Private Duty

Pick up the hiring pace, beat the clock to win the caregiver recruitment race

Start processing potential caregivers immediately after the interview to pick up the pace on recruitment and make sure interested, qualified candidates don’t get scooped up before your agency can officially hire them.

The caregiver shortage is the top reported threat to business growth for private duty businesses today, and while there are many specific challenges associated with recruiting caregivers, CNAs and home health aides, there’s one opponent many agencies don’t know they’re up against: the clock.

Imagine your staff has just completed an interview with a lovely caregiver candidate. The candidate is a good fit for your agency and you’re thrilled at the idea of having her join the team.

You say your goodbyes, wish her safe travel home and as she walks out the door, a giant stopwatch begins to run. The race against the clock is on, and only agencies with streamlined processing systems in place will come out on top.

New research shows the importance of processing times after a candidate has completed the interview. A national study of more than 100,000 caregivers, CNAs and home health aides conducted by myCNAjobs and compiled in the 2018 Caregiver Trend Report: Get Competitive Edition found that 54% of caregivers don’t wait more than a few days after an interview before interviewing with another company, with 27% not waiting at all.

The same study also found caregivers receive three or more calls a week for work on average. Imagine that ideal candidate leaving your office, the stopwatch begins and then by the time that caregiver gets to her car in the parking lot, one of your competitors is calling to offer her work.

In a market where you’re competing for talent with other agencies, senior living, fast food, retail and more, you’re also competing against Father Time.

The good news is there are several steps agencies can take in an effort to win the race for talent. The goal with these changes in mind is a ripple effect.

There is no single change to be made that will drastically alter the face of your business, but every little bit counts in an industry with as much competition as home care facing as big a challenge as recruitment.

Each step you can take to improve your results by even a few percentage points — a few more hires out of every 100 candidates — will have positive impact on both your ability to provide quality care and your bottom line.

Consider strategies to beat the clock

Start processing right away. The quicker you get the hiring process started, the quicker you can get that candidate to work. Set aside time after each interview or after a block of interviews to ensure you can start right away and work isn’t left to be finished the following morning.

Get started on the lengthiest parts of the process first, which for many agencies are the background and reference checks.

  • Streamline processes. Examine what your agency currently does to process candidates and look for opportunities to streamline. Consider using technology to your advantage, leveraging resources to make your team more efficient. Digital reference checks are a great example of this. While traditional reference checks can often take a week or more to complete, digital resources on average can trim this process down to just a few days.
  • Communicate clearly. Any ambiguity from the caregiver’s point of view is going to hurt your chances of making the hire. Make sure caregivers are aware of where they stand, what the next step is and what actions they need to take on their own.
    Remember these candidates often have hectic schedules, may be working multiple jobs and are definitely getting multiple calls a week for new job opportunities. It may take more effort to keep them engaged than candidates for other types of positions.
    A great resource to help keep Caregivers engaged and on the same page with your internal staff is the Interview To Hire Guide from myCNAjobs, available free to Private Duty Ezine subscribers.
  • Offer a speedy orientation. It doesn’t matter how quickly candidates are processed if they are required to wait 10 days until the next scheduled orientation. It’s increasingly clear how important a role new hire orientations play in both retention and quality of work from care staff.
    Providing a comprehensive orientation should be a high priority for agencies. Keep in mind, however, that agencies that follow a rigid and infrequent schedule with their orientations are losing out on quality hires to competitors operating with a higher sense of urgency. Too often myCNAjobs sees agencies delay scheduling an orientation until they have five new hires ready to attend, only to find out by that time four of them have left for other opportunities.


About the author: Maggie Keen is a national caregiver recruitment speaker and vice president of strategic initiatives at

Related link: The myCNAjobs 2018 Caregiver Trend Report: Get Competitive Edition is available for free downloadto Private Duty Ezine subscribers at Download the Interview To Hire Guide at