Future You podcast transcript

Healthcare recruitment (with Globe Locums)

January, 2022

This episode of Future You delves into the recruitment industry, in particular healthcare recruitment - listen to find out how you can help the NHS and private sector ensure they have the staff they need to deliver a high standard of care to patients


In order of first appearance:

  • Dan Mason - editorial manager, Prospects
  • Isabel Kiff - contracts manager, Globe Locums


Dan Mason: Learn all about the world of healthcare recruitment, and how you can help ensure the NHS and the private sector have the staff they need to give patients the care they deserve, in this episode of Future You.

Hello, and welcome to Future You, the podcast from graduate careers experts Prospects. We're here to help you achieve your career goals. My name is Dan Mason, and in this episode, we're delving into the recruitment sector - in particular, healthcare recruitment. Global Locums is a specialist healthcare recruiter based in London, I spoke to contracts manager Isabel Kiff, who joined the business as a graduate herself, about what the job involves, why she would recommend it, what skills you need to succeed and how the organisation has met the challenges of the pandemic. Without further ado, here's Isabel.

Isabel Kiff: I head up the contracts team here at Globe Locums for HP and HSS and Global Locums and itself we started off being pretty bespoke and just sort of specialising in echocardiography and radiography, sonography sort of imaging. And now we've branched out to be able to cover the full comprehensive works of allied health professionals and healthcare sciences and everything sort of from your physiotherapist, occupational therapists, speech and language dietetics, and a real broad range of everything and supplying the staff in temporary and permanent contracts into the NHS and private sector across the entirety of the UK. We also have contracts and a pipeline to Australia and New Zealand, and Europe as well. So we're not just UK focused.

Dan Mason: Okay, that's great. And could you tell us a bit about your own background? Because I understand you yourself joined as a graduate as well. So what were you studying? What were your career ambitions at that time? What attracted you to Globe Locums?

Isabel Kiff: So I did a psychology degree at The University of Essex, got first degree there. I chose psychology, I think, like a lot of people...I didn't know what sort of focus I wanted career wise. And everyone sort of always says, psychology brings out so many different skills for sort of a, diverse range of careers. And so I did my undergraduate degree there, and got my final year exams coming up. And I started stressing thinking, I didn't want to - I'd realised I didn't want to carry on in education. So I was like, okay, I want to make sure I've got a job from when I graduate. And if I'm brutally honest, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do. And I know there are a lot of graduates out there that are sort of in a similar boat, especially with a psychology degree, it doesn't link you to a career. So although that was the reason I picked it, at the same time after three years, I was kind of left thinking, oh, you know, where do I go from here now. And so I'd been doing some research, I've always had a big passion for healthcare. And I've had some previous aspirations to be sort of a paramedic, or in the NHS generally, in a clinical role, but I just honestly hadn't gone down that route. And yeah, I was in a bit of a muddle, didn't know what to do, so I started looking online. I noticed a lot of recruitment jobs were coming up, and I think for me, I hadn't thought at all of ever going into recruitment, I think, especially back in the day, maybe not so much now, but there was a bit of a bad stigma with recruitment. And, you know, all my friends were like, oh, no, I wouldn't go into recruitment. I hear it's really hard. And you know, you're not treated very well. And, yeah, so I was like, Oh, I don't know if I want to do that. And then just by chance, I actually saw a healthcare recruitment job. So I was just sort of reading up on it and Globes, sort of mantra and ethos, although that sounds really cliche, I just thought I really aligned to it. And also, though, I knew I couldn't be clinical myself, I thought, well, this is some way to kind of give back to the healthcare sector and sort of help support from sort of a different sort of aspect. And so I know, that's a really vague answer. But yeah, I was never like, Oh, I'm gonna have a career in recruitment. I never anticipated on it at all. But that was back in 2013. And where are we now? 2021. So, I mean, eight years later, I'm I'm still here still at Globe Locum. So I'm still really enjoying it.

Dan Mason: So presumably, given that you're still there, after all those years, all those preconceptions that you had about recruitment and things that people are told you have proved to be a myth, or at least at Globe Locums?

