6 Tips to Improve the Recruitment Experience and Attract More Applicants

Home Care Office Staff Hiring Tips

With agencies racing to find and hire the best talent, it’s important to stay on top of any new trends or best practices. 

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Recruitment is a highly competitive facet of home care. With agencies racing to find and hire the best talent, it’s important to stay on top of any new trends or best practices.

On a previous episode of Vision: The Home Care Leaders Podcast, Miriam Allred spoke with Adam Robinson, CEO of Hireology, to discuss the top-producing job sites, communication with applicants, recruitment strategies, and technology. With the relevance of this advice in the face of continuing hiring challenges, we’ll be breaking down this information a little further.

Here are some of the top recruitment tips you should be implementing into your strategy.

(Some of his comments have been edited for clarity.)

#1: Prepare to tell your story.

With the ongoing staffing challenges that the home care industry faces, it’s important to look for candidates that might not have a background in home care, but could still do the job well (retail, food service, hospitality, etc.). After all, not only are you competing with others agencies, but you’re competing with other industries for the same labor pool.

With the variety of candidates you’re targeting, it’s important that you’re doing everything you can to stand out. You need to start sharing your story – and be intentional about it.

So, if you’re targeting those outside of the industry (who aren’t currently caregivers), you might want to address why moving into our industry is a good move, and why you’re the best agency to start with.

Candidates often feel a deeper connection to their job and agency when they know the “why” behind what they’re doing.

Since many candidates may have a hard time seeing themselves in home care, you need to give them a vision of not only while they’ll enjoy it, but how they’ll be in a job that improves people’s lives. It’s important to be up-front about your mission/ability to improve people’s lives and use that as your competitive advantage in hiring.

We talk to hundreds of home care agencies every day and have found that those who can really tell their story from an employment branding standpoint have been able to really stand out and often get a bigger return on investment.

Here at Home Care Pulse, we tell our story through five core values. In the interview process, it’s not uncommon for us to hear that applicants were inspired by these and live their personal life on the same philosophy. This is the kind of storytelling you can do to create a memorable, attractive, experience.

HOME CARE AGENCY CASE STUDY

“We’ve used the scores/awards in our recruiting and even hung employee scores in our offices so that new applicants can see what it’s like to work for us from the perspective of a potential peer.” – Richard Ruda
Read Their Story

#2: Meet applicants where they’re at.

As anyone that works in caregiver recruitment knows, it’s all too easy to lose contact with applicants because of human error, slow communication, or because the applicant simply stops replying. So, how can you improve your ability to connect with applicants and keep the communication going?

The simplest solution? Meet them where they’re at.

While it might be easier said than done, by continually evaluating the habits and trends of your caregivers and applicants, you’ll be able to better adapt to their communication styles.

According to Robinson, half of the applicants applying to these open positions use their phone as the exclusive device during their job search.

To capitalize on this, there are many things you can do, like testing the process (which we’ll talk about later) and implementing new channels of communication like texting.

With most applicants and employees having a smartphone, text is now a critical channel. According to Robinson, interview and day one no show rates drop off considerably – about 20 to 25% – if texting is used as the means for scheduling and reminders versus email.

#3: Recruit through multiple sources.

There are hundreds of recruitment sources you can use to find candidates; however, according to the data we’ve collected in the 2020 Home Care Benchmarking Study, Indeed.com is the top recruitment source in terms of the volume of applicants.

It’s important to note though, through some studies that Hireology has conducted, Facebook is the recruitment source with the most growth in 2020; it’s growing faster than any other channel.

With the variety of sources, it can be overwhelming to choose which ones to home in on. We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the sources that we’ve heard to be most beneficial for home care agencies:

There are still many other options to choose from. We suggest analyzing your data to see which recruitment sources produce the highest results for you and which have the lowest rate of turnover.

As you continue optimizing your recruitment process, another thing you’ll want to remember is that hiring for a job uses the same strategy as marketing a product. You’ll need a selling mindset to convince applicants why they should choose your agency over their many other options.

