Adopting a marketing perspective helps you to realize that your caregiver recruitment process is a numbers-driven strategy that can be drastically improved with the right tweaks to each stage of the process.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably struggling with recruiting and retaining caregivers. That’s okay—most home care agencies are right now.
This article is about a simple idea—the idea that minor tweaks to your hiring process can have a major impact on the number of caregivers you end up hiring.
While the concept of optimizing funnels is nothing new, it’s typically much more widely used in a marketing context than a recruitment context.
Many agencies would be much better off to think about their recruitment from a marketing standpoint—not only does that help you to get in a mindset of “How can I sell my agency to potential hires?” but it encourages you to view your recruitment strategy as a numbers-driven process that can become much more effective with the right tweaks here and there.
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The Recruitment Funnel
Here are the median hiring ratios for agencies in 2018, according to the 2019 Home Care Benchmarking Study.
This model is designed to show general numbers—for your own recruitment strategy, you’ll probably want to break it out into more tiers. You might try the following:
# of applicants
# of applicants contacted
# of applicants lined up for an interview
# of applicants interviewed
New hires given their schedule
New hires who show up to their first day (sadly, this enough of an issue for most agencies to merit tracking it)
By tracking each level over time, you can quickly identify if there is a specific step where you’re losing the most applicants—and zero in on what you need to do to improve it.
The power in a funnel model comes from recognizing that any change in one level of the funnel will impact all the levels below it.
For instance, if 35% of the applicants you reach out to make it to an interview and you’re able to bring that number up to 70% by speeding up your process, you’ve just doubled the number of caregivers who progress through every level after this step—including caregivers hired.
Increase the number of caregivers at any other step and you’ll most likely increase the number of caregivers hired by a proportionate amount.
It’s a simple concept, but many home care agency owners (and business owners in general) fail to use it to its full potential. Here’s where you can start optimizing each level.
Optimizing Your Caregiver Job Postings for Maximum Applicants
Writing stronger job postings is the low-hanging fruit for many agencies. Take a minute and go to myCNAjobs.com or Indeed.com and look for caregiver job postings in your area. How many are there? How well do yours stand out?
From an applicant’s perspective, there’s usually a long list of virtually identical job postings to scroll through. Anything you can do to grab their attention and look different than the other postings will make a significant impact on the number of caregivers who apply to YOUR agency instead of others, and therefore a significant impact on the number of caregivers you end up hiring.
Here’s a few tips to write more effective caregiver job postings:
Use a mix of evergreen postings (general postings advertising a wide variety of shifts) and postings for specific shifts.
Evaluate your hiring criteria for arbitrary requirements that could be filtering out applicants. If you’re listing a mandatory certification or training requirement that you could easily provide in an evening of training, you’re telling qualified applicants not to apply at your company.
Use an engaging tone that addresses them like a person. Read your postings out loud. If it’s natural to read them the way that you would normally use to tell someone about a job, you’re on the right track. If it comes across as robotic, generic, or flat, throw it out and write a new one.
Include videos and pictures (if the platform allows). Have a few of your caregivers record 30-60-second videos on their phones about why they like working for your agency and share these on your postings and website.
Lead with the things that set your agency apart. Do you offer benefits that most agencies don’t? Do you pay more, or offer better schedules? Make sure anybody who scans your postings will see it in less than five seconds.
How to Recruit and Retain Caregivers When You’ve Already Tried Everything (eBook)
Optimizing Your Communication Process to Progress More Caregivers to Interviews and First Shifts
Once you’ve received applicants, the race is on to get them lined up for interviews.
According to the Home Care Benchmarking Study, the top reason that caregivers chose to work for an agency in 2018 is because it was the first place that offered them work. While this statistic points to other potential problems as well, it clearly shows the need for speed in your hiring process.
Here are a few tips for keeping communications tight during the hiring process:
If you aren’t using texting in your hiring process, start today. Caregivers are far more likely to respond to a text than an email or a phone call.
Respond to ALL applicants within 72 hours—no exceptions.
Send a pre-screening survey to save time on later steps. We recommend setting it up on Survey Gizmo as it’s free and easy to use.
Outline each step of the hiring process for applicants so they know what to expect and how long it will take.
Update applicants if anything is taking longer than it should so that they’re in the loop.
We also recommend that you consider looking into an Applicant Tracking System like Hireology, as these can help speed up various stages of the recruitment process.
Optimizing Your Caregiver Interview Process to Lead to More Offers Extended
Making the most of your interviews is critical. Consider the following tips:
Make sure interviews are held at convenient times for candidates. Many of them may already be working another job or in school. Give them various options for interview times, offer evening interviews if needed, and allow the option to bring their kids to interviews.
Hold multiple interviews with a candidate if possible, as this helps get a better perspective of them. Make the interviews back-to-back so you’re not taking extra time at the interview stage of the process. You may also consider using an open house format.
Make your decision as soon as possible after the interview and send the offer/start schedule quickly. Don’t go so quickly that you make hasty hiring decisions, but prioritize timeliness in following up from interviews so that there’s as little lag time as possible.
Call them to extend the job offer, and give them another follow-up call before their first shift. We talk about why that’s important here.
Choosing the Right Caregiver Recruitment Sources
Besides what we’ve listed above, there are a few important ways that can narrow down your recruitment to the right sources. To do this, you’ll need to continually track the right metrics and adapt your strategy over time to focus on the right ones.
Most agency owners instinctively gravitate toward the sources producing the highest volume of caregivers. This is important to track, but there are other numbers that should factor into the decision.
Here are three important metrics we recommend tracking:
Cost per hire for each recruitment source
Turnover rate of caregivers hired for each recruitment source
Volume of caregivers hired for each recruitment source.
Track these numbers continually and pinpoint the channels that are bringing you the greatest return on investment.
Out With the Old, In With the New
Too often, we talk to agency owners who don’t see the need to sell caregivers on why they should work for their agency. They see job postings as a simple list of qualifications and benefits, rather than an opportunity to connect with caregivers and demonstrate to them why they should consider that agency over others.
Their attitude is that a caregiver should be lucky to work for them, rather than the other way around. In fact, either or both can be true—and it doesn’t matter.
The reality is that it’s a job seeker’s market right now, and like it or not, if you want to keep a healthy pipeline of new caregivers going, you need to adopt a mindset that helps you sell caregivers on working for your agency instead of others.
If your mindset is that caregivers should feel lucky to work for you and that as a result, you don’t need to put much energy into creating a hiring process designed to sell them on your agency, you’re going to keep struggling with recruitment. It’s time to set these ideas aside and focus on the reality at hand: recruitment is competitive and to succeed, you need to use every tool available.
Looking for more reading? Start here:
What’s your biggest recruitment headache? We want to hear in the comments. We’ll respond to every comment.
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