Home Health

Staffing Roundup Part 2: Insights from Sprockets’ Home Health Providers

Staffing Roundup Part 2: Insights from Sprockets’ Home Health Providers Sprockets

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the home healthcare market, posing new challenges for both operators and hiring managers. We are truly in uncharted territory as our industry manages the changing landscape. 

The good news is there are signs of increased business as patients shift from assisted living to home health. The bad news is that owners and hiring managers are busier than ever before. 

Our hope is that this article will provide some insight into the various challenges facing home healthcare based on what we are hearing from our clients. 


An increase in caregiver applicants is straining the hiring process

Since President Trump declared a national emergency, 22 million people have filed for unemployment. The huge influx of unemployment has overwhelmed the government, resulting in delays and shortages of unemployment benefits. 

As of April 15, nearly half of the workforce has not received their unemployment benefits (NPR). Recently displaced workers are, therefore, more motivated to get back to work with the uncertainty of their next check. 

What we’ve heard from our clients:
  • “We are anxious to move forward with implementing Sprockets, as we have had an increase in applications due to the fact that we are still hiring when so many are now unemployed.” 
  • “We are seeing a HUGE influx of caregiver applicants. It’s hard to even manage.” 


Home-health patient loads are growing, increasing demand on caregiver staffing

Home Healthcare Aide is now the third fastest-growing occupation in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This statistic is the result of home-health locations seeing patients in need of less intensive care shifting from hospitals and assisted living facilities to isolation friendly home healthcare. The prevailing thought is this trend will remain in place through 2021 as a societal shift occurs in caregivers.

Below are a collection of hot takes from various industry leaders:
  • Kevin Colman, president of Home Healthcare Solutions: “I’m preparing for each day to probably get busier,” he said, predicting home-based care providers to see business peak in the next few weeks. “We are anticipating … patients being discharged [from hospitals quicker] and coming back to their homes or their communities, which [means] a whole separate set of risks.” (Home healthcare news)
  • Jennifer Sheets, CEO of Interim Healthcare: “We’re preparing for a surge of patients coming out of the hospital, and we’re already taking care of COVID-19 patients now. Certainly, I think that’s going to increase pretty quickly as we get further down the curve of COVID-19 exposure.” (Home healthcare news)
  • Greg Davis, the Owner of Patriot, said his business has surged as patients who need less intensive forms of care are discharged by hospitals trying to free up beds for anticipated COVID-19 cases. (Washington Post)


Employee turnover is increasing for new reasons

Employee turnover has been increasing year-over-year in the home health industry due in large part to the U.S. is in a good economy with a tight labor market. While the economic shift caused by COVID-19 has minimized turnover due to a tight labor market and reduced sourcing issues, it has created some unique challenges.

The following evidence points to new turnover risks owners must mitigate:


  • Childcare responsibilities
    • 22% of grandparents provide childcare at no cost, but COVID-19 has slashed this number significantly (Vox).
    • The average cost for two young children outside school is more than $20,000 annually (Center for American Progress).
    • As childcare centers and schools reopen, teachers are refusing to go back to work further delaying the predicament. In Seattle, teachers have created a union-esque fight against returning to work (Seattle Education Association).
  • Caregivers make more off unemployment
    • The average caregiver makes $22,470 per year, or $1,800 per month before taxes (Glassdoor). 
    • Based on the state, unemployed workers receive between $300 and $500 per week. Unemployed workers in 29 states are currently getting an extra $600 per week (USA Today). That could result in upwards of $4,400 of potential monthly income plus the $1200 per person and $500 per child (IRS). We are starting to hear that caregivers are opting to file for unemployment and quitting their jobs. 
  • Caregivers are getting sick or are afraid of getting sick
    • “Eric Bloniarz of FirstLight Home Care, said some of his employees have begun staying home out of fear of the virus, putting added pressure on those, like Brownlee, who continue to work. To pick up the slack, he has started recruiting new aides from the growing ranks of workers laid off from struggling bars and restaurants over the past two weeks.” (Washington Post)
A businessman

Home-Health Staffing Roundup: Insights From Sprockets’ Home-Health Providers

Home-Health Staffing Roundup: Insights From Sprockets’ Home-Health Providers 2048 1365 Sprockets

As COVID-19 pushes through the United States, home health and assisted living providers are facing new operational challenges. For our clients, caregiver staffing is at the forefront of these demands as more patient care shifts to one-on-one assistance.

While Sprockets continues to help home health providers replicate their top-performing caregivers and navigate their immediate hiring needs, we want to share the insights and industry outlooks uncovered along the way. This article is a collection of those insights and outlooks as they relate to caregiver staffing.


