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As the job market within the care sector becomes extraordinarily competitive, finding specialised talent requires an ever more discerning approach to attracting the right candidates.

Building a team of professionals with diverse yet complementary passions and skills is difficult for every growing organisation but in this challenging economy, getting your candidate attraction right, especially when you’re sourcing from the sub-continent, can mean the difference between building a sustainable, effective and contented work force or simply wasting valuable time and money and perpetuating the continual cycle of staff churn.

With so many organisations jumping on the overseas recruitment band wagon, competition for the best available talent in almost all corners of the sub-continent is high and standing out from the crowd and making sure your offering is heard is critical.


So how do you make yourself heard in an environment that is teaming with other organisations looking to hire the same talent?

Contrary to popular rhetoric, paying the most is not always the best way to attract talent to your organisation, particularly when sourcing from overseas. Whilst competitive rates of pay might assist in the overall offering you have, by far the most appealing attribute an employer can offer to an overseas worker is a seamless transition from country of origin to the UK together with a welcoming, wrap around culture and a clear career path.

The on-line reputation of your organisation is also crucial in today’s digital age, each potential candidate is just a few clicks away from establishing their own short list of potential suiters. In order to attract the best nurses to work in care roles whilst they train for their OSCE, you should be able to make your company’s culture visible and attractive to potential candidates.


Getting your brand message and corporate ethos across to potential candidates is paramount prior to embarking on the attraction process. Hiring from overseas is a pull rather than a push strategy. It’s not just about advertising your job openings; it’s about marketing yourself as an employer, promoting your organization and work culture.

Candidate attraction marketing is similar to traditional marketing as it includes the same four stages: awareness, interest, decision, and action/retention.

Your recruitment marketing methodologies will help attract, engage, and nurture your relationship with qualified talent throughout the recruitment life cycle. This is particularly important when engaging with workers from overseas where person to person meetings have not been possible. Creating an environment where your candidates feel valued and welcomed from the moment of engagement should aim to ensure that those you ultimately select at interview stage, will remain motivated throughout the compliance, biometric and visa gaining process.

The additional complexities of overseas recruitment over domestic recruitment increases the need to establish a durable connection with candidates as early as possible in the recruitment process.

The way in which you present your organisation as a potential employer to prospective candidates is likely to have a direct effect on the outcome of your recruitment campaign.

Whilst you might have spent months or years developing your online presence, your message to candidates when hiring domestically can be vastly different to that of the ideal message for those from overseas.


The candidate journey for an overseas candidate is markedly different from that of a UK based candidate and your message needs to include information about not only the job description but also the candidate journey and the pros and cons of working and living in the UK. Their decision to move away from their homes and family raises the magnitude of their decision considerably and to address this, your message needs reflect a warm welcome that will help develop a confidence in prospective candidates to allay their possible concerns about the journey they are considering.

They will want to be re-assured that they are joining a company that cares, values and respects its workforce and offers pathways for development and access to training.

It is also worth remembering, good news travels fast, bad news travels faster. A successful first foray into the overseas recruitment world is of paramount importance. Getting it right the first time and successfully migrating a happy cohort of workers results in an avalanche of social media positivity within the countless chat groups used in the region of source. Word soon travels and candidate gathering for future campaigns become far easier. However, get it wrong and the process becomes a far more difficult task for future recruitment plans.

Conversely, credibility can easily be lost during the migration or compliance aspect which can result in an entire region becoming a no-go zone. Rebuilding or repairing a damaged reputation in order to regain the trust of a talent pool far more costly, both financially and in terms of time second time around. Taking the time to get it right the first time pays huge dividends.

There are a number of ways that this message can be effectively delivered using a combination of social media, webinars as well as more traditional methods of communication and all of these can be used to transmit a consistent message about the benefits of migrating to the UK to join your organisation.

To assist in getting the right message to prospective candidates, having a strong and mutually respectful relationship with the associate agents in the country or region of source is also one of the key aspects of a successful campaign. Remember, there are many organisations speaking to these agents every day to attempt to attract the best talent. Developing a good relationship with these organisations, to a large extent, will impact on the speed of attraction as well as improving the quality of candidates. But again, how much you pay is not their priority either, much like the workers, they are looking for a smooth and speedy migration and integration process which in turn reflects well on them.

Harley Medical can help you avoid the potential early pitfalls and help you navigate your first excursion in overseas recruitment to ensure your reputation and appeal to potential workers remains high at all times.


1. Compile the job description and create your brand messaging:

Once you’ve compiled the job description, work out what the supporting messaging will be and how that will be communicated. Use social media to re-affirm your candidate attraction messages. It is also useful to compile a short promo video, particularly if you can add endorsements from existing employees.

2. Profile the ideal candidate:

Create a profile of your ideal candidate so that you have a bench mark against which you can measure the suitability of candidates being interviewed and provide context for the agents who will be attracting the candidates.

3. Identify and target the talent pool specifically

The job of the recruitment agent is to target the talent pools and push the brand messaging to obtain the initial engagement from candidates. At Harley Medical we invite our clients to participate in webinars to help promote the brand message to attending candidates. Client attendance at webinars significantly improves candidate response.

4. Screening ahead of interviews

Once candidates have expressed an interest in being interviewed, the recruitment agent needs to undertake pre-screening to ensure the candidates attending interviews have the basic requirements in terms of right to work, qualifications and communication skills.


We are often asked by clients whether sending representatives to the country of source helps with the candidate attraction process. The short answer is not generally. Whilst there are always some circumstances where face to face does work, these tend to be very much the exception rather than the rule. Candidate attraction across the sub-continent tends to be better served by on-line engagement largely because the vast distances that need to be covered and the limitations of public transport which often prohibit bringing candidates together in one place. Also, the sheer volume of candidates can also make in country meetings prohibitive and difficult to organise. At Harley Medical we work with a network of ethical agencies in the countries from which we source candidates who help promote the brand messaging to their own talent pools via social media and email.


The decision to ‘self source’ when looking to secure overseas staff needs careful consideration. Whilst there may be some cost savings obtained by self sourcing, the process is far more complex than domestic recruitment and can easily derail through poor talent attraction, process delays and sporadic communication. Establishing reliable supply contacts on the sub-continent also brings it's own challenges particularly when the threat of exploitation is so high, difficult to detect and hard to combat, not to mention potentially damaging to your brand. Using an agency with established connections, a proven track record and a robust migration process can help navigate the otherwise difficult overseas recruitment process to ensure its success. If you get it right, overseas recruitment can address many of your staffing challenges for the long term. If you get it wrong, without the guidance of an expert agency, it can under deliver a short term fix that simply won’t endure long-term as the overseas hires become disheartened and drift quickly to alternative sponsor organisations or return home.

Harley Medical, together with our expert partners in the country of origin, through our depth of experience, know precisely what attracts nurses to work in the UK whilst they hone their specific nursing skills.

It's widely accepted that one of the most beneficial and valuable aspects of overseas recruitment is the staff retention levels that can be attained. Harley Medical clients are currently benefiting from up to 99.75% retention of overseas workers.

UP NEXT: The next topic in our Overseas Medical Recruitment blog series is: The Power of Effective Onboarding and Resettlement. Due for publication on [date].

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