By putting appropriate steps in place when seeking new staff, you can ensure that your caregiver recruiting process attracts the best candidates who will only enhance your business.
The rise of millennials and Gen Z has been well documented in recent years. With that rise came a trend most companies were not prepared to handle—the Great Resignation. The Great Resignation is the mass exodus of talented and promising young professionals from organizations that do not meet their needs in regards to reward, flexibility, career path, and community connections. Companies that want to hire the best and brightest people face a big problem because so many talented people are leaving. This has had a significant impact on caregiver recruitment.
Indeed, we are living in unprecedented times where there are more jobs than there are people willing to take them. And sadly, even the healthcare sector is not immune to the Great Resignation. There are now fewer caregivers available to provide care to clients following the record number of healthcare personnel who have left their jobs since the pandemic. Due to this, companies have been scrambling to find new caregivers, and the whole caregiver recruiting process has become more complicated.
One in five healthcare workers have quit their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, according to https://morningconsult.com/2021/10/04/health-care-workers-series-part-2-workforce/
30% of current healthcare workers are considering leaving their jobs in the near future.
The healthcare industry has seen its workforce reduce by 500,000.
In 2021, it was estimated that there will be a healthcare worker shortage of 1.1 million, according to the https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/workforce/
The global pandemic allowed workers to rethink their careers, work-life balance, and working conditions. A deep dissatisfaction with each of these elements developed, and this led to many abandoning their jobs in search of alternatives that provided a more fulfilling lifestyle.
According to a recent survey of 26,000 employees completed by joblist.com, https://www.joblist.com/jobs-reports/2022-trends-united-states-job-market-report, the factors listed as contributing to the dissatisfaction of employees include:
19% griped about how employers treat them in the workplace.
17% complained about low pay or the lack of benefits.
13% were fed up with the lack of work-life balance.
Unfortunately, these trends are not letting up anytime soon, and this has caused a panic within the home care industry to find ways to compensate for the loss of caregivers and to find better caregiver recruitment strategies to incorporate into the weekly business schedule. The Great Resignation not only affected the home care industry but other industries as well.The fast food and retail industries have been badly hit, to the point where Target, Walmart, and Amazon had to use innovative recruiting strategies to entice workers to come on board.
Enough of the doom and gloom. If these companies can reinvent the recruitment wheel to hire quality workers, so can you. Keep in mind that to have a successful recruitment strategy, your agency has to look at every recruiting process to see which ones work in the agency’s favor and which ones need to be fine tuned.
In this article, we will break down the roadblocks that can prevent your agency from effectively hiring caregivers and interviewing or retaining them. Here's all you need to know about caregiver recruiting in this complete guide on how to hire caregivers.
You might be thinking, why is this important? According to https://www.hrdive.com/news/61-of-job-seekers-visit-company-sites-before-applying/440877/, 61% of job seekers log on to a company’s website before they decide to apply for positions within the company. The aim here is to get a glimpse of what it would be like to work for the company. Potential candidates browse your website to understand your company culture, company structure, and any information you might have on hiring caregivers and retaining your employees.
Websites were previously only created as a means to attract customers, but things have changed dramatically. Businesses are now using their websites to attract qualified employees. To ensure your website meets a high standard and can attract the talent you are looking for, you need to:
The old ways of job searching are archaic, with newspapers, magazines, and green sheets attracting less and less attention following the growth of the internet over the years. Today, over 30% of job applicants use their mobile phones to search for jobs, according to https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/11/19/searching-for-work-in-the-digital-era/. This means you have to make your website mobile-friendly and optimize it so that it is easier to read and navigate content on mobile devices.
Another reason to optimize your website for mobiles is that Google ranks websites that are mobile-friendly higher when a user performs a search on Google. A few years ago, Google made it a point to penalize websites that didn’t optimize their websites for mobiles according to https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/6051803?hl=en. Google wants users to have a good user experience and achieve what they are looking for when searching on their platform.
