We’re Home Care Pulse, a leading provider of experience management & surveys, caregiver/CNA training, and online reputation management.
Whether candidates are dropping off while applying online, during the interview process, or not even making it to their first shift, there are often factors it can be attributed to — you might just have to do a bit of digging.
As you’re reading this, there’s a hiring manager sitting in a home care office somewhere spending hours on their job postings, following all the latest recruitment trends, and still missing out on potential hires.
So, where are they going wrong? Unless they’re continuously auditing their hiring process, there’s really no simple answer.
If your current recruitment processes are already producing great results, it might be easy to overlook a recruitment audit. On the other hand, however, if you’re lacking applicants, you might think you know the best solutions to solve the problem.
There’s more to it than that — and you might receive more actionable feedback than you thought by doing an in-depth look at your efforts.
Here’s why you need to be auditing your recruitment process and what exactly that looks like in an agency setting.
The purpose of auditing your recruitment process
Getting applicants to the bottom of the hiring funnel can be a challenge. Whether candidates are dropping off while applying online, during the interview process, or not even making it to their first shift, there are often factors it can be attributed to — you might just have to do a bit of digging.
(Note: To take a closer look at the image above, right click to “open image in a new tab.”)
How does your agency compare?
Home Care agencies that aren’t continuously auditing their hiring process are likely to have potential caregivers slipping through the cracks or be using processes that aren’t living up to their full potential.
With the talent landscape constantly changing, home care agencies should be adapting to meet the needs of their applicants — which can’t be done without effectively auditing the hiring process.
A recruitment audit will help your agency to get a more thorough grasp of what current processes look like, and more importantly, where any imperfections are.
It’s about dotting your I’s, crossing your T’s, and making sure you’re not losing out on any applicants due to a small (or large) flaw in your current model.
The most important piece of the puzzle: The candidate experience
As any owner can attest, the experience a potential candidate has with your agency can play a significant role in how successful you are at recruitment — and that begins way before the hiring process even starts. It starts with your employment brand and reputation.
These two things shape how potential employees see your agency and can influence their decisions and thoughts at every step of the hiring process.
If you’re not sure what a successful employment brand looks like or want to have a more streamlined approach to creating one, you can read more here.
There are a lot of ways to conduct a hiring audit. Whether you’re looking at data you’ve already gathered (like the volume of candidates getting hired from a specific source) or becoming a secret shopper for your agency, you’ll be able to get a closer look at the candidate experience.
A candidate is going to have a lot of touchpoints with your agency during the hiring process, so you need to be examining each individually. Let’s break these down a little bit more.
Whether you use a whiteboard, a personal notepad, or a Word document, we suggest jotting down your ideas and findings along the way.
#1: Job postings
Rachel Gartner, CEO and professional recruiter of CareWork, shared some of her best job posting tips with us on our podcast, and by far, the most important was to make sure you’re putting caregivers first by speaking directly to them.
One way to emphasize this idea is by putting the things that are most important to your caregivers front and center in your job descriptions. There are typically very specific things that caregivers are looking for in a job, and by highlighting those, you’ll see a bigger influx of applicants.
When a caregiver comes across one of your job postings, they want to gather as much information as possible without having to weed through unnecessary information or an extensive background of your company. They’d rather be informed about pay, what types of shifts you offer, how they’re going to be treated as an employee, and how quickly you can get them started. Applicants shouldn’t have to dig for this information.
While this method is beneficial for most agencies, it doesn’t eliminate the need to continuously test your job ads and descriptions.
Here are a few questions you’ll want to be asking yourself:
Are my job ads short, informative and to the point? Or is it overly descriptive and gives unnecessary information?
Do the job ads stand out from other postings?
Do the job ads render correctly or are there formatting issues that need to be addressed?
We recently spoke with an agency owner who told us that they had over 13 job postings running at a time, but by far, their highest performer was the posting with “Meaningful work around your schedule,” as the title rather than just “Caregiver” or another generic description.Without testing different titles and descriptions, there’s no way they ever would’ve known this.
(Note: To take a closer look at the image above, right click to “view image in a new tab.”)
Here are some of the other things you’ll want to consider testing in your job ads:
Length/word count:According to Indeed, job descriptions between 700 and 2,000 words get 30% more applicants on average. While this may be true for most agencies, there’s always a possibility that more or less could have a bigger impact.
