Over half of your new hires will quit this year—at $2,600 in turnover costs per caregiver, that’s an onboarding oversight you can’t afford to make. Learn how to adjust your interview process to identify the caregivers who will stick around.
According to the 2021 Annual Benchmarking Study, while 47% of all interviewees were hired as caregivers, turnover rate remained at 65%. A new hire may give your agency a quick win, but it’s clear the existing interview process isn’t identifying dependable, long-term caregivers, and it’s hurting your business. It is costing your agency an average of $2,600 per caregiver—and the headache of replacing over half your employees each year.
Why are good quality applicants making it past the interview but not past one year of employment?
74% of employers believe their biggest recruiting challenge is the lack of qualified candidates to choose from, but 31.4% of workers in the U.S. voluntarily left their job from September 2020 to September 2021. Qualified candidates are ready and available; you just need to know your audience.
Create an interview process that connects with candidates who believe in your agency’s mission and moves them to act on it by implementing these 6 essential steps into your interview process:
Know what you’re looking for by defining your ideal candidate ahead of time.
Set candidates up for success by offering total transparency about the benefits, challenges, and expectations that come with the role.
Target long-term candidates by asking questions about specific past experiences and hypothetical scenarios.
Keep the attention of your candidates through consistent contact and expectations.
Keep candidates engaged by following through with a smooth onboarding process.
Become an agency caregivers compete to work for by strengthening your employer brand.
1. Know what you’re looking for by defining your ideal candidate ahead of time.
Picture the perfect caregiver for your agency. Who are they? Do you know what it takes to attract them?
It’s tempting to offer a position to someone who isn’t a perfect fit while desperate for employees, but 65% of those caregivers aren’t staying past the first year. Not quite the fix you’d hoped! Knowing what your ideal candidate looks like before heading into the interview will help keep you from making subpar hires.
Identify the skills and qualities that benefit your agency the most by learning from your top performers. Create a persona profile based on your most successful caregivers to keep you focused on who would be the best fit for your agency and which skill gaps your agency still needs to fill.
Keep in mind, your specific persona will vary depending on the needs of your agency. Not every caregiver has to fit your mold exactly, but it will help you know which employees check enough boxes off the list and keep you from making poor hires due to desperation.
2. Set candidates up for success by offering total transparency about the benefits, challenges, and expectations that come with the role.
Honesty saves you money: $2,600 per caregiver, to be exact.
It can be tempting to describe the reality of caregiving through rose-colored glasses but doing so is a recipe for high turnover. Offering complete honesty about the pay, benefits, hours, and day-to-day challenges expected for the job will cause some candidates to drop out of the hiring process—which is a good thing.
Interviews are a two-way street. Transparency allows candidates who would be a poor fit the opportunity to self-select out of the position before you put a lot of resources into hiring and training them.
List your benefits, pay, and expectations into the job description. In the interview, ask candidates how they handle common tough home care situations to ensure whoever you hire knows (and is ready to take on) exactly what they’re getting into.
3. Target long-term candidates by asking questions about specific past experiences and hypothetical scenarios.
Ever have the perfect interview with a candidate, only for them to realize on the first day that they aren’t up for the job? You’re not alone. This is an inconvenience and disappointment to you and humiliating for caregivers who often feel the need to excuse why they can’t come in to work after wowing you in the interview.
The questions you ask can make or break the interview. Most caregiver turnover happens in the first 3 months of employment because employers misread a candidate’s true ability to deliver what their agency needed. Update your interview questions to accurately assess each candidate’s potential and see their problem-solving skills in action.
Questions about past experiences:
Tell me about a time when you worked with a difficult client or customer. What made it difficult to work with them, and what did you do to resolve the issue?
What is your proudest achievement from a past job?
Tell me about a your previous caregiving experiences. What part of the experience was most the difficult, and what was most meaningful to you?
Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at a past job. What did you do to correct it?
