Behavioral Health Recruiting Best Practices for 2024

Colleagues looking at a tablet

In ContinuumCloud’s 2024 Behavioral Health Industry Report, industry leaders indicated that recruiting was one of their biggest organizational concerns. It’s no surprise, considering that behavioral health recruiting presents a number of unique challenges. 

For one, top talent in behavioral health and human services (BHHS) is a finite resource due to the specialized credentials required for most roles and the high level of burnout in the field. Moreover, the industry itself is rife with limited budgets, increasing demand, and a national mental health crisis, leading to major staffing shortages.

If you’re looking to hire behavioral health staff, it’s imperative to stand out in this competitive labor market. Thankfully, with the right recruiting processes and tools, it is possible to find and hire top-tier mental health professionals and support staff even with budgetary limitations. To help you achieve your recruiting goals, explore eight recruiting best practices to implement in 2024.

Behavioral Health Recruiting: 8 Best Practices

Behavioral health recruiting: entrepreneurs happily shaking hands

Talent acquisition is a multi-step process with a lot of moving parts. To step up your behavioral healthcare recruiting efforts, follow these best practices to hire and retain the best talent to join your team.

1. Prioritize the Most Urgent Roles for Hiring

Behavioral health organizations don’t always have the budget to immediately fill all open roles. As a result, leaders in the healthcare industry must decide which roles to prioritize based on available budget and operational needs.

The right HR and recruiting tool can help organizations get a better view of open roles and ensure that team members are on the same page about hiring needs and budgeted salaries. ContinuumCloud’s human capital management system is built with Position Control to help human resources teams review open roles, designate salary ranges for each role, and identify the most urgent labor needs.

2. Write Clear, Compelling Job Descriptions

The job posting is your organization’s first chance to make a great first impression with job seekers. The behavioral health field is currently experiencing heightened service demand, and many companies are struggling to attract qualified candidates. That means healthcare recruiters must work extra hard to make their job postings stand out to potential applicants.

To craft a thorough job description, give candidates a meaningful overview of the role and your company. List out all of the basics, such as the required credentials and qualifications, job responsibilities, and scheduling information. Then, make your posting more compelling by explaining why your organization is a great workplace. 

Be sure to mention any perks like flexible scheduling, remote work options, wellness benefits, and professional development support. Give them a taste of the company culture by emphasizing how collaborative and supportive your workplace is. You’ll also want to provide some background on your organization’s mission. Use engaging language to excite candidates about the opportunity to work with your organization. 

3. Post Job Openings on a Variety of Platforms

Make it easy for quality candidates to find your job posting by sharing it across different platforms. There are many job search sites, including generalized job boards and those tailored towards nonprofit or healthcare jobs, to expand your reach. 

Another job posting best practice is to create your own career site for posting jobs. Having one centralized site where interested job seekers can view all of your open roles and learn more about your organization is a useful tactic for improving job visibility as well as building your employer brand. 

ContinuumCloud’s HCM system can help behavioral health organizations reach top talent by distributing your job listing to multiple job platforms and your own career site with one click. The platform’s full-featured applicant tracking system can help recruiting teams identify the right job platforms for each role based on the job requirements to ensure that each role finds the right audience.

4. Make Applicant Tracking a Collaborative and Efficient Process

One of the most time-consuming parts of behavioral health recruiting is reviewing the applications. This is especially true if you don’t have an applicant tracking system (or an HCM with built-in applicant tracking) to consolidate applicant data from different sources into one unified location for review.

With applicant tracking software, resumes and applications from every job board are parsed and organized into a searchable database. Then, behavioral health recruiters and hiring managers can collaborate to review applicants in a centralized platform. Each collaborator can rate and leave comments on applicants to cumulatively score them and decide who to advance to the interview stage. This allows the entire hiring team to get involved. Plus, with the search and filtering features, it’s easier to quickly identify candidates with the specific skills or qualifications you need.

5. Respond to Top Candidates Promptly

Behavioral health recruiting: entrepreneurs talking to each other

Don’t let top talent slip away by taking weeks to respond to their application. If your organization has a slow hiring process and poor communication, candidates will often lose interest or accept other roles. 

A long time-to-hire also means that the role is open for a longer period, which can cause staffing issues and may negatively impact patient experience. To streamline the process, it’s essential to stay on top of incoming applications and respond to top candidates promptly.

Managing candidate communication can be tedious when you’re messaging across different job boards (like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Monster) or trying to keep up with everything in your email inbox. Condensing applications and candidate communications in one centralized place with a recruiting management system or HCM software can help you stay organized and ensure that message responses aren’t slipping through the cracks.

6. Verify Credentials

When recruiting, one of the most important best practices is to verify that candidates have the appropriate credentials. Most behavioral health service providers must have some form of certification or licensure. This applies to mental health clinicians, social workers, nurse practitioners, substance abuse counselors, and many case manager roles.

As a best practice, recruiters should verify with hiring managers whether a credential is required for the role. It’s also a good idea to include a question in your initial phone screening or interview to verbally confirm with the candidate that their required credentials are up-to-date and valid in the state where they would be practicing if hired. A formal credential verification should also be included with the pre-employment background check once a candidate has been selected for the role. 

This may seem tedious, but being thorough about this process will prevent any hiring delays or compliance issues. You can also use ContinuumCloud’s HCM to set credential requirements by position so that recruiters will immediately know what credential is needed each time they hire for a certain position or job category. 

7. Build an Organized Hiring Workflow

In behavioral health recruiting, it’s important to be able to hire and onboard new employees quickly. Unfilled roles can cause increased stress for current staff and potential interruptions in patient care. Once you’ve found the right candidate, you don’t want to waste time getting them on board. Rather, you want a seamless and efficient hiring workflow in place to get offer letters sent out and onboarding handled without unnecessary delays.

The best way to optimize your hiring workflows is to automate administrative tasks. ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform can help hiring teams build customizable hiring workflows with task automation and streamlined approval processes. Organizations can create workflows to optimize interview scheduling, hiring approvals, onboarding paperwork, and other key steps in the hiring process.

8. Keep an Eye on Your Recruiting Analytics

Diving into your organization’s workforce analytics is an excellent way to evaluate the effectiveness of your recruitment process. Review metrics such as time-to-hire to assess the efficiency of your recruiting efforts, and analyze your applicant source metrics to see which job platforms or recruiting sources are working most effectively. Recruiting analytics can also help recruiters and leaders benchmark any hiring-related diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) efforts.

While this is a best practice for all recruiting teams, many organizations don’t have the technology to access and use their recruiting data. The 2024 Behavioral Health Industry Trends Report found that 56% of behavioral health leaders struggle to access the data that they need in real time, while 55% have difficulty creating reports that provide clear insights without needing IT assistance. 

Look for a solution with easy-to-use business intelligence functionality to access actionable insights on-demand to regularly evaluate recruiting processes.

Boost Your Behavioral Health Recruiting Efforts With a Powerful HCM System

Behavioral health staffing poses unique challenges for employers, so it requires a specialized solution. ContinuumCloud’s HCM and payroll software was built specifically to address the needs of behavioral health and human services organizations, including their distinctive recruiting and onboarding concerns.

From one-click job posting to streamlined digital onboarding, ContinuumCloud’s HCM can support the entire recruitment process. It allows orgs to find and attract top candidates with a personalized career site and fill positions faster with efficient hiring workflows. You can also use ContinuumCloud’s robust business intelligence capabilities to take a deep dive into your recruiting data to identify inefficiencies and continuously improve your recruiting tactics.

Contact us today to learn more about how ContinuumCloud can help your organization implement behavioral health recruiting best practices.

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