Isabel Kiff: Yeah, completely. Like I can't recommend a career in healthcare recruitment. I don't know about the other areas. The stigma mostly still exists, though. I don't know. But for me, Globe Locums has been sort of one of the best decisions I've made, obviously career wise, and also socially. I'm really happy with where I'm at sort of the career progression I've had here. And kind of everything I've learned from from being with Globes. So I think yeah, I think it's a big thumbs up for me. And I suppose like, say that eight years is sort of evidence of that, because I think recruitment is one of those things that you do learn pretty early on, if you enjoy it or not, because it's one of those careers that you've not really had a chance to do until you're in the job, and you don't really know if you're going to enjoy it or not till you're here. And I know that sounds a bit silly. But if it's such a separate job from so many other things, you might do that. I know, it's hard to explain, I think most people, they join us thrive and absolutely love recruitment. But typically as well, sometimes recruitment just isn't for some people, and they don't enjoy it, just like any career, I guess there's, you know, not every career suits, everyone.

Dan Mason: Absolutely, yeah. So how would you sell the idea of working in healthcare recruitment to a current student or recent graduate? Who, like you at the time hadn't considered it before? What are the real, you know, the best things about this job?

Isabel Kiff: Yeah, it's a good question, actually. And one of the things that I've always loved, I've always worked really hard. And I've always thrown myself into something like with 110%. And I think recruitment, one of the good things is, it is rewarding in the sense that you do get what you put in. And often we do have to work really hard. And you know, some of us stay longer hours or, you know, are on our phones outside of work hours, and that's a personal choice. That's not sort of contractual choice. But you do find those that do go the extra mile and put in the extra work, do get more rewarded for it. And I think it's, it is really nice that aspect, because I think we've all been there perhaps where, you know, even before Globe Locums, when I had a job in retail, throughout Uni or working in a shop. And I just always think I work so much harder than so many other people here, but you both get paid the same amount of money, and you both get treated exactly the same. And, and it's not all about the money. Obviously, there's other sort of rewards generally from doing well in your job, but it is, you are really recognised here for sort of the work you've put in. And I think that is one of the standout things in terms of career in recruitment, compared to some of the other jobs out there. That was one of the main things to me, also, I suppose for Globe specifically, like we were based in central London, which won't suit everyone. But I knew I really wanted to work in the city, we're sort of in the hub of everything. So maybe not so much at the moment because of Covid. But pre Covid. It's just a really sort of social, bubbly atmosphere. And yeah, it's just a really cool place to work.

Dan Mason: Yeah, that's great. And if we turn then from what might attract graduates to Globe and look at the other side. What you're looking for, from new recruits, so what would you say are the key skills and characteristics of someone who's going to thrive in this environment?

Isabel Kiff: Yeah, I don't want to sound too cliche here, you know, the classics, obviously, you know, someone that's hardworking, and integrity. I mean, obviously, we are a healthcare agency. So, you know, we are placing people in to help serve the NHS, serve patients and provide the best patient care. So integrity is essential, because we're not just about finding someone, you know, bums on seats, just getting them at work, and we want to make sure we are placing the best candidate in the best job. And so high integrity and high morals for us is so crucial. And, you know, we're not an agency where it doesn't matter who they get at the end of the day, it's so important to make sure we match correctly. And we do that because we want to, if that's what makes sense. But there are the core values, you know, you do have to be hard working. And there is resilience. And I think that's something that maybe a lot of graduates don't realise -that recruitment is tough. We just find people work, and that sounds relatively easy, but there is a lot of rejection, there is a lot of knockbacks, because you're working so hard sometimes to work for the client or to work for the counselor. And it doesn't always work out, you know, you can't always get them exactly what they want, and you do have to be resilient to that because I think it's one of those jobs that sounds easy on paper, but actually when you're when you're in the office...and as I say, with healthcare, at the end of the day, we're powerful, because if we can't find candidates for these jobs - there's patients waiting. So that is a high pressure. In that sense, I'm probably making it sound a bit doom and gloom. But from that, it kind of gets the excitement. I think people will sometimes come into recruitment thinking it's, it's easy, and I do think many find it tough, so we'd need a graduate that wants to work hard, wants to do well, is driven and resilient, also, we were really focused on, again, it sounds cliche, but we are a bit of a family. Our two directors James and Gavin...we really do want to hire people that get us and get our dynamic and get our values and I think, you know, we don't just hire someone because we think they're going to be excellent at the actual job, we also want to hire people because we think they will mold well into us as a company. So just really friendly, personal people that wants to do well. There's not sort of a core skill set in terms of, you know, we'd expect you to have this degree or this level of qualification. We are always doing something that has got the passion for healthcare and for the NHS. And like I said, they don't need to have sort of specific healthcare background. It's just more about the passion from the person really?

Dan Mason: And how then do you assess candidates? What's your application process? If a graduate is interested in this and wants to apply? What's the process? How do you assess them?

