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Now Hiring: Strategies To Improve Recruitment In I/DD

July 8, 2020 | Cari Rosenberger

Now Hiring_ Strategies To Improve Recruitment In I_DDFor many I/DD providers it is anything but business as usual. However, as more and more restrictions are lifted across the country and programs begin to open, many are thinking about what’s next for their organizations.

Prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis, many of you were feeling the effects of a growing workforce shortage. Low unemployment and high competition for talent made it difficult to not only attract qualified talent, but hire them before someone else could.

Today’s labor market looks dramatically different. Many have been displaced from their jobs due to the growing COVID-19 crisis. And unemployment is at an all-time high. However, this doesn’t mean finding the candidates you need will be any easier. The pool is bigger, yes, but your approach to hiring must be different if you want to be successful.  

As we approach our next normal, it’s important that providers rethink their strategies around hiring and recruiting—opting for a mixture of grassroots efforts, social media and job boards to really optimize their efforts.

Here are some strategies that can help I/DD providers recruit more efficiently and hire more effectively.

Make the right first impression.

Job candidates are often given the advice to present themselves in a way that makes the best first impression. However, this advice is just as important for employers to hear as well! A job posting is sometimes the first impression a candidate gets of your organization. Make it a good one by including some information about your company and why an applicant would want to work there. Include things like any awards you’ve won, special benefits or perks, as well as your mission and values statements.

Make sure your website and social media channels showcase what it’s like to work for your organization and highlight your great company culture. And finally, spend some time reviewing your page on Glassdoor. This is often one of the firsts places candidates look when researching a potential job. Add a description, important company information like benefits and perks, as well as photos. And don’t forget to look at the reviews, taking time to respond to those that are negative. Doing so will show you are concerned about those who didn’t have a positive experience working for your organization and that you are working to address any issues.

Capture (and keep!) their attention.

When someone’s found your job posting, it’s important to make sure you don’t lose them along the way due to a poor candidate experience—something that nearly 60% of job seekers say they’ve experienced while applying for jobs.

Remember, many candidates, especially hourly workers, are applying on their phone, often during their break at work, and may not have a resume readily available, if at all. Keep your application short and only ask for the most relevant information. Evaluate your current application process, prioritizing a mobile-friendly experience.

And be sure to include a few qualifying questions at the start of your application to assess minimum requirements such as having a valid driver's license or a specific certification. These questions not only help you instantly weed out those who are not a fit for the position, but save time on the part of the applicant by not requiring them to fill out a lengthy application for a job they are not qualified for.


When job applicants apply for a job, they generally don’t just apply to one position at one organization. That’s why it’s important to connect with applicants as quickly as possible. A recent survey found that the majority of job seekers want organizations to communicate with them more clearly throughout the hiring process. Meaning this is the perfect time to over-communicate.

Text messaging can be a highly effective way to reach a candidate as soon as you’ve received their application. It can also help you keep the candidate informed of important steps in the hiring process, typical timelines, as well as next steps.

A talent acquisition software such as OnShift Employ helps providers ensure communication is consistent for every candidate by automating communications and keeping candidates engaged through the hiring process.

Go virtual without losing that one-to-one connection.

Social distancing has quickly become the new norm in our society. And with some anticipating that we could be battling COVID-19 for up to two years, it’s safe to assume that many of the practices put in place today won’t be fully going away any time soon.

Because of this, many providers are already opting to host virtual interviews with candidates instead of traditional in-person interviews. At first, many organizations were hesitant to connect with candidates in this manner. However, as things like virtual family dinners and virtual happy hours have become more commonplace in our personal lives, so has the idea of virtual meetings and interviews.

As you are conducting virtual interviews, make sure the candidate knows what link or platform will be required and insist that everyone keep their cameras on. Doing so can allow you to assess many of the things you’d consider during an in-person interview—including their body language and their overall presentation.

And take advantage of the many benefits of a virtual interview. They can be recorded, scored and compared—not just on the part of the candidate, but the interviewer as well. Take time to examine the interview from both sides not only to ensure you have the right candidate for the job, but that your interview style and process is as efficient and effective as possible.

Streamline the interviewing & screening process.

Job-specific, structured interviews ensure that every candidate is asked the same question, every time and can easily be scored and tracked accordingly—helping you more efficiently assess a candidate’s competency for a particular position and quickly find the right person for the job. It can also take some of the guesswork off the interviewer and show applicants that your organization is both organized and respectful of their time.

Talent acquisition software like OnShift Employ helps organizations create structured interviews that can be accessed and followed by both HR and hiring managers.

Once you’ve found the perfect candidate, don’t let them get lost due to a sea of paperwork and screenings. Start by putting a standard hiring structure in place. Then look to automate repeatable tasks such as forms, background checks, offer letters, etc. Finally, when you have this structure in place, continuously track to key metrics such as time-to-hire or referral sources to better understand your hiring process and optimize it for the future.

Hiring was a top challenge for many I/DD providers prior to COVID. And it will continue to be a challenge as we settle in to our next normal. However, with these practices in place, and the right talent acquisition software, I/DD providers will be better equipped to tap in to the newly created job pool and reduce the risk of missing out on top talent to a competitor.

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About Cari Rosenberger

Cari Rosenberger is a Senior Portfolio Marketing Manager at OnShift.

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