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CW 105: Chris Heinz

We are in an unprecedented time with a hyper-competitive jobs market. Finding candidates that are qualified, interested, and wanting to come to work for you can be a challenge! Chris Heinz shares the 6 ways to find great candidates. Don’t be fooled that there is a super-secret one…it will take a blend of all of them!

During our Mindset Moment, learn how to control what you actually have the capability to control. BTG Contributor Chris Heinz, Managing Partner of Westport One breaks down the 4 things you can control to maximize your life and minimize your stress.


Welcome to Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday. I’m Chris Heinz. It is that time again, to dive deep into the wonderful world of hiring. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve heard it or not, but supposedly there’s a hiring crisis. Yes, I know we all know because we are living it. The reality is there are many ways to find candidates today. Some ways are easier than others, but none are easy. The reality is there is no silver bullet. There is no one way. The leaders we speak with know that it will take multiple approaches to be successful in finding the right talent.

Let me make one suggestion. When you find someone who you believe is a good fit, don’t wait to hire them. There is no written rule anywhere that you must interview three candidates before you can hire. While some companies have that preference, it’s not a rule. I’ve checked. Yes, you want to find great talent, but especially in today’s hyper-competitive candidate market. So how the heck do you find great candidates? I know what you’re probably thinking. Well, Chris runs a recruiting firm, so he won’t give away any of the secrets. He won’t let us see behind the curtain because he wants to keep that for himself. Oh contraire. If you’ve been listening to any of my previous episodes, every time I am bringing you behind the curtain and sharing our best practices, because I want to give back to the industry. I firmly believe that we should mutually share our gifts and capabilities.

Now, if you were to ask a magician, how’d you do that trick? Their typical response is “very well”. I’m not gonna go there, so let’s look behind that curtain and let’s talk about the several ways that you can find the right talent. 


The first, employee referrals. I truly hope that your company has a robust employee referral program. In our opinion, it is one of the single best ways to find good candidates. After all, your employees understand the culture, the work, and they know who would be a good fit with the team and who wouldn’t. We believe in it so much at Westport One, that almost a third of our staff has come directly from referrals from other members.

I have seen many forms of employer referral programs from a hardy handshake, to gift cards, to lunches, to bonuses ranging anywhere from 500 to 5,000, to literal trips. While you might have a strong program, that’s simply not enough. As the leader, you should specifically be talking to your community leadership to get them to think of people that would be worth reaching out to. Perhaps you have to do it more than once, a passive referral program just won’t cut it. 


The second way to find great talent, past employees. Well, at least the ones you liked working with. In a previous episode, we talked about the boomerang employee. Perhaps it would be worth the effort to reach out to those that you did like and see how things are going with their new gig. Maybe it is not all that it was cracked up to be. 


The third way, job boards. The most common ones, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn Jobs, Monster Career Builder, niche job boards, and of course your own company website. Here’s a fact for you. 35 to 40% of the workforce is actively looking for a new opportunity at any given time. In the great resignation, that number was as high as 60%. Yes, we are slightly still in that, but we aren’t completely there anymore. The reality is almost every single living company has a careers page and with some they’re better than others. The real truth is, not nearly as many candidates come to the company’s careers page as they do to the other job boards. If a candidate is particularly targeting a specific company that they would love to work for, then yes, they will look over that career page on a periodic basis. But the majority go to the job boards.


The 200 pound gorilla in the job board industry is of course, Indeed. Some organizations have expressed to us that they get great value from Indeed. While others complain that they are paying out of their, let’s call them ears, for the sponsored ads, but they just don’t get much from it. In a future episode, we will talk further about effective job board ads, but I simply wanna say, make sure you got a good one. For the purposes of candidate sources, it is truly worth evaluating job boards to determine if they’re worth it to you. Most of you are probably already doing so, but I caution you to keep a solid eye on the costs so that you could definitively define if you are finding value. If you are not evaluating it and keeping an eye on those costs, your monthly expenses can reach the thousands very quickly with little to show for it.


