Recruitment strategies have to include examination of the labor market data and consider the best options for building a highly
competent workforce. Human Resources and other agency staff need to know if the agency’s compensation and benefit packages are viable. To develop strategies to market the agency as the employer of choice, recruitment personnel will rely on the agency’s reputation in the community. Significant factors may include whether and to what extent the agency supports and empowers workers in their daytoday job and provides opportunity for professional growth. The agency must establish policies and procedures that ensure hiring practices offer equal opportunity to all qualified applicants and that staff hired deliver services that are culturally sensitive, competent and fair.
Human Resources is responsible for matching the available candidate pool with the core competencies required by the agency. This requires a comprehensive understanding of each job, the skills necessary to perform the job effectively, and how each job contributes to improving outcomes for children, youth and families served.
Human Resources, along with child welfare agency managers, needs to heighten awareness of child welfare as a desirable career opportunity by developing relationships with community agencies, professional associations and colleges and universities so that candidates are aware of available and future positions.
This effort could include including the recruiting and hiring of birth parents and former foster youth as child welfare staff. Former foster youth, for example, bring a special lens to the workforce because of the uniqueness of their experiences having been served in the public child welfare service system.
Agencies can assist colleges and universities with skills training, internships, and recruitment of candidates in sufficient numbers for expected vacancies. Additionally, agencies can insist that educational curricula include coursework and internships that will prepare candidates in the specific competencies that are required for the available jobs in child welfare. Colleges and universities are vital to filling the gaps in the workforce, clearly articulating the requirements of the job to potential candidates for child welfare work, and providing the supplementary training for staff at all phases of professional development.
After implementation of reasonable recruitment strategies, if the ideal candidates are not available for vacant positions, the composition of the workforce and how services are delivered may need to be changed. Job roles and responsibilities may be written differently. Agency job alignment must be supplemented with the necessary training so that all tasks are performed effectively.
Example: If candidates that can meet the needs of the clients are not readily available in the job market to fill program entry positions, several options could be considered:
It is important that the agency look at ways to reach the broadest spectrum of candidates most effectively and efficiently to be able to select from the most qualified applicant pool. Technology can provide a variety of informational marketing techniques and recruitment tools, and expedite the screening of potential candidates with video and web conferencing interviews and on line applications.
Candidate pools need to be maintained so that talented staff are available to fill vacancies as they occur and to protect against the lowering of practice standards. Factors such as an aging workforce that suggests an approaching retirement ave, current
and projected labor shortages and budget restrictions may impact recruitment and the need for candidate pools.