Values-Based Recruitment

The Context

Adult social care as a sector is facing several challenges, including recruiting and retaining staff. Values-based recruitment has been identified as a potentially promising approach to try to address these issues. 

Values-based recruitment is an approach that encourages the selection of people who align with the organisation’s or employer’s values, rather than focusing purely on skills, qualifications, or prior experience. At the centre of values-based recruitment is the idea that while skills can be learned, values are an individual trait that cannot be easily taught but are essential.

“Values-based recruitment is a way of getting to know people, their motivations, passions, interests, and whether they’ll be a good fit for your organisation and for the roles you’re recruiting to, so you can make the best possible recruitment choices for those who you provide care and support for.”

Video: What is Values Based Recruitment? (Explainer)

Our Networks

The aim of the Network was to explore how values-based recruitment is being developed in social care and what activities appear to work best. The following co-ordinators managed the networks in each locality:

Values-Based Recruitment Evidence Review

Values-based model is a recruitment approach which encourages the selection of people who align with the organisation’s values. It was firstly introduced in England in children’s services to reduce the risk of abuse and then, in the NHS with the aim to improve health care provision standards. The social care sector is following this direction across the four UK nations.

  • It considers values as better criteria for workforce selection, compared to skills and work experience alone
  • It uses a holistic approach that has broader implications for the way the whole organisation operates
  • It involves all individuals involved in the organisation
  • It requires leaders and managers to support staff to understand why values matter and how they fit into their day-to-day work
  • Staff turnover is lower amongst employers using a ‘values-based’ approach
  • Staff recruited and supported according to a ‘values-based’ approach were reported to perform better
  • Offers a recruitment process that is more inclusive and transparent
  • It can help strengthen the development and role-modelling of values-based working in the workplace and it can lead to better quality of care
  • Staff had stronger care-focused values

There are some differences between the terms used by the different national guidelines across the four nations, but the models are very similar. It is possible to identify some main stages in the implementation of values-based recruitment.

  • The identification of the organisations’ values.
  • The recruitment stage includes the attraction of the ‘right people’, the process of application, and selection.
  • Induction to the organisations’ values
  • The assimilation process is characterised by continual training, supervision, and the update of internal policies in line with the values. Values-based recruitment does not end at induction. It is important to remember it is part of an ongoing development process.

Recruiting from a values-based perspective

Within the local network co-ordinator meetings, it became clear that the term ‘values-based recruitment’ wasn’t clearly defined or understood. Many organisations discovered they had used this method of recruitment unknowingly within their HR practices. As a response to this feedback, we have put together the following practical tips for Values-Based Recruitment implementation.

Video: How I Apply Values Based Recruitment

How to use values-based recruitment in practice?

For values-based recruitment to work well, a holistic approach helps. Though the name implies it’s all about ‘recruitment’, it has broader implications for the way the whole organisation or employer operates (including its overall ethos, the nature of the care delivered, induction, supervision, appraisal and staff development).

Organisations need to be clear about what their values are. A way to identify your values as an organisation is to look at what you are trying to achieve- what does ‘good’ care look like to you? Additionally, values-based recruitment is not just about the organisations’ values but should be part of a dialogue with both staff and people who draw on care and support. 

“Values, which can be defined as meaningful beliefs, principles or standards of behaviour, referring to desirable goals that motivate action. The term value, used in for instance Value-based healthcare, refers to the degree of success shown by a provider in meeting the needs of clients, relative to costs”. Both of these are important, and the IMPACT Network participants posed the question “What is the value of a values based approach?” signifying the importance of being able to quantify in measurable terms to consequence of taking or not taking this approach (mainly for the commissioning audience)

IMPACT network participants expressed the need for an organisation’s or employer’s values need to be translated into their job adverts: “the proof is in the advert”.  It is important that the organisation or employer makes sure that its messaging is right from the start. The wording of the job description and the advert needs to reflect the organisational or employer values, with a focus on those that are important to anyone working in the specific role being advertised. The job description should include the activities that applicants will support and be honest to provide the person with the right expectations. 

