Recruiting for Long Term CareThe healthcare industry is growing at a rate twice that of the national economy and is on track to create 5.6 million new jobs by 2020, according to a study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce. More job openings means there will be competition between healthcare organizations to bring top talent on board — this includes long term care. Long term care facilities strive to be at or near full occupancy at all times. In order to maintain occupancy, long term care organizations must ensure that they have the best possible workforce to provide care for their residents. Communities are more likely to be successful and maintain occupancy if they possess a compassionate and skilled staff who understand the physical and emotional needs of the residents.

Finding the right staff means actively seeking employees with the right qualities for your community. But how do you find those employees? The answer: When attempting to fill a position, think like a salesperson. Sales people know exactly who they are trying to target when they need to close a deal. When recruiting candidates for long term care, talent acquisition professionals may find that using sales tactics will help attract top talent.

Target the Right Audience

Just like sales people track and nurture prospects in their customer relationship management system (CRM), when recruiting talent for long term care, an applicant tracking system should be utilized. With an applicant tracking system, talent acquisition professionals can save significant amounts of time posting job descriptions and reduce their time to hire. “With an applicant tracking system, we can load job descriptions into the system and tailor them for certain job boards. Now we no longer have to copy and paste information to job boards every time we have an open position. The applicant tracking system automatically uploads job descriptions whenever we want to post them online,” said Eli Rock, Recruiting and Onboarding Leader at Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania.

Just like sales people have to qualify their leads for their readiness, willingness, and ability to buy, talent acquisition professionals must ensure their prospect meets certain qualifications. When talent acquisition professionals are recruiting talent for their long term care community, they must ensure that they don’t come across as a community that accepts every applicant. You want prospective candidates to know they must possess certain qualities to be accepted. This means applicants should be well aware that aside from technical skills, they need to have certain behavioral competencies to be considered a cultural fit for your organization. When writing the job descriptions, in addition to the skills and educational credentials required, be sure to list desired qualities such as compassion, openness to learning and flexibility. “We want the job descriptions that we use internally to be all-encompassing, since we ask employees to sign off on them when they are hired. If an employee experiences a performance problem, it’s important for managers to have a detailed job description to refer to during coaching conversations,” said Rock.

Talent acquisition professionals striving to recruit top talent should consider attending industry events. Just as sales people attend trade shows to network with prospects and create brand awareness of their product or company within the industry, it’s beneficial for talent acquisition professionals to increase their organization’s brand awareness as an employer of choice. For example, consider attending a long term care nursing association tradeshow. Regardless of the event size or location, you never know who you’re going to meet there. Everyone you meet could be a potential candidate.

Think Customers, not Applicants

When recruiting for long term care, think of the person you are trying to recruit as a “customer” rather than an “applicant.” Thinking of the applicant as prospective customer will help talent acquisition professionals get in the mind set of a sales person. It’s a talent acquisition professional’s goal to make them feel as though it would be a privilege to work at your organization and convey how much they are going to enjoy their prospective position and organizational culture. One way to convey this information is to incorporate your organization’s mission, vision and values into the job description. Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania, for example, states its mission as the first essential duty listed on all of their job descriptions. Heritage Community of Kalamazoo also agrees that candidates should know the organizations mission up front. “You have to commit to your values,” said Myra Johnson, Vice President of Human Resources at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo. “Part of our mission is customer service skills. That is part of the fabric of our organization in terms of employee expectations.” By exposing applicants to your organization’s culture incorporating expectations in the job description, you’re setting them up for success from the beginning.

Set Recruitment Quotas

Just like sales people have a quota they have to meet, recruiters and HR professionals should set recruitment goals. Long term care organizations can set realistic recruitment expectations based on previous recruitment metrics, such as days-to-fill and time-to-hire. By utilizing an applicant tracking system to review your past performance, you can figure out a shorter days-to-fill goal that isn’t drastically shorter than what’s possible to achieve. However, in order to set realistic improvement goals, you have to know those metrics.

Applicant tracking software also makes it easier for you to communicate with prospects by setting reminders and gathering information from past conversations. Have you ever noticed that sales people seem to remember everything about past conversations you’ve had? That’s because they’re utilizing a CRM to keep notes of your past conversations. By referencing previous conversations, sales people seem more personable and the person their talking to feels more engaged in the conversation about the product or company. By taking notes and tracking past conversations in an applicant tracking system, talent acquisition professionals can build more significant relationships by keeping the candidate informed and engage throughout the entire hiring process.

Thinking like a salesperson has many advantages for talent acquisition professionals when they’re recruiting for long term care organizations. “Recruiting is sales. In today’s market, top talent is so limited and companies are already fighting a talent war,” says Michelle Strasburger, Director of Talent Management at HealthcareSource. By incorporating sales techniques into your recruitment process, your organization is bound to attract higher qualified candidates. “The recruitment process is an opportunity to sell the candidate on the role, the organization, the culture and what differentiates the organization. In sales, you are selling a product and in recruitment, the product is the job, the company and the culture.”

Interested in learning about how the hiring process can impact your organization’s culture and impact employee satisfaction? View this webinar replay to see how Episcopal Ministries to the Aging (EMA) Communities inspired meaningful living for residents and employees by improving their hiring process. 




About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.