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Making a Personal Connection: The Importance of Face-to-Face Meetings in Aged Care Recruitment

Even in the recruitment world, we’re increasingly becoming more and more digital. We source and engage with online profiles, conduct virtual candidate interviews and client meetings, and even by some aged care recruiters (not us at P.J. Recruitment and Executive Search), there’s just a phone screen. Some aged care recruitment agencies don’t do the ‘eyeballing’ at all before they present a candidate to their client. 

We believe the aged care sector still holds fast to a somewhat traditional approach: face-to-face meetings. So, that’s what we do – one of our mantra’s is that we don’t put any candidate forward unless we’ve done the eyeball screen (virtual or face to face interview). This often happens AFTER we’ve done the phone screen, in the first instance.

This personal touch in the recruitment process is not merely a nod to tradition but a critical element in ensuring the right fit for both the candidate and client. Aged care recruitment, with its unique demands and deeply personal implications, benefits immensely from the nuance and understanding that only in-person interactions can provide. So that’s what we engender, that personal touch and meet every candidate face to face.

The Human Element in Aged Care

Aged care is intrinsically about people, about service and good relationships. It involves understanding the nuanced needs of individuals who may not always be able to articulate their requirements or concerns. The caregivers in this field do not just perform tasks; they provide comfort, companionship, and empathy. This level of care necessitates a workforce that is not only skilled but also compassionate and patient. As such, face-to-face meetings during the recruitment process allow employers to gauge these qualities and screen for same, effectively.

Communication Beyond Words

Much of our communication with people on a daily basis is non-verbal. Body language, eye contact, and presence can tell an interviewer much about a candidate’s confidence, warmth, and ability to connect with others. It can also bring to the surface candidates who aren’t speaking their truth. During a face-to-face meeting, recruiters can observe how candidates react to questions about challenging scenarios, adaptability to change, and how they might engage with the elderly and their teams. Backed up by a one or two step interview process that the client conducts, with a selection committee each time – often involving multiple stakeholders. Such interactions can reveal a candidate’s true potential and suitability for a role that is as demanding as it is rewarding. We’ve recently had a situation for a CFO role where the candidate met the CEO informally in a coffee shop, just really to gauge fit. That meeting went well. But we put that candidate in front of the same CEO and a HR Director, for a formal interview and things fell apart. The candidate was quite a different person to the candidate who the CEO had had coffee with. Perhaps it’s now a case of the more meetings with a candidate, for executive level and management jobs in aged care, the better?

Cultural and Emotional Intelligence

In the diverse landscape of aged care, a myriad of backgrounds converge, creating a rich tapestry among both staff and residents. Face-to-face interviews emerge as valuable opportunities for recruiters to delve into a candidate’s understanding of this intricate tapestry and their ability to connect emotionally. Beyond cultural sensitivity, these interviews allow recruiters to assess a candidate’s capacity to communicate effectively across all levels of the workforce, from essential roles like cleaners and cooks to pivotal positions such as Care Managers and members of the executive leadership team. In navigating the multifaceted dynamics of aged care, managers must adeptly lead this diverse array of employees, ensuring a harmonious and supportive environment for all.

The Comfort of the Candidate

For many candidates, especially those who are entering the aged care sector for the first time, the process can be daunting. Face-to-face meetings provide an opportunity for them to express their concerns, ask questions, and gain a clearer understanding of the role. This setting can be less intimidating than formal assessments or interviews and can help candidates present themselves authentically.

A Realistic Job Preview

Aged care recruitment often involves a walk-through of the facility with the hiring manager (for Facility Manager, Care Manager and Registered Nurse roles). This allows candidates to get a sense of the environment they will be working in. It also provides an opportunity for them to interact with the staff and residents, offering a slice of the daily life and challenges they might face. Such previews are invaluable in ensuring that candidates have a realistic understanding of the job and are truly committed to working in this sector.

Building Relationships

The recruitment process is the beginning of what will hopefully be a long-term relationship between the leader and the facility and or organisation. Face-to-face meetings can help establish a foundation of trust and mutual understanding from the outset. It is an opportunity for both parties to align their expectations and values, which is vital for a successful and harmonious working relationship.

The Need for Compassionate Recruitment

Aged care recruitment is not just about filling a position; it’s about finding a person who will impact the lives of residents, their people and teams in significant ways. The compassion and empathy required for this role cannot be fully assessed through a resume or an online questionnaire or even phone-based chat. It requires a conversation, an exchange of stories and values, and an understanding of the motives that drive someone to pursue a career in caring for the elderly.

The Power of the Psychological Contract between an aged care recruiter and their candidates

With the aged care sector undergoing a seismic shift, there are huge opportunities for aged care recruiters to develop engaging relationships with candidates during a recruitment process. Kind of like an unwritten set of expectations between the recruiter and candidate, which we stepify for the candidates: what happens now, what happens next etc so there aren’t any surprises. Expectations are firmly laid, and we collect data on candidates as to whether they follow these stepped instructions.

Adaptability and Crisis Management

The recent global health crises have underscored the need for adaptability in healthcare settings, especially in aged care. Face-to-face meetings allow recruiters to assess a candidate’s ability to think on their feet and handle crises. It is in the unplanned moments of an interview or during a facility emergency drill that a candidate’s true capability to respond to emergencies can be observed.

The Ethical Dimension

Ethics play a huge role in aged care. Recruiters have the responsibility to ensure that the individuals they hire are not only qualified but also possess a strong ethical foundation. Face-to-face interactions can provide insights into a candidate’s moral reasoning and integrity, which are critical in a field where they will be responsible for some of society’s most vulnerable members.


While technology has streamlined many aspects of recruitment, when it comes to aged care, the industry cannot afford to lose the personal connection that comes with face-to-face meetings. These interactions are not merely a step in the process; they are the cornerstone of a system that relies on the strength of its relationships. Aged care recruitment is about creating a community that supports its oldest members with dignity and respect, and that begins with a handshake, a conversation, and a shared understanding of the importance of the work at hand.