Your agency's turnaround time could cost you the best candidates
How long does it take your home health or hospice agency to fill open positions?
Post-acute health care is geared toward rapid turnaround times – 48 hours after referral for the initial patient assessment, five days after start of care to submit the RAP for home health or notice of election for hospice. Medicare’s new 30-day billing periods require hustle to get physician orders signed and claims ready to go.
But when it comes to the hiring process, home health and hospice agencies tend to be more turtle than hare, dragging things along, often taking weeks or even months to fill vacancies.
The head of a leading recruiting firm for home health and hospice cautions against this common but costly mistake.
“Agencies really can’t afford to take weeks to make a hiring decision in today’s candidate-driven job market,” warns Eric Scharber, Principal, Simione Healthcare Consultants, and founder of Exact Recruiting, a Simione Talent Solution. Exact has the largest proprietary network of professionals in home and community-based care and has helped home health and hospice organizations find scores of operational, clinical, financial and sales leaders.
Rapid action on the part of the agency gets better results when it comes to signing choice prospects, according to Scharber. Otherwise, agencies risk losing top candidates to competing offers.
“The right mix of talent and experience – the same qualities your organization seeks in a preferred candidate – will net multiple offers in short order from other companies. The longer it takes your agency to move through the hiring process, the more likely it is you’ll lose the choice prospect to another employer,” Scharber says.
Candidates generally apply for three or more positions at a time, and agencies take, on average, three weeks to extend an offer.
“That means there’s a good chance your candidate is going to accept another offer before you get to the end of your three-week process,” Scharber says.
Prioritize and move quickly
Agencies often balk at the suggestion that it’s possible to move through the hiring process faster. When Scharber talks about timeframes as short as 3 to 5 days from interview to job offer, jaws drop and questions begin.
Shouldn’t an agency take time for a thorough interview process, asking all the right questions and getting to know the candidate? Shouldn’t the process involve the entire management team, giving all decision-makers time with the candidate? Shouldn’t an agency check references and thoroughly vet the prospective employee?
“Definitely, yes to all of that,” Scharber says. “But you really can do all of it in less than a week.”
While some key leadership positions may take longer to fill, Scharber says most executive and non-executive positions can be filled much faster than the typical timeframe he sees at agencies.
A broad network specifically within the home health and hospice fields, results-oriented advertising, effective interviewing and prospect assessment tools are essential to speed the process, according to Scharber.
But the key is an agency mindset for urgency.
“Having the right procedures and processes in place is just as important to efficient hiring practices as it is for completing the initial assessment and submitting the RAP on time,” he says. “It’s a matter of prioritization.”
Agencies meet rapid turn-around times for compliance because they have streamlined their processes to improve efficiency and avoid being penalized, Scharber says. Applying the same sense of urgency and efficiency to the hiring process will help agencies staying top-of-mind among candidates with the right skills and experience.
Exact Recruiting works with agencies to develop competitive compensation packages, improve recruitment and retention, recruit key staff, and provide interim management to boost agency productivity during growth or transitions.
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