Among the biggest factors in your ability to “sell” your jobs is the copy you use. You’ll want a clear and concise job description, a detailed list of whatever experience, skills, or qualifications are required to be successful, a clear understanding of advancement opportunities, and details about compensation.

As recruiting leader Matthew Jeffery said,

Recruitment is marketing. If you’re a recruiter nowadays and you don’t see yourself as a marketer, you’re in the wrong profession.

An interesting point Robinson mentioned in the podcast is that over the last 12 months, diversity and inclusion-related topics or initiatives have played a bigger role in the hiring process.

It’s important that you’re taking the time to understand your caregivers, and potential caregivers, and address whatever is most important to them. By staying on top of satisfaction and receiving feedback on a consistent basis, you’ll be able to get a better grasp on this.

#4: Test your own hiring experience.

Would you be enticed by your own recruitment experience? It’s a big question, but one worth asking. Fortunately, there are ways to test this.

Think of yourself as being like a secret shopper. You hop online, find a job ad from your company, and go through the motions of applying. This gives you the opportunity to note anything that might be inconsistent or inconvenient, and then act on simplifying the process.

Like we mentioned before, most applicants are using their phone to apply. Is your process mobile-friendly? That’s something you’ll want to keep in the back of your mind as you experience your process firsthand.

In the early days of Wikipedia, the volume of articles being published was incredibly low and the website was struggling to take off. At his wit’s end, Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales decided to go through the publishing process himself by trying to submit an article he wrote. He was shocked at the level of friction in the process, which included more than seven levels of review. He shortened the process drastically; within weeks, the number of articles being published increased exponentially and the site rapidly grew to become the fountain of knowledge we know and use today.

While Wikipedia is a wildly different business model than a home care agency, the principle holds true: as a business owner, sometimes you need to test out the business’ processes yourself.

#5: Have a dedicated process.

Recruitment is a tricky game to play – but by having a dedicated process, you’ll likely experience fewer bumps in the road.

Hand-in-hand with testing your experience is making sure that applicants don’t have to jump through any hoops. You want to make the process as simple as possible.

By putting people at the center of your business and asking the question, “What can I do to be the best employer in my market?” you’ll be able to increase satisfaction and retention in the blink of an eye – or seemingly so. Of course, having this mindset is the first step, but taking action is next.

First, you’ll want to be intentional about the process by responding to all applicants, no matter their background or experience. Since they’re taking the time to apply, you should be taking the time to respond, even if it’s a simple “Thanks for applying. We’ve decided to move forward with other candidates…” email or text. Consistent communication (even with rejected applicants) plays an often-hidden role in building your employer brand within your community.

Another important thing to note is that we’ve often found that the first agency to respond to an applicant is usually the one that wins the hire. There are a lot of opportunities out there and applicants are likely firing off their resumes.

In fact, 90% of applicants responded to agencies who contacted them within the first 24 hours of submission.

According to Robinson, companies that have a dedicated onboarding have 70% of new hires wanting to stay for three years or longer.

With the average home care agency losing 60-70% of its care team each year, this statistic is remarkable.

#6: Simplify through automation.

The initial screening of applicants can be a drawn-out process, and with time constraints on top of that, making sure that the quality and consistency match up can be a difficult thing to do.

One round-a-bout way to solving this is by using an applicant tracking system (ATS). It’s a system that allows hiring managers to post job ads, manage applicants and oversee each part of the hiring process from a single platform.

The ability to automate the initial screening will take you above and beyond and generally just give you more time to focus on other areas of the recruitment and retention process.

From here to there

As most agencies can attest, recruitment isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a process that has to be nurtured based on the applicants you’re targeting and the direction you want your agency to head in.

You’ll find challenges along the way – but no matter what, it’s worth it to invest in the experience.

Have you used any of these tips? What’s worked for you in the recruitment process? Let us know in the comments.

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