Headshot of Julie Rupenski
Julie Rupenski is founder and CEO of MedBest Recruiting.

Today’s workplace and workforce are constantly evolving. With it, the way we recruit, hire and retain top talent. To keep up with these changes, long-term care leaders must rise to the occasion and make changes where necessary.

The time it takes to fill an open role has been increasing and it currently stands at 44 days. Per SHRM, this is an average for the number of days it takes from the job requisition to a candidate accepting an offer. The time-to-hire has been steadily increasing over the past few years and is about 40 percent higher than pre-pandemic.

For the senior living and long-term care industry, it may take longer than 44 days due to the specialization of roles, current talent scarcity, skills shortages, and more selective job seekers. Consequently, senior care hiring managers are under intense pressure to locate and land qualified senior care candidates against this extremely challenging landscape.

That said. it might be time to review your hiring process and strategy. Can you cut any unnecessary steps in your interview process to pick up the pace? Do you have the right tools in place to recruit qualified candidates in a timely manner? Have you considered adding AI to your repertoire?

The ability to hire faster improves your chances of acquiring top senior living talent before they accept a competing offer.  It also strengthens your position as an senior care organization since having an adequate and qualified staff results in a higher quality of care for residents, increased resident satisfaction, and increased family satisfaction. Your reputation will benefit and good reviews will yield higher occupancy rates.

In addition, adequate staffing and proper scheduling are critical to improving employee retention. Retaining your staff boosts morale and productivity and therefore, may result in less turnover.  Plus, there’s a cost savings especially when it comes to key positions.

Now, we’re not suggesting that you skip or rush through the vetting and hiring process needed to make a thoughtful decision. Rather, as senior living executive recruiters, we recommend that you move it along since the best talent is off the market within 10 days.

Here are 11 strategies to increase your speed in hiring:

Use AI for candidate matching. The days of sifting through resumes and job applications to find that one perfect candidate have ended. AI powered tools can be used for screening candidates quickly. AI can sift through resumes and job postings helping senior living facilities identify suitable candidates more quickly. (Other AI resources to help with senior living’s talent crunch can be found here.)

Write accurate job postings.  
Know who you’re looking for.  Be very accurate with your job description to attract the right candidates.  Be sure to include keywords to increase the chances of your job showing up in search results. If you need assistance, try using OpenAI’s ChatGPT for a clear and concise job description and suggestions for requirements. Then, you need to make the case for why they would want to work for your senior living organization. Include what’s important to today’s workers: Flexibility, Extra PTO, Purpose-Driven Work, Employee Wellness Programs, etc. If your senior living / long-term care facility offers shorter and flexible shifts, highlight it. Employers have found that by advertising their job opportunities with “flexible hours” they receive twice as many inquiries and applicants.

Post jobs to social media. Post your open positions in front of the people you’re seeking to hire.  The quickest way to do that is to go where they are…on social media including LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Also, consider posting on senior living association job boards such as LeadingAge and Argentum. Posting jobs on these platforms helps to increase the visibility of your jobs and therefore, can help you capture candidates’ attention in a speedy manner.

Consider interim talent. 
If you find that your search and hiring process is exceedingly long for key positions, you might want to consider a temporary solution, i.e., hiring an interim professional within the senior living industry. Interims are seasoned and highly experienced industry professionals who can hit the ground running. MedBest Interim Solutions on average can fill a key role within 1-3 days. Also, 25% of our interims receive a permanent offer. In other words, you can try before you buy!

Involve your employees
. Notify your employees of an urgent job opening that must be filled immediately.  Post the job opening on your organization’s Intranet, website career page, and bulletin board. In addition, create a rewards program where current employees receive referral bonuses when recommending a candidate who is ultimately hired. The most attractive bonus is cash. However, some organizations prefer to reward employees with gift cards or extra time off.

Implement live interviewing tool. If you haven’t already used an automated video tool such as Zoom for interviews, it’s high time to incorporate it as your first step of the interviewing process. Video interviews helps organizations to screen more candidates in an expedient manner using video interviews before in-person interviews. This is a smart way to shortlist candidates and save time. A live interview tool will allow you to connect in real-time for a face-to-face interaction. Plus, you will be able to record your live session and as a result, share it with your management team for their input so time isn’t wasted.

Reduce the number of Interviews
. According to CNBC, some job candidates are being asked to interview up to 9 times with the same company.  That’s overkill.  If a highly qualified candidate meets your criteria and shows interest in working for your organization, reduce the number of interviews. One way is to limit the number of managers involved or if that’s not possible, have them meet managers during one interview. A drawn out and lengthy interview process will cause candidate frustration and a loss of interest.

Consider off-hour interviews
. When conducting an in-person interview, consider same-day interviews as well as off-hour interview times such as evenings and weekends. That makes it ultra-convenient for employed candidates or passive candidates to interview. The more convenient, the more likely they will be impressed and show up. This will cut down on the chances of a candidate ghosting you.

Focus on candidate engagement
. Keep your candidates interested! Stay in touch with your candidates by communicating often. This builds trust and a relationship. Show genuine interest in what they’re looking for personally and professionally. The feeling of being mismanaged or badly treated during the hiring process significantly reduces your chances of landing any candidate.

Check references sooner
. Often, references aren’t checked until an offer is about to be made. But there’s no reason to wait that long. Ask for references from your top candidates much sooner, so you can start calling sooner.

Hire a reputable senior living search firm
. Professional and reputable senior living search firms have access to a network of highly qualified industry talent, both active and passive candidates. Some recruit for both permanent and interim placements.  They already have an existing pool of vetted talent, understand the senior living skill sets required at all levels, possess the acumen to evaluate CV’s and resumes along with the ability to identify the right fit.  They work in an expedient manner and in the strictest of confidence.

In today’s intense senior living job market where competition for talent is stiff, if you don’t reduce the time it takes to make a hire, you stand to lose top talent. Make sure your senior living organization has the proper tools needed to update and automate your hiring process.

Julie Rupenski is the founder and CEO of MedBest Recruiting. Since she opened MedBest’s doors in 2001, Rupenski has grown MedBest into an award-winning, multimillion-dollar national firm, garnering impressive awards including INC 5000 2021 and Tampa Bay Fast 50 2021 and Top Interim Services Provider 2023!  In addition, Rupenski was named as one of the “Top 100 Women Leaders in Tampa 2022″ by Women We Admire.