When is the best time to be looking for staff?

Always be hiring. Always be looking. It takes time. It takes work.

I love this quote by Jim Collins. Jim Collins wrote the book “Good to Great”. It’s a classic business book. One of the main themes of the book talks about the need to not only get the right people on to “your bus” but to get them in the right seat as well. As he states in his quote, having the right people in your business and organization is so stinking important because your people will either make your business or they will break your business.

Anyone in business for any length of time who has ever had to hire employees will tell you that the process is not easy. It’s not easy because how can you know if someone is the “right person” to fill the position that you need? It takes time and energy to first and foremost define the qualities and characteristics that you want or need in someone. Define what questions or things you are going to do in order to find out if the person you are wanting to hire actually does meet the qualities that you have defined. 

Can you really, after interviewing them once, know the true character of the person? It’s highly unlikely that you will after one interview and the reality is that that you too will need practice in hiring, even if you have done it for years. There are always improvements to be made.  

An interesting topic of hiring is something that I’ve often thought about. If you are a new facility, waiting to be licensed, when should you start looking for staff? Should you wait till you are licensed? Should you wait until you have residents? What about if you are already established and have a full staff? Should you still be posting job posts and looking for someone even though you don’t have a spot for them currently? 

Waiting to be licensed or waiting for my first residents. 

Let me just cut straight to the chase on this one. Even if you don’t have your license yet, you should be posting job opportunities and you should be interviewing as many potential caregivers as you can. Now, let me back up just one second. You should only be doing this if you have already gone through all of the steps for licensing and you are just now waiting for them to come and do their final inspection. Prior to licensing our facility, we had a pretty good idea of when we thought our facility would be potentially be licensed. We had about 4 months or so.  

We didn’t’ wait until we were licensed before we started to talk with people who could potentially become our first residents and we didn’t wait for licensing before we started posting ads and interviewing people. Why? Because it takes a lot of time and effort to find the right person. You are most likely just sitting around waiting on licensing anyway. You might as well start looking for those individuals that will become your caregivers and start getting better at conducting interviews. You could have a staff and residents ready to go so that when licensing gives you the go ahead you can move swiftly by contacting the residents and your staff and let them know that you are ready and open for business. You could be ready to go the day after licensing gives their approval. Wouldn’t that be awesome? It’s doable. 

All of my staff positions are currently filled. Why would I keep trying to hire someone? 

Another scenario that I’ve seen many times has to do with what to do when you seemingly have a full staff with no current positions to fill? You continue to hire. Yes, even if you have a complete staff.  

There are a few benefits to this that I have seen first-hand. I can’t tell you how many times we had a complete staff. All shifts were covered and my administrators would ask me, why are we continuing to look for hires when we already have all of our positions filled. They answer is very simple. There is a ton of turnover in the caregiving industry and from one moment to the next you could have a full schedule and then you don’t.  

There were many times when just as we were finding people that we would want to join our team, that all of a sudden, some current employee would give us their two weeks’ notice or worse would just up and quit. Good thing we were always looking for the right people. Many times, we were able to fill those positions quickly and it felt amazing.  

The second benefit to constantly trying to hire and find someone is that your current staff will see that you are bringing potential new employees through your facility as you interview them. They will wonder what is going on or who might be getting replaced. What I found is that the process of always being in the hiring mode kept my staff more honest with their everyday work because they knew that it was important to live up to the standards of our business or they would be replaced. Whenever they thought that they were irreplaceable, they started doing their own thing and problems would arise.  

So always be hiring. Always be looking. It takes time. It takes work. But if you continue to do it, even when you don’t really need to because you have a wonderful full staff, you’ll be thankful that you did.