You’re the boss! You are running your own private home care agency. Finally, the day has arrived that you are ready to hire your first employee (is the positon for a personal support worker, caregiver, or nurse?!).
It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Does the responsibility of being an employer hit you like a Mack truck on black ice?
Don’t worry. I felt the same way at first. Let me walk you through the essential things you need to know about hiring staff for your home care agency.
- Make your Job Posting interesting!
Hiring professional caregivers like personal support workers and care aides can be a competitive process! You want the best possible staff to care for your clients…so you need to appeal to the best!
- Help the applicant feel connected to the position by explaining a bit about the WHO they will be caring for (i.e. Are you enabling seniors to live independently at home? Are you supporting someone living with Cancer?)
- Offer an incentive for the applicant to work for you! Do you offer full-time hours? Do you offer flexible scheduling? Do you have clients accessible by public transportation? Do you have a retention bonus after they have worked for you consistently for 3 or 6 months?
- Make sure you include your vision for the company and the WHY behind the role.
- It's okay to say that it's a small private home care agency! Being able to offer personalized attention to your employees and really getting to know them offers a lot to professional caregivers who may be feeling overlooked or just like a number in a huge machine.
- Ask them to join YOUR caregiving family. Remember, your competitive advantage is being uniquely you. Don't try to act like a big agency if you're not! This will also help you to minimize applicants who aren't interested in working for a smaller company.
- Contact Applicants RIGHT AWAY!!
Call applicants within 24-48hrs!
People who have just applied to your job posting are keen and actively looking for a position. If you wait you are missing your opportunity, and they will likely have found something else by the time you reach out. The position you are hiring for is highly competitive for EMPLOYERS, so don’t expect applicants to wait around to hear from you. In my experience, you will also get in contact with fewer applicants if you call weeks later.
Strike while the iron is hot …as the saying goes!
- Contact ALL the applicants who apply (with a few exceptions)!
I know this sounds strange. Initially, I was waiting to find the perfect resume with the exact experience I posted for in a nicely formatted professional package.
I got a few of those applicants, but generally the resumes will be basic and underwhelming. Eventually I decided to start calling them all to understand who was applying, and the truth is that I was pleasantly surprised!
The poorly formatted or lackluster resume applicants are actually GREAT and may be overlooked by other agencies because of their resumes. I have also noticed that some applicants may not realize the impression their resume makes, after all, they spend their time caring for people, not writing resumes….so definitely don’t judge the book by it’s cover.
The only applicants I would suggest avoiding are those located in another country, and those who clearly state that they have no domestic or health care experience.
- The initial phone conversation matters!
Speaking to the applicant on the phone can give you an initial impression that can help you determine whether it makes sense to proceed to an in-person interview. Are they polite? Are you able to understand each other? I always like to ask them what made them decide to become a (insert job title…PSW/ Care Aide/ Nurse). Those answers can be quite telling in terms of their motivation to work for your company.
If you book an in-person interview, try to schedule it right then while they are on the phone. This helps you to determine whether they are organized about their personal schedule.
ALWAYS send a follow up confirmation with the interview date and time in writing by email.
- Don’t re-schedule an interview more than once
It is important to be open-minded and give an applicant the benefit of the doubt. We all have family emergencies and scheduling conflicts from time to time. If something comes up, and you had a good phone conversation with the applicant, you can offer to re-schedule the interview.
If it happens again, or if the applicant doesn’t contact you BEFORE the interview time to ask to re-schedule…. cancel and don’t rebook!
Running a home care agency requires reliable staff to show up for your clients when they are expected.
If an applicant starts making excuses and starts giving you scheduling trouble now, you can bet that this person will NOT be a reliable employee. Don’t waste your time!
Remember, recruiting is one of the MOST important tasks in your business. Finding the best people to deliver the quality of care that you expect for your clients, while representing your company is essential.
Interviewing is hard work, it takes time and attention, and it is a 50/50 shot at best to determine whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for your company long-term. The only way to become a better interviewer is to practice, meet lots of candidates and start to get a better sense of the characteristics and experience that you are looking for in an excellent employee.
My best employees are:
- easy to communicate with,
- polite, and
- dedicated to caring for their clients.
In terms of experience and personality, some were new grads, some had been working in the industry for years….some were quiet and some had a personality larger than life. They were very different, yet those characteristics were the same for all of them. Be open-minded when you start this process to allow yourself to discover candidates that you may not have considered. Be informed about what skills are necessary to provide safe care, and always keep your core values in mind.
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