Home care agencies with the highest success rates in attracting, hiring, and retaining top caregiver talent typically approach caregiver hiring in the same strategic way as their client/patient marketing.
They know that caregivers have the advantage of being able to choose from multiple job offers – so it’s essential to apply a great marketing strategy to caregiver recruitment to promote their agency and stand out in a highly-competitive market.
They also understand the importance of considering the entire candidate experience. This impacts their company culture and brand reputation and directly affects their ability to build and sustain a strong caregiver team.
Establishing a simple, fast, and efficient hiring process is vital to keep all candidates engaged, motivated, and informed at every touchpoint.
Here we look at nine basic steps for a successful home care hiring process and how your agency can ensure a positive candidate experience every step of the way.
1. Assess your needs and be clear on what you’re looking for
Hiring caregivers is an expensive business, so it’s essential to know exactly what your agency is looking for before you even begin the hiring process. The worst-case scenario is panic hiring, where you are just trying to fill a post as quickly as possible.
This will likely lead to a poor match with your agency, a bad caregiver experience, and yet more costly turnover within the first 90 days of hire.
In the short-term, consider if you have current caregivers looking to take on extra shifts, if upskilling or mentoring programs can help fill in any gaps, or if you can take advantage of referrals from existing caregivers.
Longer-term, it’s important to continually assess your home care agency needs, build a robust hiring pipeline, and promote an employee referral program to guarantee you are hiring from a place of rational decision-making that benefits your agency, your clients, and any prospective candidates.
2. Write a clear job description and job post
It’s important to write a great job post and detailed job description that reflects precisely what you are looking for from any potential candidates.
How you write your caregiver job posts matters and will play a significant role in determining whether you can attract the best candidates who will take action and apply.
You need to create listings that give a great first impression, that will attract best-fit candidates, and immediately weed out those who are not suitable or do not align with your agency’s culture and values.
Also make sure that applying for any job post is very simple, ideally a one-click process directly to your website career page. The right caregiver applicants are more likely to complete an application and eventually be hired if they experience a thorough but streamlined process from the start.
3. Advertise through the best channels
You need to make sure you are advertising in the right places where the top talent will see it.
There are, of course, multiple options, including job boards, social media, careers pages via your website, caregiver referrals, external referrals, and custom links.
If you’re unsure which channels are best for your agency, it’s crucial to track and measure results from several options before heavily investing your time and money. For example, job boards are very popular and generate a large number of applicants, but they are costly and can often result in poor retention rates.
4. Keep the application process simple
A straightforward, and mobile-friendly application process is essential, along with a speedy response time, to secure the best candidates.
This is an opportunity to filter applicants that do not meet your minimum requirements and to fast track those that seem ideal. Still, it can be very time-consuming as you collect, sort, store and manage all the information applicants send in.
An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can help significantly speed up this process and enable quick and decisive communication with all applicants.
In addition, an ATS allows you to automatically collect and store all candidates’ information in one centralized hub, managing applicants through the pipeline to ensure quick and easy processing.
5. Pre-screen potential candidates
A sensible step to include in your hiring process is pre-screening to determine experience level, past employment, licensing, etc., and to ascertain candidates’ reasons for wanting to be a caregiver with your agency.
Depending on the number of applications you are processing, this can be carried out by phone or videoconferencing. Alternatively, many Applicant Tracking Systems have technology built-in that can do this for you, saving time and money.
This process supports a positive candidate experience as it saves potential applicants’ time in applying for a position that they are not suitable for. It also benefits your agency in multiple ways.
For example, while a prospective candidate may not be right for the advertised post, they could be perfect for a different role or future position – with their permission, keep their details on record and contact them when appropriate.
6. Shortlist and interview potential caregivers
While it can be tempting to rush this step, it’s important to remember that a good interview leaves time for both you and your selected candidates to ask questions and clarify any concerns about the role and responsibilities.
During this time, your job description will be vital as you and the candidates interact and get a better feel for whether this will be a good fit.
It is also worth considering behavior-based interview scenarios, where candidates are presented with various real-life scenarios and asked to discuss how they would handle them. These can help determine a candidate’s motivation, willingness to learn new skills, overall ability, and their career and life/personal goals.
Through this process, you can distinguish between candidates simply looking for a job and those who have a passion for working in home care.
7. Carry out thorough background checks
For those candidates who successfully complete the interview process, it is essential to carry out thorough background checks, reference checking, and document verification.
Whether they will be providing medical or non-medical care, trust is critical when caregivers will be entering the homes of vulnerable individuals. According to the National Institute on Aging, as many as one in ten Americans aged over 60 years are abused physically, emotionally, financially, or otherwise. Thorough caregiver background checks can help mitigate this risk for your agency when hiring caregivers and home health aides.
8. Deliver excellent orientation and onboarding
At this point, you have selected the best caregivers for the job, made an offer, and completed the formalities of signing contracts and finalizing paperwork.
You should be thoroughly confident in your appointed caregivers’ skills and abilities and know that they are an excellent fit for your agency. However, you cannot afford to be complacent yet!
Throughout the home care industry, it’s well known that the majority of newly appointed caregivers leave within the first 30–90 days. This is why your agency needs to guarantee an excellent orientation and onboarding process to keep them engaged, motivated, and retained.
You need to create a transparent, organized, and interactive onboarding process and think of the first 48 hours as another step in your hiring process.
9. Prepare for the first client visit
As part of your onboarding, or immediately following it, your new hires should receive training on the proper charting of care plans – and be matched to the most suitable clients/patients.
Charting care plans is essential to job performance and to your clients’ safety, satisfaction and happiness. This important aspect ensures all new caregivers understand proper and legal documentation procedures.
Once you’ve hired the best caregivers, you need to match them with the most suitable clients/patients for maximum caregiver-client satisfaction.
Using tech tools, like Smartcare’s unique machine learning (ML) technology, you can quickly identify best matches, and further cement the caregiver-client bond to increase satisfaction and retention.
While every home care agency has its own strategies and processes for hiring and retention, we hope these key steps inspire you to try out some new ideas.
If you are not yet using technology specifically designed for home care caregiver hiring, we would also urge you to look at the available options. This will equip your agency with the framework necessary to optimize a standardized hiring process, guarantee an outstanding candidate experience, and give you that all-important competitive edge.