A healthy company culture is infectious.Your clients and employees share a pleasant experience with your agency, and they spread the word to their friends and family. An agency with a strong company culture is not only noticed for the work they do, but also how they do it. To capitalize on this, you should display your company culture on your website so that potential candidates can get a feel for what it’s like to work for your agency. This can make the caregiver recruitment process way easier.
With so many similar agencies competing for the same pool of staff and clientele, showing the human side of your brand can make you stand apart, which is a great tip for attracting caregivers.
But you don’t have that much time to make an impression on your website visitors. You have less than a minute to make a positive impression on a new visitor to your website. At this point, you have to communicate with the user who you are as a company, a brand, and a team. This starts with your core values as a home care agency, your values, vision, and mission, and how these are represented daily in your agency. If done right, potential candidates should be able to feel a strong connection with your agency before even meeting with you.
To showcase your agency‘s culture, the “about us” page should have a personality. Many of your competitors will have pictures of their staff members, but you can break the mold by creating videos of each staff member you want to highlight that includes their bio, what they love to do, and what they love about the company. This gives your website more character and can positively impact caregiver recruiting.
Your website can also include a tour of the office, videos of your caregivers undertaking training, close-ups of clients, footage of company happy hour events, and recent community events that the agency has attended.
Use this video from Zendesk as an example of how to create a video that showcases your agency’s company culture.
Making your website full of personality helps you stand out from the corporate crowd and will allow you to attract like-minded talent that aligns with your company values.
Creating a career page can be an advantage for your company because many home care agencies lack a career page on their website. And even if they do have one, it is usually barely visible and often lacks the information needed to attract quality employees.
For starters, you need to make your career page easy to find. You can add an employee tab to your top headers and include a drop-down to the career page.
You need a headline that can easily grab the reader's attention. The headline should speak to the company culture. For example, Airbnb’s career page gives you an inspiring insight into their core values. They describe the kind of employee they are looking for while inviting you to apply to join them.
An example of an effective headline is, “Come join our team. While other companies have “perks,” we have "the ABC home care experience.”
Home Instead does a good job with their header by appealing directly to the applicant.
The sales pitch needs to answer basic questions about the agency. What do employees love about the agency? What is the company culture? What kind of caregiver training is provided? What differentiates your agency from others?
Depending on what you offer, examples can include:
An annual bonus for outstanding employees
Flexible work hours
Extended parental leave
Company sponsored events
Paid volunteered days
Employee recognition program
Monthly happy hour events
Here is an example from Firstlight home care.
The length of your job description can impact the caregiver recruitment process. Make sure your job description isn’t long-form, which has the potential to turn off job applicants. It should be short but detailed enough to grab the attention of the caregiver. You want to make it as easy as possible for the caregiver to apply. Include a call-to-action button that leads them to the online application or a link to upload their resume.
Caregivers would like to hear from other caregivers what they like about working with your home care agency. These video and text testimonials should be about:
how they feel about the agency
how they’ve grown with the agency
what they like about working with the agency.
This is no different from the customer testimonials you put on your website. Just as your clients want social proof, so do your caregivers.
The Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report (below) shows the type of marketing content candidates prefer. Information on the company culture is very important, followed by answers to why people want to work and stay there, and employee testimonials.
Caregivers are more likely to apply to agencies that have an application process on their website compared to those agencies that require caregivers to contact them.
There should be a call-to-action button on your website that guides users through the application process. Include an option to have an upload button for the caregiver to easily upload their resume. If your website is cumbersome, it will deter caregivers from completing the application process, resulting in a high application abandonment rate.
Include an auto-responder that informs the caregiver that you have received their application and will get back to them within a certain amount of time. You can also use this opportunity to reinforce your company culture in the automated response by including more information about your company, such as press releases, testimonials, and/or company perks.
When it comes to the hiring process, it’s a copycat league. Many agencies use a one-size-fits-all technique in screening their applicants. For example, many of the job posting websites provide tools like skills tests, which can be a deterrent to caregivers.
Agencies also have job descriptions that are too long and unnecessary, some requiring Alzheimer’s and dementia training and CPR training when the agency can help provide these by using training platforms like https://www.quireapp.com/.
