National unemployment rates are near an all-time low of 3.6 percent[i]. Finding top talent in a tight labor market requires creativity, connections, and collaboration. You have to be resourceful, as well as responsive to any potential candidate you come into contact with, no matter what the venue. If you wait too long to respond to inquiries, applications, or messages and emails from prospective candidates, you run the risk of losing them to another company. The keys to successful post-acute care recruiting? Be creative and innovative, and try everything to ensure that your pipeline remains flooded with the best-and-brightest talent. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach in this type of market.

Health Dimensions Group (HDG) offers the following recommendations for recruiters and organizations that want to play in this game of catch-and-release and hope that the catching is more successful than the releasing.

Recognize the Consistent Increase in Wage Growth

We all have data coming out of our ears for wage rates and wage studies for a variety of positions, locations, industries, etc. The strategy to be wage competitive has a whole new meaning, especially when your competition is the local grocery store or gas station down the road that is paying $3–$5 more per hour than some of your critical front-line positions. This also occurs with high-demand positions, such as clinical or specific leadership roles with niche skillsets.

The wages are what the market is willing to pay; this throws any wage data out the window. Listen to your candidates and track what is being said about wages and compensation and why you are losing candidates to competition. What is written in a book can be different than what’s happening in real life. Look for similarities and know your competition.

Get Creative

Recruitment is not the same as it used to be when you could post your position and the candidates that fit the criteria applied. Now, there is a lot of active sourcing needed to recruit qualified talent. Use social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram, along with Indeed, to gain awareness and to connect to passive candidates. If you see someone at a local coffee shop that impresses you with their customer service, give them your card and let them know they are doing a great job!

Stand out from the competition and always be responsive no matter what venue you are in. Effective recruitment doesn’t stop at the phone and computer. It goes far beyond those methods and is developing into a much more complicated model that has no restrictions in gaining access to talent for all levels within an organization.

Build Collaboration and Connections

Collaboration and connections are critical when you are trying to develop a strategy to find talent. No matter what the position entails, it’s imperative to build connections with other players in the industry. We are all in this together and could use each other as resources when having a difficult time. Misery loves company, right? Well, live by that motto and make friends with your outside vendors, competitors, and customers to help each other expand recruitment reach. Maybe they have an open position that you have a candidate for and vice versa.

Streamline Your Application Process

Make it easy for candidates to reach you, and when they do reach out, respond immediately—not the next day—the same day. If a candidate looks online and the process to apply is confusing or complicated, you need to fix it so they can easily click a button and submit their interest or find a contact number to talk with someone live. The days are gone of having to fill out paper applications—everything is done electronically for ease of use and accessibility. Adapt now or you will never get ahead.

Be Open to Training for Skillset and Hiring for the Right Values

Maybe you found a candidate or have someone internally that doesn’t check all your boxes, but they have some pretty darn good experience and passion for the field they are working in. Take a chance. Talk to them about the position and requirements and see if they would be open to training in the areas they lack.

Some of the most successful hires are those who were hired for a position for which they really didn’t have a ton of experience, but were able to thrive in the organization because they were such a good value and cultural match.

Retain, Retain, Retain

Lastly, invest in your current employees. Keep in mind the amount of resources you had to invest to find them. You better make sure you have an attractive employee engagement program and monitor their satisfaction. Talk to employees about their experiences and look for ways to improve. The book A Complaint Is a Gift by Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller is spot on and in line with any business model. We all deal with people every day and are bound to get feedback on a daily basis—both negative and positive. Embrace it. If you don’t get complaints and feedback, how are you ever going to adapt and improve? Use this information to continuously improve your process and retain your best players that you worked so hard to get within all levels of the organization.

In summary, national unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve been in almost five decades[ii]. This requires companies to develop a workforce strategy solution to attract and hire productive talent in a tight labor market: look at your wages, be creative, collaborate, and communicate with everyone you come into contact with. Additional steps include streamlining your application process, being open to hiring based on fit versus fulfilling a checklist, and focusing on retention. These efforts will provide a framework for effective hiring results in the most challenging of times. Happy recruiting!

Long-Term Care, Senior Living, and Post-acute Care Recruiting and Placement Assistance

As consultants and operators in post-acute, long-term care, and senior living, HDG understands the staffing challenges that many health care organizations are facing every day. HDG can help you fill your open positions with the right person, right away. We have highly experienced staff, backed by the support of our consulting and operations teams, ready to join your team as soon as the need arises. If you’d like to learn more about HDG’s interim and permanent leadership workforce solutions, please contact us at 763.537.5700 or and visit our website.

Sarah Friede Post-acute Care RecruitingAuthored by:

Sarah Friede, MBA,
Senior Director of Recruitment and Placement Services