Tone:Some applicants will respond better to a formal tone, whereas other will have a stronger preference for job postings that are more conversational. You may need to strike a balance between these two, but first you need to get a better understanding of your applicants and what influences them to apply.
Format:In some cases, applicants prefer to scan through job descriptions set up as bullet points rather than paragraphs. You can see what performs better by running two ads for the same position and varying the descriptions.
Shift specific vs. always on job descriptions: It’s likely that you’re hiring for a lot of different positions within your organization. One approach to your job posting process that you’ll want to consider is using posts that are shift specific and highlight all the concerns you’re trying to meet for a particular client or time frame, as well as posts that are more general for the jobs you’re always hiring for.
During the pre-screening phase, hiring managers will conduct a resume and application review to get the ball rolling.
If you’re using an applicant tracking system (ATS), all of this information will be readily available in a database allowing you to organize applicant information and save time during your review. It helps to create a pipeline for your process and ensure you’re not losing track of anyone.
If you’re not using an ATS, it’s something you may want to consider. During your hiring audit, not only is it important to make sure you maintain a great candidate experience, but you want to make sure your team is using their time in the most effective way possible.
This phase of the process is a critical time period – or more so, the “waiting period” for most caregivers. During the waiting period, it’s common for applicants to be looking for and applying to other roles with other agencies.
If you want to stay at the top of their mind, you need to be reviewing their application within a 24-hour window and scheduling an interview quickly after (we’ll get into that more in the next section).
A lot of applicants will be using their phones to communicate with your agency during the hiring process – meaning that if you want the most successful response rate, you should be reaching out to them using their preferred method. While we’ve heard that most caregivers prefer text, it’s important to ask their preferred communication method during the pre-screening phase and your initial communication with the applicant. This will also help you to streamline the process through your ATS.
#3: Interview process
After talking with thousands of caregivers, we found out the number one reason most people choose to work for an agency: it was the first job they were hired for. This underscores the need for agencies to be timely in how they’re responding to applicants.
When you’re auditing your hiring process, one of the most important things you should be looking at is how quickly you’re responding to, interviewing, and sending out an offer to applicants.
The way to secret shop this within your own agency is to go through the motions of applying and formally submit an application.
How long does it take your team to reach out to you to schedule an interview? There is no better way to know what’s going on in your agency operations than by putting it to the test.
Some other things to consider during your audit of the interview process include:
If you frequently hear the same questions being asked, you may want to start making the information more recognizable in the job description or addressing it on the phone screen.
If the hiring process doesn’t look the same for every applicant, there are likely some changes that need to be made. Differentiation in yourprocess could have the potential to cause discrimination claims.
Are you telling the applicant what they can expect next during the interview? You need to give them very specific details of when they should be expecting to hear from you and what the next steps look like.
#4: Onboarding and training
Onboarding is the very last step of your hiring process but can play a big role in retention.
One of the challenges we hear most frequently from home care agency owners is that their caregiver turnover is the greatest within the first 90 days of employment. In fact, that’s when 57% of caregiver turnover happens.
If you’re able to create a great onboarding and training experience during this time, your retention rates are going to increase.
800+ Course Employee Training Library for Post-Acute Care
Home Care Pulse now offers training for care providers and office staff in the senior care (or post-acute) industry.
With lack of training being one the number one complaint from caregivers, we often hear the frustration from caregivers during our monthly phone surveys. One even told us, ““One time they told me just to look up videos on YouTube.”
While auditing this piece of your hiring process, make sure that you’re constantly asking caregivers for feedback (whether in-person or through surveys) to gauge what they do and don’t like. You’ll probably find similarities between their answers.
You don’t know what you don’t know
With how fast-paced the home care industry is, a lot of agencies are neglecting hiring audits.
If you aren’t currently auditing your hiring and recruitment process, there’s no better time to start than now. It’ll help you to recognize where you’re falling short and if your efforts are actually producing the desired results.
Auditing your process gives you a competitive advantage because it’s a proven way to understand your caregivers and where they’re trailing off during the hiring process.
Recruitment is all about being intentional. Are you meeting your applicants where they’re at?