Social care recruiting using social media – how a council recruited a senior leader using YouTube

by | Jul 11, 2011

Today’s the deadline for social care professionals interested in the vacant post of Head of Children’s Services to apply for the post – hopefully those who go for job have a good idea about what to expect after watching potential colleagues and the previous Head of Children’s Services on YouTube.

What did we do?

Simon Burch, our Chief Officer for Social Care and Health explained:

“This is a key post at an exciting time and in order to give candidates a flavour of what we are doing in Monmouthshire we have have done some short YouTube videos to give people a better feel for us here in Monmouthshire. None of us made it to RADA though so please concentrate on the message, not the messenger!

“In the first one I introduce Monmouthshire Social Care and Health Directorate. In the second clip Tracy Allison, the current Head of Children’s Services, talks about her last three years in the post. Then Hannah Thyer, one of our social workers describes what it’s like working in Children’s Services in Monmouthshire. And finally Julie Boothroyd, Head of Adult Services, talks about her experience as a member of the Directorate Management Team.”

We embedded the YouTube clips into the careers page. We then posted links on Twitter (with hashtags #socialcare and #social services) and Linkedin groups (Advanced Social Work Practice Network, Network for professionals working with vulnerable children and young people, Social Services UK, Social Work Network and The Social Care Network) to draw people’s attention to the page. This was in addition to the more traditional methods of advertising but adverts pointed to the page with the videos too.


Why do it?

We want the right person for the role. We felt that factors that would influence how much we would want a job were the culture of the organisation, the requirements of the job and the kind of people we would work with. So we tried to answer the questions people would be curious about.

For example, this post is a a bit more ‘hands-on’ than it would be in many other larger authorities, and the previous person in the post, Tracy Allison, explains this in her video. This is worth knowing – of course the job is strategic but there are other responsibilities that might not be appealing to one person but would be a main draw for others. It’s best to get it out there so nobody wastes time applying for a job they don’t want or before somebody overlooks the job that’s perfect for them.

It allows applicants to be armed with some details they wouldn’t have got in a standard Word document or online application form.

I think the team in social services are a lovely bunch. The videos give a good taste of what colleagues are like and I believe the videos reflect a motivated team of people who feel valued in their jobs. That is worth considering when applying for a job.

How did we do it?

It took a working day and a bit of work to write scripts, film, edit, upload to YouTube and embed the videos. I’m no expert on filming as you’ll probably see if you take a look. I went for a plain white background to make it simple and make editing easier – our focus was on the message: it was substance over style for this one.


I haven’t got a good sense of how successful this is yet and will update this post when I have page views, information about if candidates watched them (not just family and friends of our stars!) and hopefully some thoughts from the person who gets the job. We’ll never know how many watched and decided not to apply!

It’s been pointed out by a colleague that the videos could have been branded a lot better and one of our Monmouthshire Twitter followers said it could have been much slicker. Hands up, fair points. I will aim to polish up my skills!

But comments from Linkedin have been encouraging and supportive.

“…it could ‘swing’ a decision on applying..”

“I think this is the way forward and will show candidates you are being innovative in your approach. I think it will give potential candidates more of a feel for the role and type of culture etc..”

“Yep – it’s a good idea and I’ll be using YouTube for our organisation’s communications.”

So that’s kind. The proof will be in who we recruit I guess but I also think that the videos are there to show the people behind the job and put a human face to an incredibly important service.

You can watch the videos and find out more about the job at and I’ve embedded them below too.

*UPDATE 24/07/11*

We have appointed and feedback from the interview panel was that all the candidates at interview were impressive.  This is not exactly a scientific evaluation but I asked Vannessa Glenn, our new Head of Children’s Services, a few questions (which she kindly answered despite not even starting the job yet!). She has some great ideas to make this form of recruiting more engaging.

Did the content of the videos give you a positive impression of the organisation?
“I was very impressed with the contents of the videos, especially Simon and your current Head of Children’s Services. This was really about the content, both individuals spoke very warmly and were very descriptive about the journey that Monmouthshire has been on. The explanation about how the head of service role is carried out in Monmouthshire, straddling both the strategic and the operational really ticked all of my boxes. This is because over all of these years I recognise that these are my strengths and I enjoy managing in this way. I thought that at times the verbal presentation was a bit hesitant but that was okay because it almost invited you into listen as you wondered what the individual might say next.  All in all, the breadth of the video clips reflected the value base that Monmouthshire has of being inclusive,supportive and creative.”

Did the videos influence your decision to apply?
“Yes, I think they did for the reasons given above.”

Would you encourage other departments/organisations to use this method of recruiting?
“Yes, I would as the video clip gives you a glimpse into the inner world – if you don’t as an individual feel that it matches your value base or your concept of the role and the responsibilities then you can make the decision not to apply.”

Did you think this form of recruitment was innovative?
“Yes, I have not seen it integrated into the advert in this way before. I have seen DVDs which have been sent out to social workers for recruitment purposes in other authorities. But in this case this was different because it was very focused on the post, the service and the county in very short shots which were very focused.!

Any other thoughts? Anything you’d change?
“You ask if there is anything that I might change. I do not think that there is because this worked really well. There is something about the fact that everyone contributed in their own manner, some people clearly found it easier than others but sometimes it does not need to be too polished. You might want to consider some type of pictorial mosaic from young people about the highlights in their county that can be seen in addition. As someone who does not live in the county I have spent a lot of time researching the county and this added dimension might have assisted me where to look – for example ten top places to see in Monmouthshire or ten things you need to know before you work here.”




  1. John Brana


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Hel Reynolds

Hel Reynolds

Author of this post

Hel is social media trainer and boss of Comms Creatives. She has been working in comms since 2005, and has been brushing up her expertise in social media for brands since the good old days of MySpace. She also draws the Comms Cartoons, and is usually attached to a mug of coffee.

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