Describe for me how the experience on your resume has helped you build the skills necessary to be a good caregiver.
What do you believe is the most important skill for a caregiver to have? Tell me about a time when you’ve demonstrated this skill, as a caregiver or in another line of work.
If you were hiring someone for this position, what are the top three skills or traits that you would look for?
Hypothetical scenario questions:
If a client of yours refused to [take a shower, eat their meal, go to the bathroom, etc.], how would you deal with the situation?
How would you respond to a client who used rude or derogatory language toward you?
If we could bring your pet in here right now and ask it for a reference about your personality, what would it say?
Asking leading questions like these will give the candidate an opportunity to show, rather than tell, exactly how committed they are to the position and why they would be the perfect fit.
4. Keep the attention of your candidates through consistent contact and expectations.
Companies who don’t update their candidates on the next steps in the hiring process assume that they are the only agency their employees are applying to—which simply isn’t the case. While you want to take the time to ensure you hire the best employee, you need to make sure competitors don’t scoop them up first.
The average hiring process for a caregiver should ideally take 10 days from application to offer letter. It’s important to make sure candidates know exactly what the interview process looks like and when they can expect to hear from you next.
Lack of communication ranks as one of the highest complaints from caregivers; your interview process is an opportunity to address it before a caregiver even joins your team. Frequent touchpoints will help caregivers get a taste of what it is like to communicate with you, as well as the accountability that will be expected of them.
Call candidates after their interview with clear instructions for moving forward. Stay in consistent contact with your candidates to keep them excited about your agency throughout the hiring process.
5. Keep candidates engaged by following through with a smooth onboarding process.
The hiring process doesn’t end once an offer is accepted. 57% of caregiver turnover happens in the first 90 days, making the days between the interview and the start date the most crucial time you have to persuade caregivers to stay.
Use this time to prove to candidates that they made the right choice, leaving them excited to show up on their first day. Just like you expect them to deliver on who they said they were in the interview, they’re expecting you to deliver the culture, benefits, and employer brand that persuaded them to accept your offer.
Consider launching a mentor program, a proven step to reduce caregiver turnover in the first 90 days. In the interview, discuss how your onboarding will train caregivers on the basics to help them feel comfortable in their new role. Showcasing your smooth and thorough onboarding process will minimize early turnover.
6. Become an agency caregivers compete to work for by strengthening your employer brand.
“If we want to feel an undying passion for our work, if we want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we all need to know our ‘why’,” Simon Sinek.
Does your why get new hires out of bed in the morning?
In today’s competitive employee job market, other businesses are offering increased hourly wages and unprecedented signing bonuses. To attract caregivers who aren’t just in it for the paycheck, your employer brand needs to attract candidates who feel job and personal fulfillment through helping others.
86% of millennials, who will make up over 75% of the workforce by 2025, would take a pay cut to work in an environment where the company’s values are similar to their own. A strong employer brand is your agency’s “why,” and it will be the key to resonating with candidates who share your vision for the future.
Strengthen your employer brand by defining or revisiting your agency’s core values. Take the time to gather feedback from current employees to discover the blind spots your agency could improve upon and which aspects of your culture they like the most.
Sinek continues, “If we expect people to live the core values of an organization, we have to be able to tell them what those values look like in action.”
After evaluating what your current employer brand is and what you would like it to be, show candidates how you live up to it. Feature your company’s culture throughout the interview process to give both parties the opportunity to decide whether your mission fits their values and their why.
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Let Your Reviews Bring Candidates to You
You’re now one step closer to hiring the best long-term caregivers out there. The final step is updating your online reputation to communicate your carefully crafted employer brand. Even as you’re reading this, you are being Googled!
In fact, the first thing 88% of prospective candidates do is investigate what others are saying about the company they are about to interview for. What are they seeing when they research what it is like to work for your agency?
Take control of the message your agency is communicating by managing your online reputation to attract the best candidates to fit your agency’s needs.