With low unemployment numbers and small hiring pools across the country, long-term care and senior living providers are struggling to attract and retain the workers they need. And being short staffed is problematic for a number of reasons. Labor costs soar, workplace culture suffers, employees are prone to burnout and most importantly, quality and continuity of care declines.
Providers must remember that they are competing not only with other senior care organizations for hourly workers, but with other industries like retail and hospitality. To stand out from the competition, the hiring process -- the first interaction many have with your organization -- needs to be as simple and seamless as possible. Here are six ways providers often lose out on quality candidates during the application process and how to fix them.
1. Poor job descriptions
Hiring managers need to remind themselves that the job opening they post online serves as a first impression to recruits, and you only have one chance to make a good one.
Your job description should not be loaded with a litany of qualifications and unrealistic expectations, or demands for what a candidate can do for the employer. Instead, it should focus on what the company can do for the candidate, as well as job responsibilities and skills needed. Clearly detail your organization's mission and values, and how the opportunity can be the start of a long, successful career for the candidate. Doing so will ensure that providers will attract ambitious, mission-driven candidates for an opening and save hiring managers from having to sift through piles of unqualified or under-qualified applications.
2. Lengthy applications
60 percent of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. Even if a candidate takes the time to complete the entire thing, they could lose interest in your company because of your tedious application process. Online applications should take one to two minutes to complete and collect critical contact information, as well as last place of employment to determine if they have the proper certifications for the role.
3. Lack of urgency
Once providers have identified the candidates they want to bring in for an interview, they need to strike while the iron is hot. If a candidate’s resume and work history match what a provider is seeking, contact them as soon as possible to get the interview process going.
Remember, unemployment is at record lows across the country and the competition for hourly workers seeking work is fierce. Providers need to have a sense of urgency once the right candidates have been identified. Caregivers in particular frequently apply to jobs en masse and often take the first offer that is extended. Companies that don't follow up fast enough risk losing out on top talent.
Unfortunately, hiring managers have a lot on their plate, so it makes sense that they often go weeks without reaching out. OnShift® Text2Hire streamlines the follow up process by using AI to automatically engage and communicate with job candidates and schedule interviews via text message. Studies show that 90% of text messages are read within three minutes. Texting candidates instead of calling them is an easy way to get their attention and eliminates the never-ending game of phone tag that often ensues.
4. Being unprepared for interviews
Preparing for a job interview is a two-way street. Hiring managers need to remember that an interview is a mutual audition process to determine if a candidate will be a good fit within the workplace culture. A candidate may be qualified for an opening on paper; it is during the interviews when the intangibles reveal themselves, as well as a candidate’s shortcomings.
Enlist others in the interview process. Invite direct managers who will be responsible for managing new hires to interview candidates for job openings. Let the interviewee briefly shadow someone in that role and collect feedback from current employees on their demeanor and whether or not they're a good culture fit. Be sure to allow candidates to ask you questions, as well. This is a great way to gauge their interest in the role and address any concerns they may have.
Keep in mind that the interview process is the time to identify strengths and weaknesses in a candidate, as well as their willingness to embark on professional growth. Ask them what their career goals are and what they hope to learn in their new role.
5. Negative publicity
People talk. And employees who had a negative experience working for you will most likely tell their friends. Your applicant might hear some not-so-good stuff about working at your community through the grapevine after applying.
Similarly, sites such as Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn allow them to do their own research into potential employers. Providers should constantly monitor their presence on review sites, respond to negative comments and recruit rockstar employees to leave positive reviews.
Providers should also have some form of social media presence and strategy that can be leveraged to not only announce job openings, but showcase all of the fun you have at your community. When used properly, digital platforms and social media give potential hires a deeper peek into a company, its culture and values.
6. No internal referral or promotion process
Sometimes the best candidates for an opening can be found within the existing workforce. These “passive candidates” are content with their current roles and not seeking new opportunities outside their current employer. However, they should be among the first candidates providers seek when an opening occurs.
Hiring managers can identify passive candidates within an organization through performance reviews, pulse satisfaction surveys and interviews with direct managers. They can be found outside of an organization as well as through well-established referral networks within the workforce. With these protocols in place, providers are more likely to find the perfect candidate before even needing to post a job opening. Plus, many of these individuals already know the ins and outs of your community, saving you time and money during the onboarding process.
The hiring process is challenging enough, but employers that refine and optimize the application process will do well to grasp the most qualified candidates once they have applied.