Caregivers consider unemployment

Over the past few weeks, the federal government went to great lengths to provide relief for both individuals and business owners negatively affected by COVID-19. An unfortunate side effect of this relief effort is individuals considering unemployment as a more lucrative option than remaining employed. 

This is due to the extra $600 in relief given to individuals who file unemployment as a result of losing their job due to COVID-19. In the hourly workforce, this could mean making more while being unemployed than to remain in a current position. 

Not many of our clients have mentioned this issue, but those that have are reacting in a couple of ways:

  • Hazard Pay – Increasing caregiver hourly rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Staffing Up – With increased unemployment nationwide, providers are seeing an influx in candidates. By ramping up interviewing, they are prepared to replace caregivers that are unable to work for any reason.


Digital caregiving

Providing care is a hands-on task, but in a world where minimal contact is required, providers are having to quickly adopt a digital-first mentality. Sprockets’ clients are reporting their digital transformations in a few key areas:

  • Recruitment & Onboarding – Hiring managers are shifting to online screening and interviews with caregivers. This means using tools like Sprockets to quickly match applicants against current top-performing caregivers, conducting video conference interviews with Google Hangouts or Zoom Meetings, and handling onboarding through training videos and web-enabled documents. 
  • Caregiving – Operations managers have implemented digital check-ins via surveys or video conferences to ensure a caregiver working remotely is fit to visit with a patient. In other words, they are asking a series of questions to determine if the caregiver may be at an increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and potentially not able to provide care.
  • Compensation – COVID-19 has placed additional strain on individuals’ ability to meet their financial obligations. As a way to meet the immediate needs of their caregivers, some providers are embracing software that allows employees to be paid in an on-demand fashion. Tools like DailyPay and FlexWage allow employers to provide a flexible digital alternative to their typical pay frequency.


Recruiting from other industries

As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has created an unfortunate opportunity to meet the staffing demands that previously and currently face home health. With other industries dependent on hourly employees like restaurants and hospitality forced to layoff employees, home health providers are finding a new applicant pool for sourcing. 

While recruiting in other industries is a great way to counteract the previously tight labor market for caregivers, we are advising Sprockets users that screening is more important than ever. Understanding an applicant’s mental makeup before they shift into a caregiver position helps providers know they have the “right skill set” for the job.


As we continue to get insights from other home health providers using Sprockets, we will post another staffing roundup in the weeks to come. If you have any current strategies you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

Interview Questions for Caregivers

Interview Questions for Caregivers Sprockets

When hiring caregivers, you can’t be too careful. It’s important to hire the right people not only for your clients, but for your business.  This begins with crafting the right interview questions for caregivers. These questions will help guide your decisions to only hire people who will take good care of those who are at a vulnerable time in their lives. Additionally, it’s important to hire people who will stick around, be a good culture fit with your business, and be dedicated to the mission.

Being prepared with consistent interview questions is key to making the right hire. When hiring caregivers, you should ask questions in the following categories; experience verification, behavioral, and competency questions. Additionally, you should supplement with any questions relevant to the position, such as requirements to be employed.

If you’re looking for additional data on who to hire, learn how Sprockets’ hiring solution can help you determine which applicants are the best fit for your business. Click here to learn more.


Experience Verification

Experience verification is important in positions where certain certifications, training, or degrees are required. In cases such as hiring caregivers, verifying experience/certifications related to CPR can be a life or death scenario.

Q: What certifications, training, and licensing do you have in the home-health field?

Asking this question helps you gauge the experience level of the applicant, which can influence confidence in the field and expected pay. You’ll want to pick up on their confidence in answering the questions and if they are/have the ability to get licensed.

Q: What are your greatest strengths as a caregiver?

This question can help you pick up on what they like about the job, what type of clients they should be placed with, and professional development opportunities for the applicant if selected for the position.


Behavioral Questions

Behavioral questions are designed to evaluate an applicant’s fit with the role and duties it entails.

Q: Describe how you have handled a difficult situation with a client.

This question should be posed to give insight on temperament and quick-thinking, critical skills for a caregiver.

Q: Tell me about your most rewarding experience with a client.

An applicant’s answer to this question will let you know what they like most about the job. Answers may include bonding with a client, providing emotional support, or seeing health improvements. The answer to this question may also assist you in pairing them with clients.

Q: Describe how you would handle a client who resists help.

This question will give insight into the experience level of an applicant and allows you to evaluate their problem-solving abilities.


Competency Questions

Competency questions are designed to evaluate an applicant’s understanding of the position and the duties it entails.

