How to Hire the Home Care Staff You Need

Tips for finding the highest-quality talent for your home care agency

A handshake between an interviewer and potential home care staff member shows that using solid hiring practices pays off.

Hiring the right staff for your agency requires careful planning and thoughtful evaluation of candidates. It’s tough work, but it pays dividends. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of making a bad hire is 30% of the employee’s annual salary, not to mention the damage to team stress and morale.

To help you make the best possible hires for your home care agency, we’ve compiled a list of tips for elevating your hiring process above run-of-the-mill practices to find better, higher-quality candidates.

Identify your needs

The first sign your home health care agency needs staff is that your team is overwhelmed. The feeling of being stretched thin may be felt in just one department, or across the business.

It may be that you need an operations manager to oversee scheduling coordinators, but instead of looking for an outside hire, are there opportunities to promote your current employees to fill needed roles? You may have an experienced scheduler who’s ready to take on the responsibility of managing the team, or a caregiver who’s ready for a change of pace.

Early career positions are easier (and less expensive) to back-fill, and promoting internally can help retain staff long-term. According to SHRM, employees who are promoted within three years of hire have a 70% chance of staying with the company long-term and employees who move laterally within the company have a 62% chance of staying.

Plus, the institutional knowledge of your current employees is particularly valuable in middle- and senior-level roles.

Write an inclusive job description

Job seekers spend an average of 14 seconds looking at a job description before deciding whether to apply. Your job postings represent valuable real estate you need to hook qualified candidates fast.

Tips for inclusive job descriptions

  • Avoid gender-coded language, like “rockstar” or “guru,” which can make women less inclined to apply.
  • Avoid racially coded language, like “must be a native English speaker.”
  • Eliminate unnecessary educational requirements. What’s more important: a four-year degree or a track record of providing successful marketing campaigns?
  • Limit your “must-haves.” Most caregivers will have to meet licensing requirements, of course, but consider the skills that can be gained on the job and the experience you can provide them.
  • Rethink experience thresholds. Rather than requiring a specific number of years on the job, ask that applicants be able to demonstrate specific achievements or capabilities, like “experience resolving customer complaints” rather than “3+ years of experience in a customer service role.”

Invest in the candidate experience

According to a report by analytics firm Brandon Hall Group, organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve quality-of-hire by 70%.

Home care agencies must invest in the interview process. Here’s how.

Create an evaluation rubric: Before anyone reviews applications, gather stakeholders, like management, recruiting, and the hiring manager, to come to an agreement on how applicants will be evaluated. This helps create consistent hiring results across job types.

Build a diverse panel of interviewers: According to Glassdoor, 76% of employees and job seekers say workplace diversity is an important factor when considering companies and job offers. Make sure your interviewers are as diverse as possible (race, gender, seniority, etc.) so you can invite a wide range of points of view.

Lay out the hiring process for candidates: Tell candidates what they can expect from your hiring process, including how they will be evaluated, who they will interview with, how long the process will take, and whom they can contact with questions.

Market your open positions

The “spray and pray” method of posting open jobs to career sites is no longer enough. Caregivers, especially, are difficult to find, so your recruitment marketing strategy must be a competitive one.

Leverage your social media accounts. Seventy-nine percent of job seekers use social media in their search, and those on the market for a job rank social media as one of the most useful resources. Early career workers, in particular, are prone to using social media platforms, like TikTok and Instagram, to find work.

Source from diverse candidate pools: Look beyond your normal talent pools to find home care workers with new kinds of backgrounds. If you generally recruit out of local schools or post only on one job board, you may be missing out on qualified talent. Cast a wider net.

Start an employee referral program: Especially for agencies that need to hire home care staff quickly, an employee referral program can decrease time-to-hire, lower cost-to-hire, and retain talent longer.

Interview thoughtfully

Sixty-nine percent of companies say that a broken interview process has the greatest effect on the quality of new hires, and those without a standard interview process are 5x more likely to make a bad hire.

Don’t rely only on the trite interview questions, like why do you want to work here? Or, what unique qualities do you bring? And avoid the standard interview setting as well, with an interviewer on one side of the table and candidate on the other. Push your team to provide an educational, inclusive, thorough, and human interview experience.

Tips for improving your agency’s interview process

  • Train your hiring managers and all interviewers on best practices for evaluating candidates. Provide question ideas, tell them what they can’t ask, and tell each interviewer what you want them to evaluate. For instance, you may want your current caregivers to evaluate caregiver applicants on problem-solving skills, and a scheduling coordinator evaluate them on their communication skills.
  • Take your candidates around the office and introduce them to staff, observe how they interact with others, how they treat them, and the kinds of questions they ask.
  • Get them out of the office too. Invite them for coffee or lunch to see how they treat staff. You may also find that candidates are more comfortable outside of the traditional interview setting, and therefore get a more candid look at their character and personality.
  • Introduce them to more than just the hiring manager and the HR leaders. Bring in other caregivers to ask questions or call in a scheduling coordinator for an interview. Employees don’t work in a vacuum, so it’s important that their future colleagues feel comfortable and confident working with them.

Onboard thoroughly

Onboarding new home care staff matters. A lot. Companies with an engaging onboarding program retain 91% of new hires for the first year, and those with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70%.

Tips for a better onboarding process

  • Though some training can be completed online asynchronously, engage onboarding employees face to face as much as possible. Making a personal connection with new workers shows them you value their experience.
  • Introduce new hires to the company's mission and values.
  • Train them on basic processes, like data entry, patient logs, scheduling, reporting, and requesting time off.
  • Show them how to access benefits like healthcare, pay stubs, EAP, training opportunities, etc.
  • Help new hires set personal goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job.
  • Introduce new home care staff to colleagues and help them network within the organization—those connections can keep new hires engaged and at your agency longer.
  • Provide a mentor or point of contact in the organization who is not the new hire’s manager they can go to with questions.
  • Schedule check-ins with new hires to ensure they’re settling into their roles confidently.
  • Document all of these things in a digitally accessible employee handbook so your workers can reference it later.

Let us make the hiring process easier

Building an efficient and effective hiring process isn't easy, so let Home Care Marketing Pros take some of the load off. Our digital marketing solutions include career sites and help with recruiting automation that can give your recruiting and hiring efforts the boost they need! Reach out to us to learn more!

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