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Ever feel like January packs a year’s worth of hiring stress into a few short weeks?

Turns out there’s a reason why. In general, peak hiring season happens during January and February. With replenished recruiting budgets, lots of employers are out in full force, looking for candidates. 

But January isn’t just hiring season. It’s also the highest month for turnover. Between these two facts, it’s one of the most competitive hiring months of the year. 

Even if the new year isn’t peak hiring season for your company, it’s still a risky period for turnover. With so many jobs on the market, it’s the easiest time for your employees to find other opportunities and leave your company. 

To make it through the new year with your staffing intact, you need to stand out from the competition. Here’s how. 

1. Double Down on Retention 

Competitive hiring will always be important, but ideally you want to avoid the January scramble to fill open positions. Don’t lose sight of vital retention efforts in the new year. 

Retention Strategies 

  • Recognize and appreciate employees. Show employees that you see and appreciate the work that they’re doing, both through large initiatives and in daily interactions. 
  • Ensure open and ongoing communication with management. Nothing is more important than making sure that employees feel listened to by management, and that they’re in the loop about their own work and future. 
  • Promote flexible scheduling, such as shift bidding, staggered shifts, and float pools. Research shows that flexibility is now a top priority for workers. 
  • Mandate time off. Burnout is a huge problem for nurses and other healthcare workers. If you’re careful about allocating PTO, you can mandate time-off, such as every other holiday, without sacrificing quality of care. 
  • Solidify your career development process. Without a path forward, it can be difficult for employees to understand why they should stay. Create solid career paths with continued education, mentorship, or additional training. 

Learn how to retain healthcare employees 

2. Invest in an ATS

The new year often brings more candidates on the market. In many ways, that’s good news! However, you might find your system gets bogged down by too many unqualified applicants. That means more labor for your HR team, sometimes for little reward. 

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure that only the best candidates reach the interview stage. One of these steps is investing in a user-friendly applicant tracking system. 

An applicant tracking system makes a huge difference. In fact, when employers switch from tracking applicants manually to using Apploi’s central tracking system, their days to hire gets cut by an average of 71%

The right applicant tracking platform can help you screen candidates, automate communications, and automatically distribute jobs, so you aren’t overwhelmed during peak hiring season. 

If you’re planning to use an ATS in 2023, now is the time to choose software. Train staff in your ATS now so you’ll be prepared by the time peak hiring season rolls around. 

Learn how to use your tech budget

3. Use Knock-Out Questions 

A knock-out question is any question you ask early in the application process to quickly qualify or disqualify a candidate. Make sure knock-out questions are only used to disqualify candidates who are 100% unqualified for the job—otherwise you may miss out on talent. 

Knockout questions save you valuable time—not to mention the time of the applicant. With an ATS, you can also automate responses to knock-out questions, and easily filter candidates who don’t match your qualifications. Knockout questions are also a great way to get more information about candidates from an easy-apply option, so you can save time without sacrificing quality. 

Learn more about easy apply 

 Knockout Question Examples

  • Are you a registered nurse? 
  • Do you have 2+ years of experience in a similar business?
  • Are you comfortable working in a hospice setting?
  • Do you have prior experience in a post-acute care setting? 
  • Are you eligible to work in the United States?

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5. Make Sure Your Job Duties Are Up to Date 

If your job duties are out of date, you might not get the right candidates. Qualified candidates will have a harder time finding your posts, and unqualified candidates might mistakenly think the role is a good fit for their skills. Job duties should be kept to a summary level in a job posting, yet should give the candidate a good overall idea of what their day-to-day would look like. 

Outdated materials can also make you look unprofessional. if a candidate arrives at the interview to discover that the position is not as described, they’ll probably leave frustrated, which will only hurt your reputation

Plus, sorting through unqualified candidates is a waste of your team’s time. Your job descriptions should be specific, tailored, and accurate. That way, you’ll encourage applications from the kind of candidates you actually want to see. 

Update your postings for peak hiring season, either individually or as part of a larger hiring audit. 

Learn how to conduct a hiring audit

6. Gather Insights From Last Year’s Peak Hiring Season

Look at your staffing data from this time. 

Did you make a lot of hires in the new year? Did you struggle with high turnover? Were your applicants qualified?

Revisiting your numbers from the last peak hiring season can help you determine your priorities for the first few months of 2023. Try to establish baseline expectations using data from the prior year. 

Relatedly, it’s important to keep your current hiring efforts well-documented. Track your staffing trends now so your data can inform your hiring for years to come. 

7. Provide Mental Health Support to Your HR Team

We’ve talked about mental health for nurses, but the pandemic and constant staff shortages also affect HR professionals. 

According to the Paychex Pulse of HR Report, a staggering 70% of HR leaders say that the first year of the pandemic was among the most difficult of their careers. This burden was even worse in healthcare, where HR professionals had to manage staffing at the frontlines—and are still struggling with ongoing shortages. 

The peak hiring season can increase stress for HR professionals. Your HR team may also have larger work loads due to year-end deadlines, and increased employee engagement efforts, such as holiday gifts and parties. They’ll also be juggling high amounts of PTO requests.

Remember to make sure that your HR team has access to mental health resources. Encourage your HR team to take an appropriate amount of time off to avoid burnout. In routine check-in meetings, make space for them to share their needs and get support. 

Learn more about preventing burnout in healthcare 

Better Hiring With Apploi

Peak hiring season can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With Apploi, you can access tools to help you recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff faster than ever. 

Contact us today for a free demo of our hiring platform.

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Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.