The first contact a caregiver usually has with your agency is through your job postings. For your job post to draw attention, it has to have the power to draw in the caregiver. Adding these elements to your job post could make it more eye-catching.
What makes a great job posting?
Photos and videos
Simple, but effective, job description
Pay, perks, and benefits
To ensure your job post effectively attracts caregivers, you should know your audience. Precise Private Care collects data from their caregivers about what interests them in applying for the position. They include an open-ended question at the end of the questionnaire, fishing for ways to improve their job posting attractiveness. They compare the answers from all the caregivers to look for a common theme, enabling them to prioritize the most common answers. The agency collects this data on a quarterly basis and uses it to fine-tune its job postings.
For example, Precise Private Care realized that their caregivers loved the social programs the agency offered, and the younger caregivers also liked the paid time off and paid parental leave. They made sure to include this in their next job posting campaign, resulting in an influx of applications.
So, make sure to list the information the caregiver is most interested in first. Ensure that the work hours, pay, benefits, and anything that differentiates you from the competition are all set. Do you have a diversity inclusion program or a community outreach program? Add these to your job posting.
Examples of eye-catching job posts
There are some key points you can take from Comfort Keeper’s job post.
They showcase their Best of Care employer award, communicating to the applicant that they will be recognized for how well they care for their clients.
Their website is optimized to show jobs based on the applicant’s location.
They have a call-to-action to prompt the applicant to apply for the position.
They include a testimonial from one of their caregivers, which allows the applicant to hear from someone who works there and gives them the confidence to apply.
Firstlight Home Care did a good job highlighting the benefits the caregiver gets when they become an employee. These include: comprehensive caregiver training, flexible schedules, and the opportunity to make a difference.
They understand the conditions of the job market and invite applications from those in other professions that have the capacity for compassion and empathy.
Visiting Angels make a point of simplifying their job posts by plainly outlining the job duties and the caregiver qualifications by only including a few main points. This is a clear distinction from the previous method – writing a long list of duties and qualifications – by understanding the short attention span of the applicants.
Start with a header that grabs the applicant’s attention; this should include any pertinent information you want the user to know.
Know your audience. The tone of the post should be one with which the caregiver is comfortable.
Openly address the benefits that your company offers. Highlight your competitive advantages.
Display awards your company has won. Everybody loves a winner!
Include employee and client testimonials. The client testimonials give the caregiver an insight into the kind of agency to which they are applying.
Include pictures of company events. If you have pictures from happy hour events or team-building events, include them in the job post.
Don’t write up a storm – keep it simple and to the point. You have less than a minute to grab their attention: use it wisely by only providing necessary information.
Agencies lose out on potential talent because they are evaluating the wrong things, especially in this tight job market. The key is to find caregivers that match the company culture and who are compassionate, reliable, and competent to care for your clients. Doing this requires you to remove the hurdles that can prevent quality caregivers from applying.
Reduce the hiring timeline. Use smart, innovative caregiver hiring methods that get you the best candidates in half the time.
Reduce the fluff on employee applications. Follow the example of companies like Home Depot. Suffering from the influx of departing workers, they made it easier for potential employees to apply to their job postings. They removed all the fluff from their old employee application, stripping it down to just the meat-and-potatoes questions. Only include fields that are important to the job description; anything else should be removed.
Include an estimated completion time before they start completing the application. Providing this transparency for the applicant helps them determine if they want to go through the whole process. It also reduces the cluster of incomplete applications that you might end up with in your database. Home Depot’s application process takes less than ten minutes to complete.
Communicate with the caregiver before the interview date. This is very important because it helps you get a feel for who the applicant is and if they would fit into your company culture. You don’t want to waste your time on someone you know may not be the best fit for the job.
Another important point about communicating with the applicant is that it helps to build a bond before the interview, which helps to increase the chance of the applicant showing up for the interview. After they have scheduled the interview, call them that very day and have a fun, casual conversation with them. Get to know them on a personal level by asking questions about them and letting your personality shine. Let them get to know you too, so that when they come in for the interview, it’s like you’ve known them forever.
Employees want to feel like they are part of a team. When you communicate with them in a friendly way instead of the stuffy employer-to-employee way most of us have been through, it gets them excited about working for your company.