Isabel Kiff: Yeah it's relatively straightforward, especially if any graduates have sort of gone through some other sort of graduate scheme process, they can be quite labor intensive. Ours is relatively simple. Obviously submit your CV onto all the major jobs boards, or you can speak to us directly, and we review the CV obviously, just looking for your sort of key skills and how you present yourself and your CV. Again, there's nothing in particular we're looking for on your CV, and there's no like pass or fail in terms of you know, your experience. From that, we will then send you over sort of four or five questions just to gauge your sort of understanding, and also, I suppose your commitment, you know, a lot of people do just send out hundreds of CVS, and then they don't actually take any acknowledgement of what job they're applying for. So we send sort of initially four or five questions just to make sure they understand the job they've applied for and, and sort of why they've applied for it. And if those come back, you know, satisfactory, then we will schedule a phone call. And phone calls, mainly because a lot of the time a lot of our job is is being on the phone, and you do have to be very personal. Again, pre Covid, you would have to have a lot of face to face meetings, a lot of telephone conversations, there's a lot of sort of person to person interaction, and so we do like to call the prospective candidates just to make sure they are comfortable speaking on the phone, and they're able to have a conversation with us quite freely. And then from that any shortlist applications will then actually to be invited in for the face to face interview into our office in London. That's where they meet with myself and they'll have a joint interview with our directors, and also some of our divisional leads as well. For the candidate, so they can get a feel about who we are, and it's not just all about how good the candidate is. Generally, we are quite 50/50 with our interview process, we want to make sure the prospective candidate feels like they're making the right decision as well. So we are very inclusive in terms of our internal interview and sort of who they speak to when they're here.

Dan Mason: Fantastic, and so more of a traditional recruitment process in terms of CV, phone call, interview, as opposed to all the assessment centers we've seen recently.

Isabel Kiff: Yeah exactly. No role playing, no group thing, Q&A discussion days, and don't get me wrong, some people absolutely love that and thrive off that. I wasn't one of those people. So yeah, just very traditional.

Dan Mason: And so for those who are successful and join you, at Globe, tell us about what those first few weeks and months might be like, what are they going to be doing day to day? What's the sort of wider culture of the business? What is it going to be like working for this business?

Isabel Kiff: Yeah, so when you first start you're buddied up so you'll be given sort of a mentor. Obviously, you'll be put onto a desk. We have all HBHS divisions. So the way we split it up isn't by sort of geographical locations in the UK, but it's actually just by division. So you might be placed on the physio desk or the Radiography desk and any sort of AHP division from there you'll then be buddied up, so you'll have a mentor designated to you. And that's there at any time should you feel you need any additional support, but also just to kind of walk you through all our processes and training. And the first few weeks might feel quite monotonous because honestly, there's a lot of training to be done. Just in terms of the software we use, how we use our equipment, and GDPR compliance. So yeah, the first few weeks you don't really get actively involved in the recruitment side of things because there a sort of a lot of the policies process induction training that happens and that sort of done with your mentor and also our HR and compliance team. Sort of once that's all completed, it's sort of it's kind of like a sink or swim moment, , you're sort of thrown into the deep end - but thrown in with a buoyancy aid, because obviously with recruitment you kind of you just have to kind of get stuck in and so you know, your mentor will be with you but you know, the sooner you kind of get on the phone speaking to candidates or speaking to clients, the more comfortable you can be feeling sooner rather than later if that makes sense.

Dan Mason: You've got to take that plunge at some point, I guess - get it started.

Isabel Kiff: Yeah, exactly. So we do try to do that early on because I think otherwise, especially for some people, you know, although they might be fine on the phone, it still is quite nerve wracking when you're brand new. So we try to engage in that as soon as possible, just so yeah, the band aids come off. Because I think once you once you've made your first call, you realise actually that, you know, it's fine and the nerves go away. So we tried to get the candidates, and the graduates, doing that as soon as possible. But I'd say the first year is probably always the hardest. And I'll be very honest, I suppose for the graduates, because in recruitment, you kind of build up your own reputation, you know, the candidates that work for you end up referring their friends and kind of you, become known in the market, whereas obviously, when you first start as a graduate, nobody knows you, which sounds really sad, but like, none of the clients will know, yeah, they'll know us and know the brand, so you're never sort of cold calling, obviously. It's always warm calling, because people know us, but it kind of takes a while for people to start coming to you personally. But then that in itself is really rewarding. When I started as a graduate, and you know, phone calls will be coming in for my colleagues and phone and emails coming for my colleagues and not much coming for me. But I remember the first time like a major NHS Trust called in. And when they asked to speak to me, and it was like really gratifying. And it sounds really silly, but you start thinking, oh, you know, I'm making progress here. And I'm starting to be remembered and recognised. So I do always like to say it, because I think yeah, when you first start it is, it is the hardest part because you've got to start building up that pool, but it happens, you know, we're really established framework healthcare provider. And so it's not hard to make those relationships. And it's like I said before, you've just got to be prepared to sort of put the, the effort in, in the initial stages.