Q: What do you do if the client falls out of bed while taking care of them?
Q: How would you react if you walked into a client’s home and they were unresponsive?
Q: If you believe the client is being abused by family, what do you do?


Cultural Fit Questions

In addition to the key questions listed above, it’s good to gain a sense of culture fit for your organization. Remember, the purpose of the interview isn’t just to assess whether or not the candidate is a right fit for responsibilities but a good fit for the company. During this time, you can see if the time commitment, job responsibilities, and pay are ideal. It’s important to make sure they know what to expect before they accept the position to take care of an individual. Great cultural fit questions to ask would be:



It’s also important to weigh which category of questions is most important for that position. For example, when hiring a caregiver, experience is very important. However, behavioral questions are always important to understand how someone will contribute to your team. When we hire people, so often do we say, “I feel like they’d be great for the job.” We base decisions on how we feel about someone because it is important.

Overall, it’s crucial to hire the best people for the sake of your business and your clients. Make the best hires for your business by being prepared with the questions above. If you’re ready to take your hiring to the next level, learn how Sprockets can help you select the best hires, reduce employee turnover, and save you money.

A young caregiver and an older woman

7 Tips for Hiring Caregivers

7 Tips for Hiring Caregivers 800 534 Sprockets

With an aging population, there is an increased demand for caregivers. But, not just anyone can fill this role. Those who deal with the elderly population are in charge of another person’s life, which can’t be understated. That’s why finding the right people to fill these open caregiver roles is crucial to the safety and wellbeing of the elderly they are hired to help. Follow these six tips for hiring caregivers to help ensure you hire quality employees to represent your business.

Tips for Hiring a Caregivers

1. Start by Writing a Clear Job Description

Make sure the caregiver is qualified and has experience with your specific needs.

Have an interview process that includes questions about their skills, personality traits, work history, references, etc. Additionally, ask about examples of their previous work experiences they have had in order to get a sense of how well they communicated and collaborated with others.

2. Inquire About Relevant Experience

While skills can be taught, it’s always important to ask applicants about their relevant experience. Even if their experience is not directly related to being a caregiver for the aging population, relevant jobs are good to know about. This can include babysitting, being a nanny, a camp counselor, or volunteer experience. Having an applicant that is familiar with the basics of the job is a good indicator that not only will they be a good fit, but that they will enjoy the position and stick around, compared to someone new to caregiving in general who suddenly realizes it’s not a good fit for them.

3. Ask Situational Questions During the Interview

In the case of caregiving, it is important to ask situational questions relevant to the job they are applying to have. Asking applicants to answer with the STAR method of questions is a good format to follow, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

For example, if you ask “Tell me about a time when you were assigned a task and something went wrong” the applicant should answer with the situation they were in, the task they were assigned, the action they took to fix it, and the end result. A response example may be, “I was babysitting for a newborn and I was attempting to put her to bed. The baby would not stop crying, so I evaluated what the problem could be by going through my checklist of diaper change, bottle, being read to, and turning the sound machine on. Once I got through my list, the baby stopped crying when I put the sound machine on and went to sleep.”

The STAR answer format gives you better insight into how an applicant problem solves, opposed to a response like, “I babysitting and the baby wouldn’t go to sleep, I turned the sound machine on and they fell asleep”. In addition to asking situational questions, here are other great questions that you can ask caregivers. 

4. Do Reference Checks

Often overlooked in the hiring process due to the speed of hiring, reference checks should be included in your hiring process for caregivers. Reference checks should include calling at least two references from an applicant’s past. While people new to the workforce may not be able to include a past employer, encourage them to submit anyone they have volunteered with or any references from school.  

5. Hire in Groups

When you hire in groups, you can more efficiently onboard new hires and get them up to speed on their position. In addition, when multiple hires are made at once, the employees can use each other as a resource, and holes in training are more easily exposed. Hiring in groups can also allow you to better pair new hires with clients, ensuring each one is best matched.

6. Conduct Background Checks

The elderly population is vulnerable to abuse and neglect, which includes actions like physical abuse, not being fed, getting stolen from, and more. Whenever you are hiring someone for a caregiver position, it is essential to conduct background checks. Background checks should include verification of any certifications/relevant education, history of violence or theft, and an applicant’s credit score. 

