, to obtain feedback on the value and impact of this approach to recruitment.

The challenge of recruitment

There are two important workforce challenges faced by the social care sector: to recruit people with the right values and behaviours to undertake such important roles in the right way and to meet the increasing demands of a growing sector.

The key questions that all social care employers – big, small and individual – are asking are: how do we find and attract sufficient applicants for our vacant posts, and then how do we check that they are suitable for the work and are likely to stay, develop and progress?

Although the overall social care workforce is growing (it currently stands at c. 1.56 million people), there are current shortfalls in filling vacancies and there is evidence, from Skills for Care through the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC)and other sources, of a high level of vacancy and turnover rates, including significant churn in some areas.

This has implications for care quality. Shortfalls in the workforce are an expression of unmet social care need. 

High turnover rates, particularly in the first few weeks following appointment, are often an indication that people have come into care and support roles but do not have the right values to sustain them in those roles. 

High turnover and churn rates lead to lack of continuity – a factor that counts highly with people who use services. 

And there is a risk (even a fear) that employers will take on candidates without the right social care values, with potentially
profound implications for the care of vulnerable people.

What use are values in adult social care recruitment? How can they help?

When we talk about values in social care, we mean things like:

Compassion Courage
Respect Responsibility
Empathy Imagination
Treating people with dignity Adaptability
Integrity Responsibility

These values underpin all the training, skills and competences that people have. They are the kinds of values that make the difference in the delivery of care and support services. Recruiting people with these values is about having the right people in place from the start, who will not just do the right thing but do it in the right way, so that you can deliver, or (if you’re a person using care and support services who’s also a personal employer) obtain, truly person-centred services.

These social care values are at the heart of the Care and Support Bill; the national nursing and midwifery strategy, Compassion in Practice; and the Government’s responses to the report on Winterbourne View and the Francis Report into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.

How do you recruit for values?

The easiest way to find out about someone’s underlying values is to ask them about how they behave in their everyday lives. People experience our values through our behaviours, and a good indicator of how people will behave in the future is how they have behaved in the past.

So, to recruit for the right values, you can:

  • Put together your job advertisements in a way that asks candidates to evidence their behaviours
  • Use the kinds of questions at job interviews that ask candidates to give examples of how they’ve behaved in the past
  • Get candidates to undertake a personality profiling questionnaire, to provide you with some indicators and points to discuss around behaviours at the interview, which the Profiles4Care solution will provide to you for all of your candidates, irrespective of the level in which you are recruiting.
  • Use other existing tools and information sources, such as the Leadership Qualities Framework and Finders’ Keepers, to help you identify the behaviours and values you’re looking for.

How to use this toolkit

We’ve put together this toolkit with all of these ideas in mind, to give you a number of tools and resources you can use.

You don’t need to use all of these sources of information and help – you can select the ones that are useful to you at any one time.

  • As a starting point, look at the Leadership Qualities Framework (LQF) for adult social care, which sets out what good behaviours look like at every level of the social care workforce. It can help you whether you’re recruiting for Care Assistants, Personal Assistants, Senior Care Workers, Team Leaders, Registered Managers or people working at Director level and above.
  • You can use these behaviours as a guide when advertising roles: we have examples of job advertisements that promote social care values, to help you in preparing your own advertisements.
  • Before you get to interview stage, we have a simple Online Personality Profiling Questionnaire that you can ask your candidates to take. It’s a quick and easy-to-complete questionnaire that will give you a general profile of a candidate and indicate areas for you to discuss with them at interview.
  • And if you’re not used to interviewing, we have some suggested interview questions that you can download and use as a starting point. You can also look at the Skills for Care Qualifications and Credit Framework at the same time, so you know what you should be looking for from candidates in terms of their skills and qualifications.

Testing the model

We are running this toolkit as a pilot across the sector, for 12 months from July 2013. We want your feedback on the value and impact of this approach to recruitment.

We will be conducting an evaluation of the model – the take-up of the approach across the sector, its usefulness and impact – from July 2013 onwards.

As a starting point, if you are interested in this approach, or are already using values in recruitment, and you would be willing to be contacted by our independent evaluators for your views, please email us here. All feedback will be anonymised unless your express prior permission has been obtained. We would really appreciate your views.

We want to hear your experiences of values-based recruiting

We will be evaluating this model of recruitment, and we would welcome hearing from you about the value and impact of this approach for you and your employees. Please email us at values@nsasocialcare.co.uk.

Help for Employers in recruiting for values

The Leadership Qualities Framework
Examples of job advertisements
Personality profile questionnaire
Examples of interview questions
The Qualifications and Credit Framework
Finders, Keepers
Common and Managers’ Induction Standards
I Care...Ambassadors
Personal Assistant Framework
Career Pathways E-Tool 
A Question of Care
Online challenge to test suitability for care work, now enhanced with video case studies of different roles in the sector
A Question of Care: A Career For You? (Download .pptx)
Skills Academy Social Care jobs


What are social care values: why do they matter?
How can I identify values when recruiting?
What is the link between values and leadership?
What are personality profile tests and how should I use them?
How does this link with other workforce development issues?

Other sources of information

You can find more information about recruitment and retention at:

Skills for Care
The Social Care Institute for Excellence
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development