One of the biggest issues affecting hiring caregivers in the workforce is no-shows. According to USAtoday.com, 20-50% of scheduled interviews are no-shows. An interview no-show is a time waster. It slows down your productivity, taking you away from other important activities. Methods for reducing no-shows include the following:
Offer flexible interview scheduling: Include a self-schedule interview on your website that helps the applicant schedule their best available time. Calendly.com has a free tool you can embed on your website for applicants to use.
Set up a short interview window: The interview should be undertaken within 1-3 days. You are competing with other home care agencies to hire caregivers. In this case, the early bird gets the worm. Just like a hot qualifying client lead can cool down in a few days, the same thing happens to job application leads.
Flexible interview times: instead of the typical 9-5, increase your interview window to include evenings when the candidate might have more time.
Send a text reminder two days before and follow up with a call the day before the interview. On the day of the interview, send out an automated reminder, giving them the directions and the name of the interviewer, including the number to call if they have any questions.
Communicate with them after they have completed the application process. This helps to build a relationship with them before the interview. Keep it light and friendly.
Make the interview more appealing. You could set the appointments closer to lunch time and have a pizza lunch delivered for the applicants. Or if it’s the morning, coffee and donuts.
Ask the caregiver to update you if there are any changes before the interview date so that they can choose a better time for the interview.
Keep the communication between the caregiver and only one or two people in the office. The more people they hear from, the more intimidating it can be for the caregiver.
Get feedback from no-shows. Find out why they didn’t show up and what you could do better as an agency to reduce no-shows. There could be a number of reasons for no-shows. For example, it could be that your communication process with them was poor or non-existent before the interview.
There are many recruitment sources that you can use to attract potential caregivers, and this could make it tricky to choose the right ones.
To help you make better caregiver recruiting decisions, these two metrics should be your guide: caregiver acquisition costs and caregiver turnover.
The caregiver acquisition cost is the total cost incurred from using a recruitment source.
The caregiver turnover rate is the percentage of caregivers recruited through a recruitment source that leave within a given period of time.
We will take a closer look at the two most important caregiver recruitment sources.
One of the most effective ways to get quality caregivers is through your employees. Just like a referral from a client, a referral from an employee is appealing to the candidate because they are being referred by someone they know and most likely trust.
Hiring caregivers referred by employees increases employee retention. The newly hired caregivers often match the company culture better than those that are hired through other recruitment sources.
Another good reason for creating an employee referral program is that your employees know exactly what you are looking for and can match you up with the right people. They bring on board people with similar attributes to them that embody the company culture.
The average cost of hiring a caregiver is $2,700. A well-established employee referral program significantly reduces that cost.
Employee referrals are part of the company culture.
Employee referrals can aid in the caregiver recruiting process. In fact, they should be part of your company’s culture. Here are the steps to creating a referral program that becomes part of your company culture.
Begin during onboarding
Employers use the onboarding process to educate their employees on the expectations of the agency. One of those expectations can include employee referrals. This shows the caregiver the level of importance you place on receiving referrals. The extra bonus they get from referring caregivers to the agency can be a motivator for them to work with the agency.
Provide caregiver training
Employees interested in referring people they know to the agency might have a problem bringing up the topic and discussing the benefits of working with your agency. Coaching the caregiver on what to say to their friends and family gets them prepared and makes it easier for them to have a conversation, which – in turn – leads to employee referrals.
Organize employee referral events
Inform your staff about a company “meet and greet,” with the purpose of having them bring a candidate to the company event. Book a location with free food and drinks for your guests and use the opportunity to get to know the potential caregivers.
Simplify the referral process
If you want your employees to be motivated to go out there and talk to their friends and family about the job positions posted, make it simple and straightforward for them to not only refer the candidates but also get paid for the referral. Only ask for basic information about the candidate and provide templates for them to complete. There are also employee referral apps that make it easy for them to send you the candidate information.
Happy employees are productive employees. One of the best ways to motivate them to reach out to potential caregivers is to incentivize them.