The next way to find great candidates, LinkedIn. LinkedIn a very powerful tool if used correctly, but it requires effort to first, build your connections. Second, by adding value and engaging in the content of others while creating some content of your own. Third, through messaging. The great news is there are a lot of content creators in our senior living world that are amazing, so you have lots of things to be able to engage with. In the market we’re in right now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t scroll for more than 15 seconds on LinkedIn without seeing someone who’s recently accepted a new position. LinkedIn is great at promoting that. If you build your network of connections and you have the ability to interact with those connections, then you can reach out to them via messaging. Just remember a couple of things about LinkedIn messages.

If someone doesn’t respond, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. It doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. It might literally mean they never saw it. Most people don’t live on LinkedIn the way that many recruiters do. They may never notice that they have a new message on the website or on the app. The message that goes to them via email itself, may go directly into their spam folder or maybe to an email that they rarely use. The good news is those that are actively looking for a position, they are most active on the site, and you will have a better opportunity of them actually responding to your message. It does not hurt and can be a tremendous value to reach out to your connections and let them know about an opportunity.


The next, recruiters. Hi there. Remember me? Your friendly neighborhood senior living recruiter. Yeah, recruiters. Over my almost 25 years, I know that we are not the right solution for every position. It would not be a good business decision for a company to fill every role through a recruiter. We aren’t cheap. When you do have a position that is hard to fill, or a confidential replacement, or a role that simply you do not have the time to wait and see if other methods will work. Maybe you’ve tried many of the other approaches that we’ve discussed, and you just did not find the candidates that you needed. That’s when you call in the Calvary. Let me let you know, a good recruiter will be a valued consultant to you. A good recruiter won’t try to shove misfit candidates at you. A good recruiter will find candidates that you probably won’t find on your own, or they may be able to attract those that you know, but you weren’t successful in attracting through your other methods. I would like to consider my team to be a team of good recruiters. We are far from perfect, but we do know the right way to do things and we do them while still being ethical and moral.


Another approach, and this approach is important as an overriding approach for all the ones we’ve already mentioned, build a strong employer brand. What do I mean by that? Well, you either have a good brand out in the market or bad brand. Different way of calling a brand is your reputation. Every single method of finding a candidate is either hurt or helped by your employer brand. How do you ensure that you have the best employer brand that you can? Well, the most important way is to treat your employees the right way. Not some of the time, but all of the time. The employees that are with you, and the employees that have left you, are the biggest calling cards to your employer brand. Other things to consider when it comes to that brand, your company LinkedIn page, your company website, Google reviews, glass door reviews, your involvement in associations, your involvement in conferences.

Now beyond the company reviews, you have to consider the reviews of your individual communities. When someone is evaluating if they should go to work for you, they are gonna review both your company and the community that they’re considering, if it is a community level role. You have to look beyond just the company and look at the community as well. 

Another tip for you is to make sure that you capitalize on the evangelists for your organization. Remember, a company culture does not come from the company. It comes from the people. The people within the company make up that culture. Encourage those that love working for your company, that they are showing the wonderful things about the passion and care for the organization. That they are sharing that on social media. They will, in reality, be your best sources for illustrating a strong employer brand.

Now, if the perception on the street is that you have a poor reputation, don’t just stick your head in the sand, hoping people will ignore it. Be proactive to improve it. Whoever in your company has control over your Google, Glassdoor, Indeed, company pages, respond to negative reviews without trying to be defensive. If the company went through a senior leadership change, scream it from the rooftops and work as hard as you can to get into as many media streams in our industry as possible. The fact is perception will not change overnight, but you can work to improve the reputation one employee at a time. Don’t be naive if you do have a negative reputation. Don’t be defensive. Work on ways to improve it.


So there are several ways to find great candidates. I truly hope that you have gained a nugget or two, and that you can use one or two of these ways to find your next great hire. Let me end with a statement of caution. If you have great strategies to find the right candidates, but you have a poor interviewing process or you don’t have a compelling story to share as to why someone would wanna come to work with you, you will lose those that you found. I’ve done previous episodes on both of these subjects. If you need a refresher, go and check them out. 


It’s now time for our mindset moment. There is so much chaos going on in the world today. Each of our lives are filled with distractions, challenges, and opportunities. We have people coming at us from every direction, both in person and electronically. Many of these things are entirely out of our capability of control. For example, to my knowledge, we can’t control the weather. We can’t control the government or our politicians, except with our votes.

