caregiver selectionSuccessful home care agencies spend time selecting their caregivers carefully. “We usually spend 3 hours with applicants in the office going through assessments and interview,” says Nicol Rupolo of ComForCare in Connecticut. “It’s very important to me because a caregiver is an investment.”

Tom Knox, CEO of Senior Corp, likes to keep the selection process fairly simple. However, he believes in getting two pairs of eyes on a candidate. “It is essential to selecting the best. Having a standard set of interview questions is also important to keep the selection consistent over time especially when there are several office locations recruiting.”

A sound selection process has a few, meaningful steps to get to a hiring decision.

Meaningful – Each step in the selection must bring elements towards make a hiring decision. The application form reveals if a candidate has the certifications and experience to be a caregiver. The screening (usually done over the phone) is the time to check for work availability, dig into the work experience and gage reliability (do they return your calls promptly?) The in-person interviews should focus on the cultural fit with the agency and assess personality. We know from industry surveys that matching caregiver and client is key to client satisfaction.

Consistency – Keep it simple. Use the same process every time! Every candidate, regardless of where they come from, is “put through the same wringer”. I was reminded of how important consistency is when a Visiting Angels franchisee fired a staff member who left a trail of destruction behind her. Doing a “post-mortem” with the owner, it turned out the employee had not been interviewed and vetted like the other employees. She was a family friend with a background in healthcare. The assumption was she would be a perfect fit. She wasn’t and the owner learned a tough lesson to never compromise on the selection process.

Remember too that a documented and consistent selection process presents a good legal defense if it is ever challenged in court.

Speed doesn’t mean rush – In a context of caregiver shortage, it is tempting to shortcut the establish process to make an offer quickly. Don’t do it! Be decisive and make decisions quickly but don’t shortcut the process. Getting a warm body at all costs is rarely a good thing. You know it because you have done it!

Let me throw one last element: evaluate your selection process. Remember the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM)? TQM recommends evaluating a process every 12 to 18 months. Look back on your selection process and ask yourself: does our selection process provide the right quantity and quality of caregivers to grow our business?

If the answer is negative, I help you. Sign up for the Recruitment Fitness Test, a 20-minute conversation to evaluate caregiver recruitment.