How long have you been with Medcall, and what is your role here?
I have been with Medcall (this time round) for 8 years. I worked for the company back in 2005 for a couple of years as a Permanent Recruiter, left to work elsewhere, but came back as National Operations Manager in 2012. This role focused on the temporary agency side of the business, but I soon found myself rekindling the permanent recruitment arm of the business which was no longer functional. We managed to build this back up again and gain traction, placing loads of candidates into roles in aged care roles around NZ.
When the opportunity came up to purchase the business with Jane, who was working here too, as GM, we embarked on that adventure together! That was fun - an opportunity to put our stamp and brand on the business and grow it. We were approached in 2017 by David Fleming who owned Care on Call to sell the business, which came as a big surprise, but after a lot of soul searching we went with it. The two businesses had a lot of synergy and we liked his style and ethics. We would not have sold our baby to just anyone! Both Jane and I have stayed on in the business, although our roles are different now to when we owned the business, of course.
What are some of your main responsibilities in this role?
These days, I manage the permanent recruitment team at Medcall. We place Clinical Nurses and Senior Managers into roles within the aged care sector all over New Zealand, often working with international candidates as well as locals, to find them the perfect job. My role is to support and mentor the consultants in the team and help them to be successful, managing workflow, ensuring the team meets targets, and making sure they grow in their roles.
While I oversee all sorts of associated admin, I also have my own recruitment projects for senior management roles to work on too. We all work closely together, managing everything from visiting clients, to interviewing candidates and working with them to establish what they’re after, to putting together a personalised profile on each candidate when we present them to the client. The role includes negotiating salaries and other related details of job offers, following up when people start in their roles to ensure they’re settling in well, and helping clients put together a really great team in their facilities. It’s a very busy role, with lots of ups, downs and energy!
Where did you work prior to Medcall?
I’ve worked in recruitment for over 20 years. My first recruitment role was in commercial/ admin recruitment but after taking time out to raise my family, I joined a homecare company, where I was first introduced to the health sector. I looked after their recruitment, induction and HR, before being offered the role at Medcall. The rest is history!
What are your favourite parts about working here?
I love the team here. There’s always someone ordering deliveries (like the consultant who was getting married, who had FIVE pairs of different wedding shoes delivered….), always someone’s birthday, with obligatory cake, always someone making us laugh. It’s a great work environment. We all work hard but you have to have a great sense of humour here , and being just a little bit crazy helps, too.
Do you have any advice for those looking to work in aged care?
It is an increasingly sought after sector. There are always shortages of Registered Nurses in this sector - people tend to overlook it, but there are some amazing stories of people who have started as Caregivers, gone on to study to become a Registered Nurse, and worked their way up to a Manager’s role, looking after an entire hospital/rest home/retirement village complex! Because you’re working as part of a smaller team than you would be in a public hospital, there is often more responsibility and people management as part of your role, so it’s great for developing leadership experience. And some of the well-known organisations offer career pathways into management roles too!
Many senior managers who have had a career in commercial business are attracted to this sector. They often have a vast amount of transferrable experience and skill (financial management, personnel management, strategic planning and implementation, change management, stakeholder engagement etc) and they are at a point where they want something genuinely rewarding, that isn’t just all about the bottom line. They can bring their business acumen to a sector that is investing in the care of elderly New Zealanders, and for many, they are really looking for something more personally rewarding, so it’s a great match, but it can be a sector that is difficult to break into.
My advice for people wanting to get into aged care roles would be the following:
- Get a handle on the sector - read as much as you can about what’s happening, where the growth is, and what the issues are that face the sector.
- Study the Health & Disability Service Standards: this is what the sector is audited against, and is the basic criteria for the provision of comprehensive care.
- If you are looking for a Management role but don’t have financial qualifications, this can be a hindrance too, as you will need this in senior roles, such as a Care Home Manager, Village Manager, Operations Manager etc - consider taking some courses to give yourself some experience.
- Have a look at roles advertising the type of job you’re after, and read the job description if they include one. Become familiar with exactly what the client is looking for, and spot any gaps you might have, so you can look at ways to gain the skills you need.
- Speak to a really reputable recruiter who knows the industry inside out - they will know exactly what their clients require and which ones focus on different strengths/experience (for example some will consider people in the hospitality sector when they are looking for Village Managers- others won’t), and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
- Talk to people in the industry about their roles, what they involve, where the challenges are, and see where your experience or skills need a boost.
- Make your CV relevant to the role; highlight your relevant/transferrable experience and achievements. A lot of people are good at a lot of things. For you to stand out, your CV needs to be very specific in relation to the role and respond to what the client is looking for.
- Don’t give up. I know of many people who have been declined, who have popped up a few years later in the job they really wanted! Sometimes it can be a long way round, but it’s worth the wait.
It’s a great sector to be part of. It’s genuinely rewarding, also massively frustrating, often misunderstood and poorly presented, but the vast majority of people working in it are amazing, going above and beyond to provide brilliant care to vulnerable elderly. They treat the residents like their own parents/grandparents and become like family themselves. We need more great people to fall in love with this aspect of healthcare!
Thanks so much for sharing this info Andi! We love to hear from our staff about how they came into caregiving and aged care, and what their experience is in the field. If you have anything you would like to share about your experiences working in the sector, we’d love to hear from you too! Ngā mihi nui.