Dan Mason: Just thinking about the last sort of year and a half in particular. Obviously, it's been a big, you know, eventful year for anyone working in any aspect of healthcare. How has that impacted on the recruitment side, healthcare recruitment is obviously a bit different from you know, frontline health care work, but how have you and your business been impacted over recent months?

Isabel Kiff: Yeah, to be honest, it has been crazy. The team has been working flat out because obviously, when the lockdown first happened, and like I said, all the non urgent sort of lists got canceled and postponed, and there was, you know, a little bit of uncertainty. We're like, oh, what's going to happen here? And then also, it's all just going absolutely crazy for us, because there's such a huge backlog now of all these patients that weren't able to be seen in the initial lockdown. So in terms of staffing, we've never been busier, we've never had so many vacancies to fill, which is great from the business side. And in terms of, you know, there's a lot of work out there for our candidates, and we're able to make sure we, you know, we find all the workers that come to us a position that they want, I suppose on the on the flip side of it is, it is really challenging. But it's sad to see how many vacancies there are, and it is crazy, when you see that sort of directly resulted from the pandemic now - of how many vacancies there are? So, yeah, it's been really challenging, but we're really proud to be part of the effort from our side, to be able to get as many workers out in employment as possible and support as best we can. So yeah, is something that we're proud to be helping with. It has just been incredibly challenging.

Dan Mason: Yeah, not surprising, and probably an area that, you know, when people think about health care, probably the recruitment side isn't one that, you know, comes to mind immediately when you're thinking about that kind of thing.

Isabel Kiff: Yeah, definitely. And I think it's hard, because there's so many, you want to help everyone. And there's, you know, there are so many hospitals looking for work. And then there was, you know, there's lots of candidates, still not as many candidates as there are for the job. So it has, it's been challenging from that respect, because you do like really want to help. It's not for us, it's not just about filling jobs, it is about the bigger picture. So yeah, everyone has been working incredibly hard over the last sort of 18 months.

Dan Mason: Yeah, finally, then, just about the sort of longer term opportunities for someone joining Globe, you yourself have been there eight years, how has your own role evolved? And along with that, what can new graduates expect if they want to stay for the longer term? What opportunities are there for longer term career progression?

Isabel Kiff: Yeah, there's lots. So I started out as a trainee graduate recruiter, and then sort of obviously passed my probation was a fully fledged recruiter, became a senior recruiter, and I found myself , I've really enjoyed the client side of things over everything else. I absolutely love the client side of things, going into hospitals and seeing how we can better support the NHS Trust and the private health care providers. So I've actually developed now into a contract management role. And so I don't actually recruit at all anymore. I sort of help with all the legal contracts and supply especially, sort of, say business developments, and, and also sort of on some level sort of operational management of the HP floor. So, I mean, yeah, I've kind of gone through the ranks to a completely different role. And they are the sort of jobs that are available to the graduates who come to Globe Locums. I mean, some people it's just what you want. Some people don't have that drive to develop their career to a different level or to have a different job title. You know, we've got senior recruiters that have been the senior recruiters at other companies, that have come here and they just absolutely love working in recruitment, and in that job role, but there are so many different aspects of recruitment that you don't realise it like myself doing contract management where you can step away from the recruitment side and go into a different career path.

Dan Mason: Brilliant. Well, that's been a fantastic overview. Isabelle, thanks very much for joining us.

Isabel Kiff: Thank you so much.

Dan Mason: Many thanks once again to Isabel. And I hope that has been useful or sparked an interest in this career path for some of you. All that's left for me to say is do head over to Prospects.ac.uk to search and apply for graduate jobs, and find lots of careers advice, including on getting into the recruitment industry. And don't forget to follow Future You on Spotify, Apple podcasts, or whichever is your preferred podcast app, so that you don't miss the next episode. Finally, you can get in touch with comments, feedback or suggestions by emailing podcast@prospects.ac.uk. Thanks very much for listening, and I'll see you soon.

Note on transcripts

This transcript was produced using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. The audio version is definitive and should be checked before quoting.

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