Provide employee recognition. You can keep your employees motivated by recognizing them in company meetings, on the website, and through email. Giving the caregiver a moment to bask in their accomplishment makes the caregiver feel special, and it can motivate others to do the same.
Cash is king. Cash is a powerful extrinsic motivator to use to reward your caregivers for referring an employee. The amount should be high enough to generate interest from the group in referring caregivers. Keep in mind that it costs $2,700 or more to replace a caregiver. Therefore, offering $500 for a referred caregiver is not only worth it for your business, but could also be a strong motivator.
Offer varieties. You don't always have to offer a cash incentive. It might be fun for the team to have different referral payment options. You can involve the whole team in brainstorming some ideas. This could make it a fun exercise and can get them excited about being an advocate for the agency. Some ideas include a paid getaway or tickets to a game or concert. Different things will appeal to different employees.
Reward the intent. When you receive the referral and the caregiver becomes an employee of the company, the reward is paid out after the new employee has been with the company for three months, ensuring that it is a solid referral. This is good for the agency but can be a downer for the caregiver who referred the employee because it takes months to reap the rewards of the referral. To keep them motivated, reward the intent by giving them a gift certificate to Target, Starbucks, or somewhere suitable to them.
Make a monthly leaderboard. Gamifying the employee referral process can make it fun for the employees. You can either list the employee names on the board and tally the referrals from each person, or you can group the caregivers into teams, for example, by location. Crescent Home Health, located in Houston, created teams in the areas where the caregivers worked: Sugarland, Houston, The Woodlands, and Richmond, Texas.
Internet Job Sites
Internet job sites are of great benefit to caregiver recruitment. The most common way agencies recruit caregivers is through internet lead sites like indeed.com, ziprecruiter.com, and mycnajobs.com. Over 59% of hires are from job search websites.
They all have the same goal of providing agencies with candidates, but they each offer something different. Each job site has its own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a look at a few popular sites.
If you are low on funds, Craigslist is a good resource for finding local candidates without breaking the bank. Job posting costs range from $25 to $75 depending on the city. The bad news is that while it is saving you money, your job post will attract candidates that don’t fit the hiring criteria. You will have to spend time filtering through the leads to find the most qualified candidates.
Considered one of the largest job search engine networks, SimplyHired has both a free and a paid posting service. Simplyhired works by posting to 5000 sites, including social networks, blogs, and even job posting sites like Indeed. This gives your post maximum visibility to potential hires. The downside to using this website is that it doesn’t have a searchable database, like some of the others.
Similar to SimplyHired, ZipRecruiter has the ability to post to top sites like Indeed, Craigslist, and Monster. It also posts to social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. That’s where the similarities end between the two sites. Unlike SimplyHired, ZipRecruiter allows employers to search resumes. With the paid version, you can receive up to 1000 candidates a month.
It also offers agencies hosting for their job pages, complete with application templates, customizable questionnaires, and personalized email responses to candidates. ZipRecruiter offers a free 4-day trial, and pricing starts at $249 a month.
The Google of job searching sites, Indeed has over 100 million unique visitors per month. Employers are able to post job openings for free and get a good return on their posts, making it popular for many agency startups. Indeed has a robust and accurate search engine that yields qualified candidates by aggregating the data the user enters into it.
It also offers a pay-per-click service that posts your job opening to 25,000 sites. You are only charged when a candidate clicks on the job post. Similar to ZipRecruiter, you are able to search their database of resumes for potential talent.
Other popular job sites caregivers visit include:
The advantage of using these sites is that the acquisition costs are low and the volume of employee leads is high. But unlike employee referrals that are closer to company culture and higher in employee quality, internet site leads can be lower in quality.
Caregiver recruitment is expensive. On average, agencies spend over $1,000 per hire. The problem is that 80% of these new hires will be gone before 90 days. This highlights the importance of getting the hiring right from the beginning. To do this scientifically, we will need to use recruitment KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your hiring practices.
For those starting out, you might want to track which recruitment sources give you the best bang for your buck. Or you might want to track how many applications you get on a monthly basis or how many caregivers you retain for longer than 90 days. Ultimately, you will want to track how many caregivers come on board each month, what keeps them around, and what makes them quit within a certain time span.