Where to advertise the job depends on the type of job and organisation or employer. Some organisations or employers have better results using Facebook groups than official recruitment sites like ‘’. If it is a local job, it is expected to have a presence in the community, recruitment can be done through schools, advertising in yearbooks at job fairs, and in the local church. For instance, in case of a person trying to recruit a PA should be advertised in the local area.

Rather than shortlisting, values-based recruitment approaches promote group discussions with candidates to get to know them and to introduce the organisation and people who use their services, or employer. Additionally, values-based recruitment promotes moving away from phone interviews to career conversations – talking about values and being more personable. Organisations or employers at this stage can also give candidates information about values so they have a chance to reflect on the values and talk about them in the interview.

Values-based recruitment promotes alternative forms of assessment from traditional interviews, including the involvement of the people drawing on care. One way to identify the right candidate is to invite them to the organisation or care setting to see how the candidate interacts with the people they could be supporting. Even if the people receiving care are unable to be involved in the formal interview, they can still be involved in the process by, for example, taking the candidate on a tour and seeing how they interact with the residents/ people supported. This tour can be mutually beneficial as it can allow the candidate to see if it is the right environment for them to work in. This approach can also allow the interviewer to see how connected the candidate is to the world around them, for example, did they notice posters outside residents’ rooms, is this a talking point or something they don’t notice?

5 brilliant questions
  • In 3 words how would your best friend use to describe you?
  • What does good care and support look like?
  • When have you demonstrated that? (does not need to be in a care setting)
  • How have you dealt with tricky situations?
  • Imagine you’re really busy in the public areas and the resident stops you to have a conversation, how do you react? (non-care working role)
Interview Top Tips on exploring experience, behaviours and scenarios

Don’t ask questions that only people with experience of working in adult social care can answer. Candidates may have experience working in the sector – but they may also have personal skills and experience from their own personal lives that they can transfer. 

When taking a values-based approach, what happens after the interview is as important as the whole recruitment process. It includes the responsiveness of the organisation or employer to candidates, starting with clarity about the- often organisations in adult social care say ‘We will let you know next week’ and they don’t! Updates during the processes as various checks happen are also helpful to candidates.

The induction is also important: “The first impression in the induction process is vitalDo not offer the induction at the last minute on Friday, it is awful!”. The information provided at induction should align with the values shared at recruitment, and remember: “Don’t think about onboarding and induction as just onboarding and induction – think about it as the start of a relationship”.

Things that matter
  • Consistency, 
  • Feeling welcome,
  • Regular contact with the manager, 
  • Supervision, 
  • Support,
  • Proper induction about what is expected, goals and aims

Examples in practice

Video: Supported Living Recruitment – Persona Care and Support
Video: Short Stay Recruitment – Persona Care and Support

Feedback on IMPACT Networks

I have recently just stepped up as an Assistant Manager of the service I have been working in, I have been more involved in recruitment, and years of working I can see a difficulty in recruiting and retention. Went into the Network meetings not really knowing a great deal, and not much I could share. However, I felt I have learnt a lot from hearing everyone else opinions and side of thinking and from different backgrounds. I personally didn’t have a lot of experience or input but I have gained a lot of knowledge.

Network Coordinator

It was amazing having a mix of service users, PAs and carers who all listened and respected each other’s opinions and thoughts in a supportive way.

Network Coordinator

I have learnt and understand more about Value based recruitment, which I think is important that more people are aware of this and the understanding of how important it is. From all the suggestions it has made me think how my organisation could change the way of recruitment or what we could do better.

Network Participant

I wanted to learn more about Values-Based Recruitment and why it is in important. I got far more from the sessions than I was expecting as we covered a wide range of topics based on people’s experiences of Values-Based Recruitment.

Network Coordinator