We’re Home Care Pulse, a leading provider of experience management & surveys, caregiver/CNA training, and online reputation management.

With 10.4 million job openings in the U.S. right now, last year’s hiring efforts won’t make the cut. Update your recruitment strategy to include these 6 vital ingredients to compete in today’s competitive job market.

I remember when I tried to wing my grandpa’s famous Norwegian Krumkake recipe. Growing up, I had seen my mom make them dozens of times, so I relied on my memory for the recipe. In the process, I forgot multiple ingredients, couldn’t remember the measurements of others, and ended up improvising the tools and length needed to bake them. I was left with a very vague resemblance of the traditional cookie that no one wanted to try and would certainly make my ancestors roll over in their grave.

Needless to say, I’ll be baking with the family recipe book open from now on.

Like baking, successful recruitment requires following a strategy with precise measurements in order to create an irresistible employment opportunity that everyone wants a piece of.

While there are 10.4 million job openings in the U.S. right now, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 73% of those unemployed are only passively seeking a new job. That’s a lot of potential hires whose attention you need to win with a powerful recruitment strategy—one that you don’t want to be stuck improvising.

Like everyone’s first batch, it takes consistent trial and error before you create a recruitment mix that meets your agency’s needs and produces your desired candidates.

While most agencies will find success by applying all of these methods, don’t pour everything into the mix at once. Focus on one or two strategies that would benefit your agency the most right now, then slowly add more ingredients to your recruitment recipe once you’ve mastered the first few.

Build your agency’s secret recipe for hiring the best talent by:

  • Using Online Job Postings

  • Networking at Career Fairs

  • Holding a Virtual Hiring Event

  • Incentivizing Employees with Referral Programs

  • Expediting Your Onboarding Process

  • Telling Your Story with an Employer Brand


Use Online Job Postings

Why this recruitment method is trending:

According to Pew Research, millennials make up the largest population of the U.S. workforce and 85% of them start their job search online. This means your online presence will make or break your recruitment strategy.

While most home care employers aren’t experienced web designers, you are competing with employers who are and will easily attract younger employees with a well-designed post.

Job postings published on Indeed rank as the top caregiver recruitment method, according to the 2021 Home Care Benchmarking Study. In fact, 37% of providers ranked Indeed as their most effective source to attract and hire job seekers.

Obstacles you may encounter:

Although ranked as the highest recruitment method, Indeed online job postings produced a 76% turnover rate, as only 25% of employees found through a job board will stay longer than 2 years.

This means that although Indeed may attract the highest number of new hires, most online job postings are not attracting long-term caregivers. Without effort to attract your ideal candidates, your current job postings may be a recipe for decreased retention.

How to make the most of this method:

Instead of letting Indeed’s high foot traffic go to waste by eliminating this ingredient altogether, optimize your job postings to attract the type of talent that will stay.

In a recent episode of our podcast with Rachel Gartner, CEO of recruitment consulting firm Carework, explained how to attract caregivers who are looking to work:

“I love when people want to share what sets apart their agency, but what we kind of caution people is to not make that the first thing on your ad, because caregivers are not looking for a volunteer opportunity, they’re looking for a job.”

Your culture is important, but when it comes to online job postings, front-load your ad with the kind of information that will make your ideal candidate click “apply,” such as the qualifications and expectations for the position.

Tweak your online job postings to grab the attention of applicants and see increased employee retention:

Although your job postings are the first business pitch potential employees see, your online job postings will drive more results if you create an enticing post with the reader in mind. Before you sell your agency’s story, be transparent about what the applicant will get out of applying to your agency to start attracting employees who know what they are signing up for.

Network at Career Fairs

Why this recruitment method is trending:

Career fairs are the one place where everyone who walks by your booth is looking for a job.

According to a study done by Forbes, the average American sees about 4,000 to 10,000 media messages a day. From the brands on your processed foods in the pantry to the advertisement that popped up during your Spotify playlist, humans have gotten good at tuning out ads.

Career fairs help you cut through the noise by drawing job seekers focused on finding a career path in a physical setting where your agency’s message gets the chance to be heard. Rather than shouting into the void on the internet and hoping it reaches someone perfect for your niche, your agency has a chance to one of only a handful of companies competing for your candidates’ attention.

Obstacles you may encounter:

A physical presence at career fairs takes time, effort, and resources to be successful. You’ll need an eye-catching booth to draw candidates in, as well as printed materials to ensure they’ll remember to apply after the event. You’ll also want to bring a few of your most engaging caregivers, so they get prospective employees excited about your agency.

If you don’t have the time to really plan out your presence at a career fair, this method may backfire, driving away potential applicants. Make sure everyone from your team attending the event is on the same page and prepared to support your recruitment efforts.