7. Sign an Agreement 

Have a written plan of care expectations in place before hiring the caregiver. This step is important because it aligns the responsibilities and standards for both you and the caregiver. This agreement doesn’t need to be complicated but should outline the basic information that you and the caregiver have discussed. This should include:

  • Who will be responsible for what
  • What are their responsibilities of the caregiver and how often do they need to visit
  • How much time the person spends at a home a per week
  • The agreed compensation rate and pay periods 

Overall, hiring for caregivers should be a well-planned process to ensure the best people are chosen for your business and clients. Going through relevant experience, situational questions, reference checks, and background checks can help ensure you make the best hire. Once you’ve determined you are interested in a few applicants, consider hiring in groups to increase your onboarding efficiency. 

Plus, learn how the use of pre-hire assessments can help you determine who has the right mental makeup to work as a caregiver for your business. Learn how Sprockets is helping other home care business owners hire great people.

Best Practices for Hiring Healthcare Candidates

Best Practices for Hiring Healthcare Candidates Sprockets

In the fast-growing healthcare field and low unemployment rate market, it can be difficult to hire in the healthcare field. From finding qualified candidates with the right technical and soft skills to casting a wide net, we recommend these best practices to improve your hiring process. 

Healthcare Hiring Challenges & Solutions

Shrm.org reports that finding qualified employees is difficult in both the healthcare and manufacturing industries. In the healthcare industry, 68 percent of recruiters reported hiring difficulties in 2018, which was up from 50 percent in 2013. The problems of hiring in health care include the following challenges:

  • Fewer qualified applicants
  • Lack of technical skills
  • Hiring competition
  • Lack of work experience
  • Lack of basic educational skills

Astonishingly, healthcare job applicants often lack the most basic skills such as writing English, operating a computer, making mathematical calculations and reading and understanding English. The recruitment failure rate ranges from 40 percent to 82 percent across five types of jobs from hourly to CEO level

Hiring in the healthcare industry generates some unique challenges that other hiring processes don’t have. According to Beckershospitalreview.com, these are some of the top challenges for healthcare hiring (& our solutions): 

Screening Candidates

Healthcare positions require unique skills performed by self-starters who can make important decisions on the fly. Each state, national licensing organization and company has specific criteria for hiring. Matching qualifications with jobs becomes more challenging when the criteria can vary extremely from company to company.

Solution: Using a pre-hire assessment easily and effectively sorts through applicants to show which applicants may be a good fit for the position and organization. Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System produces a Match Score for each applicant based on their mental makeup compared to top-performing employees currently with the organization.


A decentralized hiring approach for hiring at most healthcare organizations is necessary to fill critical positions, but inconsistencies can result in legal risks, poor job fits and increased turnover rates. Minimum standards of training must be met, but it’s also critical to assess individuals and their commitment to medical best practices.

Solution: Create a standard hiring procedure checklist that can be used for each department. This may include which job boards to post on, how many applicants to interview, and the criteria for choosing applicants. Using a pre-hire assessment, like Sprockets’, creates a consistent way to manage and screen candidates from department to department.


Sourcing Candidates

Finding qualified healthcare candidates may be the biggest challenge that professionals in the healthcare industry face. It’s not just about finding people with the right experience and technical skills, but people who have the right mental makeup and soft skills to interact with patients.

Solution:  These recruiting strategies for healthcare candidates can help you find the most qualified candidates for your job openings: 

  • LinkedIn

    For professional recruiting, LinkedIn is the top social site for recruiting healthcare candidates. Recruiters can search for job candidates based on job titles, college training, work history and other criteria. It’s important to keep your LinkedIn account updated so that your company shows up accurately on job boards. Letting qualified candidates find you is the best strategy for generating a pipeline of applicants.

  • Career Sites and Job Boards

    Third-party hiring sites are essential to keep up with the demands for qualified healthcare workers. These sites feature resumes from millions of qualified candidates who may be looking for a change. You can narrow your search using highly specialized criteria and still find multiple candidates.

  • Networking Strategies

    One of the best ways to find qualified healthcare candidates is networking. Recruiters can contact local job fairs, industry conferences and local meet-ups to build a network of job candidates. It’s important to track and monitor candidates of interest after these events and establish your own network of qualified candidates.

  • Referrals

    You can find excellent candidates through referrals from company stakeholders, staff members and their professional networks. Referrals usually rank among the strongest candidates because knowledgeable people feel that these candidates are good enough matches for positions to recommend them.

  • Using Your ATS Tracking Software Skillfully

    It’s critical to use keywords and job descriptions skillfully to find the best matches in your database of resumes. This is an ongoing process that should regularly be updated to keep up with industry changes, marketplace trends, etc.

In review, sourcing, screening, and hiring healthcare candidates can be difficult, but creative strategies and innovative solutions can alleviate pain points. Check out our Applicant Matching System as a healthcare assessment or sign up for a free account today! Plus, check out the hard skills tests that compliment Sprockets.