We can’t control what other people do in general and on and on and on. With so many things out of our control, one option is to find a corner in your house or your office curl up in a ball and rock back and forth. Or we can choose to focus on the things that we do have control over. There are things in both our personal and professional lives, where we can maintain both sanity and control. If we focus on these things, we’ll be in a much better position for success and happiness. 

The four things that we have control over are what you say, how you respond, what you do, and how you think. 


First, what you say.

In the previous days of our life, what you said was purely from a verbal standpoint. In today’s technologically advanced world, though, what you say comes in many forms. Whether it be conversation, email, text, social media, video, zoom meetings, and on and on. Regardless of the number of mediums that you have for that communication, you control your words. You control the words that you say, and you control the words that you type. You can control the tone. You can control whether you are negative or positive. You control everything about your words. Do you realize the power that you have with these words? You can build people up or you can knock ’em down with these words. 

One added dimension of the written word, whether it be text or email, is that those reading your message can rarely accurately re-tone our intent into those words. You have to understand this. Remember you have that control over every element of your communication, except for tone. 


The second thing you have control over, how you respond. What I mean by that is you say something, verbally or in written form, and then somebody else says something. How you respond will make a difference in that interaction. Everything I just mentioned about what you say holds true for how you respond, but I wanted to make a specific point to keep how you respond front of mind.


The third thing you have control over is, what you do. Let me start out this one by stating that rarely can you control the actual results, but you do have control over what you do and you have full control over your effort.

While you can simply follow Nike’s advice and just do it each and every day, I would suggest that you plan your days and your weeks to give yourself the best chance to be productive. An important element of effective planning includes creating a prioritization list. What are the things that you must do tomorrow in order for you to consider it was a day of impactful effort? Then after those three or four things maximum, what are the next batch of things that are most important? Then everything else if it gets pushed from day one to day four, isn’t gonna hurt you. Don’t let those things they prioritized not get completed. 

Once you’ve created that list, do two things, block out dedicated time on your calendar to actually do the task, and then stick to that time block. Since you know the things that you need to do, and you’ve blocked out the time to do them, the second recommendation is why don’t you plan what you’re going to say in both verbal and written form? I know, I know it’s a crazy concept to be fully prepared for both when to do things and what you’re gonna say. It’s crazy, but hey, it just might work.


The fourth thing that you have control over In addition to what you say, how you respond and what you do, the fourth is control what and how you think. If you recall from a couple episodes ago, we discussed having a growth mindset, but I wanna touch on a couple additional things here. If you want a refresher on that, go back to that episode. You and you alone control your mind. This means you can control what goes into it, from the things you read, the conversations you have, the shows you watch, the news you check out. I can say with absolute certainty that your mind is affected by all of those things. They will influence how you think. I am a big believer in having a positive mindset. Understand though that I have this mindset, still dose in reality, but I would much rather be positive than be negative. 

One way that I keep my mind focused on the positive, is that I do several things that maybe you want to consider. Listen to podcasts focused on growth, inspiration, and positivity. If you need suggestions, reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’d be happy to provide one. One though, could be Bridge the Gap, the Senior Living Podcast. Crazy idea. 

The second thing you might wanna consider, read, or listen to books that could help you improve your growth mindset. Review who you follow on social media. Do the people you follow continually spew negativity or do they bring some positivity to your feed? Find like-minded people and create your own mastermind group. You don’t need to pay thousands of dollars to belong to one. You can do it yourself with just a couple close people.Find a mentor who will hold you accountable. Last month we talked about accountability and that mentor can be that accountability partner. Let’s bring the subject of control what you can control altogether. 


There are an infinite number of things, completely outta control, but there are these four categories that you have complete control over. So I’d like to send you off with a challenge. Over the next four weeks, work on each one of these individually. Week one, work on what you say. Week two, how you respond and so forth. You won’t be perfect in just one week, but you should start seeing significant improvements that will encourage you to continue on with your growth. If you could become your own expert on these four categories, you will see incredible improvements. If you can control these things that you actually have control over, the sky’s the limit and I am rooting for you. All right, that was fun for me. How about for you? If you have any questions, comments, complaints, or even conundrums, message me on LinkedIn. 

Stay tuned next month for our next chapter of recruiting and mindset adventures. Again, this is Chris Heinz. Thanks for listening to this week’s BTG Contributor Wednesday, please connect with me at


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CW 105: Chris Heinz