How to make the most of this method:

Career fairs provide the unique opportunity for your audience to engage with your brand and personally witness what it would be like to work with you. Enlist some of your most personable caregivers to give job seekers a taste of your culture and see a demonstration of your agency’s value.

Since your booth only has a couple seconds to grab the attention of those walking by, prepare handouts that explain your company’s mission. This may include literature about your agency, free branded items like lanyards, pens or water bottles, and candy.

Consider putting a TV behind your booth to display footage of what your company culture is like, advertisements for your agency, or even just a website walkthrough to show people how to learn more and apply.

Careers fairs allow you to connect with prospective employees and show you care about meeting them before they even know what you do.

Hold a Virtual Hiring Event

Why this recruitment method is trending:

As the pandemic caused 70% of the American workforce to work remotely, expectations in the workplace have changed. Job seekers are looking for companies who take the stress off in-person meetings and allow room for a more hybrid job search. As a result, 38% of employers have updated their video technology to allow for more hybrid collaboration.

Virtual events will appeal to today’s workforce accustomed to Zoom meetings and enable you to streamline weeks of hiring into a single day in a casual setting. This method is similar to a career fair, but with one major advantage: you’re the only voice in the room.

Obstacles you may encounter:

While this method carries major benefits, it also requires a clear plan to be successful. For better or worse, you’ll have your candidates’ full attention at a virtual hiring event, so decide ahead of time the major takeaways you’d like to leave job seekers with after your event.

You don’t need to be a computer expert to run a successful online event, but you will need some level of familiarity with the tools you plan to use. Long technical delays or poor audio and video quality will cause potential caregivers to tune out, lessening the impact of your event. Consider a practice run of your event to work out any bugs before the big day.

How to make the most of this method:

Virtual hiring events will eliminate interview no-shows as they provide you with an opportunity to get caregivers started on the application process while the excitement of your agency is fresh on their minds.

Set aside a couple hours to host a virtual open house:

  • Choose a time in the evening to see the greatest turnout.

  • Advertise the event on social media, to your current employees, with local colleges/universities, and on your website and popular job sites.

  • Collect RSVPs and contact information of interested attendees using a Google Form, a landing page on your website, or a Facebook event.

  • Eliminate no-shows by conducting interviews right on the spot.

  • Conduct one-on-one interviews using break out rooms.

  • Leave time for a Q&A session.

  • Follow up with those who attended the event live.


Interact with attendees to find great additions to your culture and save yourself weeks of recruiting.

Incentivize Employees with Referral Programs

Why this recruitment method is trending:

An employee referral program may sound like it benefits the employee, but a well-established program will benefit you more.

Employee referrals can save you over $7,500 in hiring and sourcing costs per hire. Referrals are processed through the hiring process quicker and are more likely to stay with your agency for years.

Not only that, but employee referral programs and word of mouth referrals resulted in the lowest caregiver turnover rates compared to any other caregiver recruitment source in 2020.

Top Caregiver Recruitment Sources

(Note: To take a closer look at the image above, right-click to “open in new tab.”)

Obstacles you may encounter:

Is your employee referral program well known by every employee on your staff, or is it hidden as a nice employee perk in the back of the handbook?

Employers frequently don’t invest enough in their referral program because they get too caught up in focusing on outside recruitment efforts. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to recruiting new talent, you just need to leverage the best resource you already have: your caregivers.

How to make the most of this method:

Make it easier for your employees to refer their friends. Announce job postings to your staff and encourage them to tell you if they know of someone who would be a great fit. Consider providing resources for employees to easily pass along your company’s values to potential candidates.

Make your employee referral program a competitive recruiting tool that speaks to your company’s culture:

  • Offer a cash incentive and explain the parameters of the program to each employee: It costs $2,600 to replace a caregiver. Offer a cash bonus for employees who refer new hires to save money in the long run. Clarify how and when bonuses will be given out.

  • Remember the purpose of your referral program is to increase recruitment and retention: Offer one bonus to the referring employee when the new referral is hired and another bonus when they have stayed with your company for 90 days, since 57% of caregiver turnover happens within those first 3 months.

  • Track the program’s effectiveness: If you already have an employee referral program and aren’t seeing the desired results, dissect where in the process your employees are getting stuck. Do your new hires know about the program? Are your current hires up to date on how to qualify for a referral incentive? Is your incentive enticing enough? Is your incentive timeline attainable?


Take your employee referral program to the next level by creating a culture that employees already love talking about.

Survey your caregivers to identify your blind spots. Create a work environment everyone wants to be a part of by finding out which aspects of your culture your employees rave about and which parts they wish you’d improve.

