How to Find Applicants Who Are Passionate About Their Work

Katherine Shott, chief human resources officer, Living Branches

Engaged staff who are passionate about their work can make a tremendous difference in resident happiness and health. These are the folks who always put extra effort into their work and who provide outstanding care for residents.

Because of this, these engaged, passionate staff are also an asset to any senior care facility —  but finding applicants who have this passion for caregiving isn’t always easy. Adjusting your recruiting and hiring process can help you to appeal to and identify caregivers who are truly passionate about their work.

Establish a Referral Program

Rather than relying on job advertisements to generate applicants, establishing a referral program with your current staff may create valuable leads and connections. Katherine Shott, chief human resources officer at Living Branches, states that current employees who refer applicants are one of Living Branches’ best sources of new hires.

“Generally, employees won’t recommend someone they wouldn’t want to work with and employees don’t want their name associated with someone who wouldn’t be a good employee,” explains Shott. “We offer employee referral bonuses ranging from $250 to $750 to encourage and thank our employees for sending us these referrals. We would rather pay our current employees than pay the job boards or billboard companies!”

Workable recommends that you make your referral process as clear as possible. Share your job descriptions with staff and explain why you’re looking to fill positions.

It can also be helpful to share examples of candidates you’re not looking for, such as candidates lacking required on-the-job experience or education. In addition to offering monetary compensation, you might choose to publicly recognize staff who have made successful referrals for new hires.

Develop an Effective Interview Process

The interview process is one of the best times to learn about an applicant’s character and dedication to caregiving, but it’s important to develop a process that’s effective and that helps you to identify these qualities.

Nanne Finis, Chief Nurse Executive at Kronos Incorporated, recommends having a job applicant meet with the team they would be working with in the position. Finis states that you will want to see care and compassion exhibited as a candidate describes his or her previous work, volunteer opportunities, and professional opportunities.

“You also want to consider how well a candidate will exhibit the vision and mission that your organization is all about,” states Finis. “So many organizations in the senior housing industry have very, very focused missions for their seniors. How does the applicant speak to that? How do they react to your mission? Would they be ambassadors to what you’re trying to achieve?”

Shott also notes that Living Branches learns valuable information about candidates through interviews and by checking references. “We want to see that applicants are committed to the residents for whom they would be caring. We use behavioral interviewing.”

Questions such as “Tell me about a time…” or “Share with us when you…” give candidates opportunities to share examples of their dedication and character, rather than using words that they know will sound good to the interviewer.

“During the interview process we try to find out why they are drawn to working in a senior living community and to share their story. This will show if they have the qualities of compassion, care, and respect that we look for in candidates,” explains Shott.

Structure your interviews so that you’re creating open communication with your candidates. Then, listen carefully to what their answers reveal about their character and dedication.

Focus on Appealing to Quality Applicants

In addition to identifying quality applicants, changing your application process can help your business appeal to those applicants, too.

Finis notes that the employee experience begins with the application and interview process, and businesses can use technology to signal to applicants that they’re sophisticated and that they embrace technology.

Kronos’ Human Capital Management technology collects an applicant’s information, then creates a profile that travels with the applicant through the hire and onboarding process, all the way through their employment. It ensures that candidates will always know just where in the hiring process they are at any time.

“A candidate will see an advanced technology onboarding process which speaks volumes to what the business can offer,” explains Finis. “As an applicant, they’re looking for organization. This sophistication is an attraction to an employee. The younger generation is really looking for organizations that use that digital experience to attract and retain them. They want to work for employers who are really thinking about that employee experience.”

Encourage Quality Employees to Stay

After identifying and hiring those valuable employees who are passionate about their work, you’ll need to shift your focus to employee retention.

Finis suggests ensuring that employees have access to professional development and training opportunities to help them advance their careers and develop their skills. Working to create a work-life balance and establishing schedules that work with an employee’s lifestyle can also help to build employee retention.

Be sure to frequently recognize your employees’ contributions, too. “Turnover often happens quite early,” states Finis. “It’s important to really think about that early onboarding period and to recognize contributions at the two- or three-month mark so employees feel part of the team and invested in the organization. Some of those early recognition opportunities make long-term impacts in retaining those employees.”

By tailoring your hiring process, you can ensure that you’re investing your time and resources in employees who are dedicated to their work and who are a great fit for your business’ mission. These employees can change your residents’ lives and can become some of your business’ greatest assets.

Topics: Featured Articles , Staffing