Finding great employees is no easy task in today’s red-hot economy. The search for exceptional home care representatives can be particularly challenging. Many are happy in their current positions, while others may present with questionable qualifications.

Home care agency owners may then wonder how they can find the right candidate for their home health marketing needs. While there’s no perfect science when it comes to hiring great senior care representatives, the following proven techniques can help:

Go with Your Gut (“Red Flags” are Real)

Science and technology have created a culture that values hard data over feelings. However, there’s still something to be said for leaders who “listen to their guts.” So-called “red flags” are real, and the sophisticated human brain is very capable of sniffing-out phonies.

Just as law enforcement officers learn to detect lying, experienced home care leaders develop a sixth sense for when things aren’t adding-up with a prospective sales representative. Some indicators are more obvious, like resumes that reflect work histories different than LinkedIn profiles. Others may be intuitive.

Does the prospective candidate claim to have an uncanny ability for cold-calling, but she seems unusually nervous during her interview? Or, perhaps the supposedly well-connected sales representative claims to be “friends” with every case manager in the city. But, he lacks basic knowledge of hospital discharge protocols.

Medical Sales Positions are Not All Equal

Home care recruiters often conduct generic searches when seeking sales representatives. And, it’s true that great hires can sometimes be made absent of experience. However, leaders must remember that general “healthcare” experience doesn’t necessarily translate directly to home health marketing.

Someone who works as a pharmaceutical representative, for example, is trying to influence doctors’ prescribing habits. His approach still involves sales, but it’s very subtle and focused on directing behavior. After all, doctors and patients aren’t typically paying for drugs out-of-pocket.

Home care marketing, on the other hand, asks for a more significant commitment from patients and referral sources. First, non-medical home care is a private-pay expense and not covered by health insurance or Medicare. Second, referral sources enjoy a variety of home care partners who provide similar services. There’s no patent on caregiving.

Healthcare-specific sales experience can certainly be a feather in a candidate’s cap. But, wise hiring managers don’t place too much value in such a background, unless it relates specifically to home care or home health marketing.

Employee Referrals are great…Except When They Aren’t

Most companies value employee-referred job candidates. And, the saying, “birds of a feather flock together,” often holds true. With that said, home care agencies must still be cautious when recruiting a sales representative.

The harsh reality is that effective home health marketing requires more than just integrity, hard work and other traits typically associated with good employees. Home care representatives must also be competent in sales techniques or at least have the aptitude to learn such skills. Plenty of terrific people simply can’t do it.

Many owners have made the mistake of hiring an employee-referred candidate only to quickly regret the decision. Leaders must consider the source and whether or not that worker is a salesperson herself. Ultimately, the hiring manger must exercise objective skepticism with all candidates.

Community Relationships Aren’t Everything

Some sales representatives confidently sell their “relationships” with community referral sources during job interviews. While a few do enjoy valuable networks, other claims are exaggerated. It’s important for hiring managers to distinguish between the two.

One way to prove the value of claimed relationships is to ask for data. How many referrals has the candidate received from his “friends” at the nearby hospital? Does he have their direct phone numbers and email addresses? Can he schedule a meeting at-will?

Reputations Can Be Positive OR Negative

It’s important to remember that industry reputations cut both directions. One representative may be known in the community for her great personality and professionalism, while another is known for his pushiness and unethical behavior. Hiring managers should investigate candidates’ reputations within the community by talking to other industry folks.

A Blank Canvass May Mean Fewer Problems

While it’s important to verify the claims and reputations of home care representatives who have prior industry experience, it’s also okay to entertain strong applicants who are new to home health marketing. Sometimes inexperienced folks with the right aptitude can quickly get up to speed. There are many great home care sales representatives who learned on the job.

Managers who consider junior-level candidates vastly expand their applicant pools and also reap other benefits. First, new salespeople are blank canvasses and are not trapped in bad, irreversible habits. Second, their lower salary requirements may provide a lot of “bang for the buck.”

Final Thoughts

Most home care companies are concerned about growing their businesses. After all, home health marketing is no easy task. While it’s not rocket science, effective sales does require the right type of representative.

Companies that take the time to vet candidates will ultimately find the right person for the job and hire great senior care representatives. Agencies that seek additional help should consult with a top-notch home health marketing firm today!

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