Expedite Your Onboarding Process

Why this recruitment method is trending:

Over 10 million job postings are competing for your applicants’ attention right now. If a candidate decides to choose yours—don’t let it go to waste, because the clock is ticking!

Employee satisfaction rises to 82% when they experience an efficient onboarding process, and drops to 20% if they had a choppy orientation.

In an employee’s market, it is crucial to be the first employer who responds to an excited candidate and sets up an interview to get the ball rolling. Your potential caregivers are applying to multiple jobs at once, which means a speedy onboarding process keep your caregivers’ attention and help solidify your agency as their first choice before someone else reaches out.

Obstacles you may encounter:

The biggest onboarding challenge an agency faces is getting caregivers to show up for their first day. Since 57% of caregiver turnover happens in the first 90 days of employment, consider the crucial 90-day timer to begin as soon as an offer letter is accepted.

It is common for candidates interested in home care to continue applying elsewhere even after they’ve accepted your offer. An excellent candidate can quickly become a no-show on their first day simply because another employer managed to hire and onboard them faster.

Employers need to create a streamlined onboarding process that both equips caregivers with all the information they need and keeps them actively engaged in the process from day one.

How to make the most of this method:

Home care owners are being presented with a unique hiring position compared to other industries. Over half of caregivers state that they can begin working within 3 days, a quicker start date than most, considering the average employee begins work two weeks after signing an offer letter.

Your applicants are ready to commit to the first employer who gets back to them. Take advantage of a caregiver’s quick turnaround from accepted offer to first day on the job by using the saved time to invest in their training.

According to the Annual HCP Benchmarking Report, caregivers with less than 3 hours of orientation training brought in $11,000 worth of revenue, but those who receive 8 hours or more were worth over $15,000 in revenue. Spending 5 hours more in orientation training is an investment that will make your agency $4,000 more per new hire.

(Note: To take a closer look at the image above, right-click to “open in new tab.”)

Appeal to caregivers by getting them in the door with a short application process and an efficient onboarding experience that gets their first paycheck in their hands before other employers have the chance to respond.

HCP Benchmarking Study

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Tell Your Story with an Employer Brand

Why this recruitment method is trending:

While we’re all guilty of choosing a name brand grocery item simply because of its reputation. If your agency comes across as a generic home care provider, what is to stop prospective employees from choosing an agency with a more established and enticing employer brand?

In a 2018 Reputation Management Study by the MRI Network, researchers found that 71% of job seekers would not accept a job offer from an employer with a weak or bad employment brand.

Obstacles you may encounter:

The most common misconception employers make is to assume their company only has one brand. In reality, your agency has two brands: your company brand and your employer brand.

Contrary to popular belief, the branding doesn’t end with your logo, mission statement and company colors. An employer brand is the influence you have within your industry to position your organization as an employer of choice.

Developing a strong employer brand requires employers to set time aside to consciously identify your company values and intentionally craft the kind of experience you want your employees to have.

How to make the most of this method:

Hireology’s Director of Health Care Market Growth, Chris Mercer, explained how your employer brand will serve as your best recruitment tool:

“An excellent employer brand will basically serve as an organization’s best recruitment tool to persuade job seekers that your organization is an employer of choice. As an employer, your most important first step is to build a really strong employer brand.”

Take control of the message your employer brand is communicating by redefining how applicants view your agency:

  • Survey employees and check your online reviews to evaluate how your brand is currently perceived by the public.

  • As an agency, define your desired employer brand in 3-5 core values.

  • Identify one concrete step you can take to promote each of your core values in the next month (for example, if one is “continuous learning,” you can create additional training paths for your caregivers.)

  • Earn a reputation that brings your caregivers to you.


Establishing a memorable employer brand is a trend you can’t afford to miss out on. Stand out from the thousands of companies hiring right now by distinguishing yourself with a reputation everyone trusts.

Learn What Your Caregivers Respond Best To

With 10 million open jobs, becoming an agency others compete to work for isn’t an option; it’s a requirement to succeed.

HCP Experience Management takes the guessing game out of which ingredient should be your top focus by getting real, unbiased feedback from your caregivers.

Want a peek at the secret recipe of the most successful agencies? Find out what the Top 100 Leaders in Experience are doing to attract and retain their caregivers in the Best of Home Care Awards Webinar.

Read more:

HCP’s Care Intelligence Platform offers RN-developed training, satisfaction surveys, and reputation management tools to help you become the best employer and provider in your area—and make sure everyone knows about it.

Like it the old fashioned way?


  1. Athena January 17, 2022 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Great strategies here, Julie!

    • Julie Redd January 24, 2022 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for reading, Athena!

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