How Nursing Homes Can Build Their Own Recruiting Pipelines

By David Coppins, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, IntelyCare
Twitter: @IntelyCare

The tide has turned post-COVID: long-term care facilities are cutting their staffing agency budgets and planning to hire everyone in-house.

So what do staffing agencies actually do for facilities, and how can a healthcare facility master those functions?

The core competencies of staffing agencies are recruiting, hiring and back-office workforce management like scheduling and payroll. So moving agency work in-house involves everything from HR to operations to marketing your facility as a desirable place to work. I’m going to cover those functions one at a time, starting with recruiting, which involves getting the right people to apply, while hiring means vetting, signing and onboarding them.

For a software maker like IntelyCare, everything is a funnel. That is, for any workflow, you start out with the top of the funnel — let’s say, awareness of your product– and end up at the bottom of the funnel — say, closing a deal. In the case of recruiting, top of funnel means letting people know you exist, and bottom of funnel means they submitted their resume.

Taking an Inventory of Staffing Needs

Before you start with a recruiting campaign, you take an inventory of your facility. Here is a recruiting campaign checklist:

  • What kind of caregivers are you looking for, and how many do you need? For example, do you need 5 CNAs and 1 LPN in the next two months?
    • What shifts do you need them for? Is it 4 AM/PM CNAs and 1 for NOC? Do you need them for weekends?
  • What criteria do they need to meet? What licenses and certifications and years of experience do you need them to have?
    • Do they need to have experience on a dementia wing?
    • You’ll list these as requirements. Make sure you are targeting the right pools of talent for the right roles. (It’ll all too common for facilities to ask for several years’ experience while advertising an entry-level position.)
  • Which tasks do you expect them to perform? These are the responsibilities you’ll list.
  • When you look at past performance, which employees tend to work best and turn over least? Is it staff with a shorter commute? How can you target those candidates with your recruiting campaign?
  • Finally, what are you offering them? How can you convince them to work for you?

For each role — say, CNA, LPN, RN — you need to write a job description that you’ll post on your website as well as job sites such as On that job description, you need to include a method by which an applicant can contact your facility to submit an application.

Setting up an Applicant Tracking System

Since nursing homes tend to have high employee turnover, often more than 100% each year, it makes sense to set up a system to manage all applicant in your recruiting pipeline long term, so that no one slips through the cracks. Someone in your organization will always be recruiting and managing the recruiting funnel. Relying on email and an Excel spreadsheet means more work for your administrators, and a bad experience for nurses who apply.

The software to manage job applicants has a name: applicant tracking system, or ATS. Greenhouse and Lever are two ATS’s commonly used by small businesses. Those ATS’s will also enable you to create and host job listings on your own website and send them to larger jobs boards such as LinkedIn. (If all of this sounds kind of complicated, well, it is … That’s how staffing agencies earn their fees! They are service providers who handle this complexity so that their clients don’t have to.)

Managing a recruiting pipeline means measuring conversion rates from applicant to interview to job offer to onboarded employee (every funnel leaks!). Once you know those rates, you can work backwards from your staffing needs to how many applicants you need per month and plan your marketing campaigns to hit those numbers. This is not as simple as just posting a job description and watching the applicants flood your inbox…

Here’s one example of a CNA job description. Notice how it gives precise details about the requirements, responsibilities and benefits of the role.

Promoting Your Jobs

Recruiting is marketing. You are letting people know that your facility exists, that you have an open role, and that it may be a good fit for them. The job description is a form of advertisement for your facility, and ads need to be distributed to the right audiences. The ad platforms for job descriptions are called jobs boards. is a well known free jobs board, and here is a list of others.

And that’s it! Once you’ve decided who you need, how to describe the role, and how to target your talent pool, you’re ready to build your recruiting machine. In my next piece, I’ll talk about how to manage a hiring pipeline once you start receiving candidates resumes…