In the previous section, we talked about simplifying the application process for the caregiver so as to reduce application incompletion rates. If the applicants are filling out the application on your website, you should track how long it takes them to complete it. You don’t want it to be more than 8-10 minutes. You should also track how many applicants abandon the process and what point of the application they abandoned the process. Doing this allows you to tweak the application in order to increase the completion rate. To find the number of abandoned applications, take the total number of submitted applications and divide it by the number of candidates who started the application process.
Recruiting costs can easily get out of hand if you aren’t tracking which of the different sources are most effective, whether it’s Indeed, ZipRecruiter, employee referrals, or job fairs. Take a look at the number of highly qualified caregivers coming from each source every 90 days. The highest rate of attrition is within the first 90 days. If the caregiver lasts more than 90 days, you have a better chance of keeping them. Calculate how many caregivers have remained every quarter and from which source. This gives you a better idea of which source you should focus more on.
This is the period from the time the caregiver accesses the job post to the interview process and to when they are formally employed. This is important because agencies lose out on qualified caregivers because their time to get hired is too long or cumbersome. Know your number and try to stay within that number quarterly.
Cost per hire is the amount spent on recruiting one caregiver. Let’s say you hire 200 people a year, which comes up to around 16 caregivers a month, and you spend an average of $1,500 per hire. The total caregiver recruitment cost for the year is $300,000.
Why is cost per hire an important metric to measure? It is because it evaluates the cost effectiveness of an agency’s hiring process. By tracking your cost per hire, you will be able to gain insight into what works and what doesn’t. The goal of this is to ensure you achieve better hiring results without wasting your profits.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, which has issued a national standard for calculating cost-per-hire, you have to add up both HBR's external and internal costs and divide that additive value by the number of hires in a certain time frame.
External costs are:
Advertising and marketing costs (job boards, social media ad campaigns)
Recruitment event costs (job fairs, campus recruiting)
Internal costs are:
Recruitment employee salaries
Hiring manager salaries
Social media manager salaries
You have to include those who create the job posts, interview the candidates, and also who trains them in order to know how much you are spending on hiring an employee.
Offer acceptance rate
Naturally, we cannot expect every caregiver interviewed to accept the position, but it would be a red flag if the offer acceptance rate (OAR) is low. This could point to some issue in the hiring process that needs to be addressed, which is why it is important to track this recruiting metric. To calculate the OAR, divide the number of accepted offers by the total number of offers extended.
The likelihood of a caregiver accepting a position largely depends on whether they felt the hiring process was a good experience. If they don’t feel it was, there is a good chance they won’t accept the offer.
To gain some insight into how they feel about the hiring process, send them a candidate satisfaction survey.
Ask the candidates for feedback on the hiring experience with the idea of identifying patterns and drawing conclusions. Although you can send this at any time during the caregiver hiring process, the best time would be right after the interview because this will give you insight into their likelihood of accepting the position.
First year turnover rate
In home care, the turnover rate is relatively high at 66%, according to the Home Care Benchmarking Study; this means if you hire 100 caregivers, 66 of them will not last the first year. Calculating this by multiplying the 66 caregivers that quit by how much it costs to replace the caregiver, $2600, the caregiver turnover has cost the agency $171,600.
You can use this as a benchmark for your agency, with the goal of improving your first year turnover rate over time. You can calculate your agency's turnover rate by dividing the number of caregivers terminated during a period by the number of caregivers at the beginning of the period.
Think back to your first day of school – you felt nervous, skeptical, and stressed. This is how it feels for your new caregiver starting with your company. It’s challenging for them to get acclimated to the office staff, clients, and managers.
There may be a slight difference between how they were treated when they were first wooed to come on board compared to a few weeks later.
Understanding what the caregiver goes through in the first 90 days can help you keep them onboard for much longer. Unlike many jobs that have interactions with coworkers, caregivers have no-one to engage with on a daily basis, which can lead to a disconnection between the caregiver and the home care agency, leading to job dissatisfaction.
These are ways you can make the caregiver’s first 90 days successful.