Recruiting home health aides to meet demand
As baby boomers age and their life expectancy increases, their health care needs also increase, including those for home assistance and companionship. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of home health aides to grow by a whopping 36 percent between 2018 and 2028. That’s seven times the national average growth rate for all occupations.
To meet this growing demand, recruiters and hiring managers will need to find ways to source, hire and retain these personal care assistants as efficiently and effectively as possible. The ideas and expert advice below can help with recruiting home health aides, including how to interview, source and close the deal.
Sourcing home health aides:
The home caregiver position is typically a low-skilled, low-paid job that requires minimal training and no college degree. However, it requires a great deal of empathy, patience and stamina. These factors can make it difficult to source new employees. Some common sourcing tactics include:
- Training programs: Some home health agencies regularly recruit graduates of training programs.
- Referrals: Word of mouth can yield high-quality candidates for HHAs, as well as reward employees for helping with recruitment.
- Advertising: Job postings are most effective when they specify available shifts and locations.
Regardless of where you find your personal care assistant candidates, be sure to run a background check and ask for references from former employers. Keeping clients safe and well cared for is critical.
“The vast majority of our candidates come to us by word of mouth,” says Ruth Farrago, director of operations at Humana Inc.’s SeniorBridge, a multistate home-care agency. “We do open houses, go into communities, place ads in local publications, do job fairs and get involved with community organizations.”
“Our best caregivers give us our best candidates,” says Farrago. “We have a referral bonus program.”
Interviewing home health aides:
Since there is little formal training or education required to become a home health aide, the interview is an even more crucial part of the recruitment process than normal. This is your opportunity to see if a given candidate has the personality and drive to deal with elderly and disabled clients, some of whom may present extra challenges. Traits to look for in your applicants include:
- Strong communication skills
- A positive attitude
- A desire to help others
- Physical ability to assist clients
- Ability to monitor vital signs
- Real-time problem-solving skills
“We use a number of tools, including a screening test and face-to-face interview with role-play questions,” says Farrago. “We ask real-life questions to see how the caregiver would think. Do they know when to call a supervisor?”
“We assess their presentation and language skills, their comfort in speaking,” says Farrago. “So, we know who we’re hiring. And it helps us match caregivers with our clients.”
Recruiting and retention tactics
Because home caregivers have long been excluded from the protections of US wage and labor laws, their working conditions are often difficult, with few to no benefits, low wages and a high burnout rate. Many don’t receive any PTO, employer-sponsored health insurance, regular pay increases, or sick leave. Besides these benefits, a few other options to consider offering prospective employees include:
- Signing bonuses
- Better hourly rates
- Better and ongoing training
- Employee development classes
- Flexible scheduling or rotating shifts
- Supportive company culture and reputation
Employers who are able to offer more of these basic benefits will be able to set themselves apart from the competition while recruiting home health aides and avoiding high turnover in a tight labor market.
Keeping up with workforce trends
When it comes to recruiting home health aides, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Changing healthcare and labor laws, state initiatives, technological advancements and unemployment statistics are just a few important factors. So, recruiters need all the help they can get in this arena. Sign up for Monster Hiring Solutions’ expert recruiting advice and the latest hiring trends to help stay on top of the game.