Recruiting and hiring employees in I/DD requires a lot of time and attention. And while the emergence of COVID-19 has widened the talent pool for I/DD providers, it hasn’t necessarily made hiring and recruiting all that much easier.
Posting to job boards, asking for employee referrals and sharing your various positions on social media will help you cast a wide net. But once a job seeker has laid eyes on one of your open positions, it’s vital you provide a candidate-first experience to keep them engaged and excited to work for your organization.
Here are a few key strategies I/DD providers can implement to provide a stellar candidate experience and improve overall hiring results.
Job Descriptions Should Never Be One-Size-Fits-All
The goal with any job description is to drive interest, while also allowing candidates to self-assess if they're a fit for that position. Every job you post should have a clear description that is specific to that role, that position, and for those with multiple locations, that specific residency or home.
Be sure to list out any mandatory requirements such as job experience, skills or certifications and provide a brief description that paints a “day-in-the-life” for the role. And be sure to provide a sense of how that specific position fits into the overall goals and success of the organization. Keep it brief, utilizing bullets to make your job postings easy to scan, active verbs and short sentences.
This may sound like a lot to fit in to a single job posting, but these details are important in helping potential applicants make an informed decision as to whether or not to apply, particularly if you are targeting those who may be new to the industry. In turn, this can help you capture more quality, over just quantity, of applicants.
Make Applications Clear And Concise
More and more applicants are searching and applying for jobs on their phones. Make sure your application is clear in its instructions, concise in the information it requires and quick to complete.
And remember, just like your job description, your application shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Customize your application and the information you collect based on the position. For example, an administrative position would likely require more information to demonstrate qualifications than someone who is applying for an entry-level, hourly position.
Follow Up With Applicants Right Away
Have you ever applied for a job you were super excited about, only to never get a response? According to a 2012 CareerBuilder study, 75% of job applicants have experienced this. And it often leaves a lasting impression...and trust me, it's not a good one.
Even when a candidate isn’t a great fit, it’s important to let them know you’ve received their application and that you are not interested in moving forward at this time. While they may be disappointed, it’s better than leaving them in the dark. Providing this transparency might even encourage them to apply for another position that's a better fit in the future.
Making it a rule to follow up with all applicants right away can also help you prevent missing out on your next great hire. While COVID-19 has expanded the talent pool, competition remains high. You want to make sure you’re the first to reach out to that perfect candidate, not the last. Reach out as soon as possible by phone call, email or preferably, text message, to let your top applicants know you’d like to schedule an interview.
Consistently Communicate Throughout The Hiring Process
Communication shouldn’t stop after the initial interview is scheduled. Keep candidates engaged by sending automated interview reminders. Continue the conversation after the interview is complete by letting candidates know next steps and when they can expect a decision. These small touches can make a big difference in keeping potential hires engaged and excited to join the team.
Once you’ve extended your offer, keep them in the loop on any background checks or reference requirements. The candidate portal in OnShift Employ lets them check their status at any time throughout your process. Our talent acquisition software also allows new hires to complete onboarding paperwork before they start so their first day on the job can be spent getting to know coworkers and clients.
And if you aren’t extending an offer, be sure to communicate this as well, providing any relevant feedback you can offer.
Take A Structural Approach To Interviews
Interviews aren’t just about you getting to know the candidate—it’s about the candidate getting to know your organization. Structured interviews can ensure interviewers are asking the right questions to evaluate each candidate for the job and provide a simple system to quickly rate and rank potential new hires.
For interviewees, structured interviews show your organization is organized and respectful of the time they’ve set aside to meet with you.
Keep Candidates In Mind For Future Positions
There’s no reason to completely start your talent search over from scratch each time you post a new position. Maintaining a database of past applicants within your hiring software can give you a jumpstart on finding your next great hire. And since these people were interested in your organization in the past, they may be more eager than a candidate you’ve never had any interactions with.
Plus, there’s nothing more complimentary than having an organization proactively reach out to see if you’re interested in being a part of their care team.