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CW 88: Chris Heinz

Recruiting the best available talent in Senior Living is one of the most challenging parts of a leader’s job today.

Senior Living recruiting expert and industry champion Chris Heinz shares one of the most effective techniques to improve your ability to both attract and hire the right people for your critical openings. Learn how to create effective stories to use in every element of the recruiting process.

Before you’re done with the episode, you’ll also learn about an amazing Mindset moment that can impact you in 2022 and beyond!


These stories if told effectively can be powerful in every element of your recruiting process, whether that be the ads that you run, the interviews that you conduct, an employment engagement site on your website, utilizing these stories in every element can be so powerful.


Welcome to Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday, I’m Chris Heinz. On the fourth, Wednesday of each month. We’ll be discussing recruitment, team building and mindset. I am so honored to be able to share my thoughts and ideas on these subjects over the next several months. Now you might be asking yourself: who the heck is this Chris Heinz guy? And why was he chosen to discuss these subjects? Well, I’d say those are two excellent questions. For the past 24 years, I’ve been in recruiting and my team and I have helped many senior living companies identify, qualify and deliver the best available community leaders and corporate leadership across the country.


Yes, we are your friendly neighborhood senior living recruiters. My team and I have had the honor to help organizations grow and to directly impact people’s lives. In turn, these leaders that have been hired have impacted the lives of their residents and their teams. Through the thousands of conversations that we have had with single living community leaders, whether they are the executive director, sales director, nursing leader, regional director, vice president, or organization president, I understand that one of the greatest challenges that we are dealing with today and into the future is the recruitment and retention of the right teams.


My sincere hope is that you learn just one or two things from every episode so that you can use them to improve your recruiting and hiring efforts. And along the way, I’ll share some great stories and a little bit of my corn of humor. So let’s get started. Shall we?


We are going to start off with one of the greatest elements of effective recruiting, and that is storytelling. No, I’m not talking about the “once upon a time” type of storytelling, but the effective messaging that you used to attract talent to your openings so that you could hire the best people. Here’s a simple fact: if you are not effective at storytelling, you are not maximizing your opportunity to attract the best potential talent for your openings.

2:44 – There’s an old saying facts tell, stories sell. And that is just as true today as it was when it was said many, many years ago, whether you were talking to a candidate via Zoom phone or in person, are you telling them things like how long the company’s been in existence? The number of people and employees, the number of communities you have, blah, blah, blah. Or are you sharing a story about why the company is great? How you treat your employees, what you stand for. Do you share examples that back these stories up? Now don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place to tell the facts and features. Candidates do want to know that they are interviewing with a good company, but when trying to convince a typically sought after professional, that your company is the right place for them, these facts alone will not persuade them to listen further.

And unfortunately, too many people doing interviews stop with these facts. So let’s talk about the components of a great story. When we talk about telling a great story, I’m not talking about those fictional kind. We aren’t talking about Star Wars or fair maidens in a tower hundreds of miles away. I’m talking about the type of story that sells you. The greatest aspects of the opportunity. People don’t go to work for facts or for a private office or just for free coffee. Now that last one might be pretty tempting. Great candidates will consider making a move if the opportunity is better than their current role. Is more stable or has more growth than their current role, has a better team than their current role. It’s closer to where they live or has remote options. And I understand at the community level, those remote options aren’t really a possibility. Whether it has a better compensation package that is not just money, but about benefits as well. Whether the position and company is more secure than their current one.

Chris Watson, a fellow Contributor Wednesday host very succinctly put it as the reason they take a new position is for the chance of a better future.


So when you are crap, a great story about your opportunity. What we follow is a pretty simple acronym called COB. Now I’m not talking about corn on the cob. I’m talking about C O B.

  • Company
  • Opportunity 
  • Boss

Let’s break all three of these down. First, company. Yes, you should let them know if your company’s been around a long time. Yes, you should explain to the number of communities you have and the number of states that you’re in, but don’t stop there. You should be giving them examples or stories as to why you are a great company. Give examples of how you treat your staff. Explain what others think about the company, these compelling reasons for why someone would want to more about your company so that they could decide if this is the type of company that they want to work for.

6:24 – The stories will be impactful. In terms of the big Opportunity. The opportunity portion of a story is not the job title. While the res responsibilities might be similar between company to company. For similar roles, that is not an effective story, help your perspective candidate understand what is great or challenging or opportunistic or exciting. You pick the adjective about this opportunity. Let them understand how they could come in and look like a hero if they do X, Y, and Z. Even better share an example of how a previous hire was quickly promoted because they did similar things. These are the type of stories that will get a perspective candidate to pause for a moment and want to learn more and potentially envision themselves in the role. A job title does not do that. After all, they already have one of those.

Now let’s talk about the B: the boss. I’ve gotta be honest. I’m not crazy about the title of boss, but I stick with it because the COB Model is easier to remember than call CAL; the L standing for leader.

There are always fluffy lines that can be said about the boss or the leader. I have an open-door policy. Let me ask you, has any boss said they have a closed-door policy? Or another one is, I’m not a micromanager. Very few bosses are actually going to say that they are a micromanager. So don’t use those fluff lines. The better stories that you can share about the person they would be reporting to, whether that is you or someone else on your team, the better of these stories are the more you will draw the candidate in. Can you share why you came to the organization? And just as importantly, why do you stay? Possibly share a story about your true leadership style with examples. Is there great story about how you interact with your team or how you’ve helped leaders get promoted within your team?

8:50 – Speaking of teams, make sure that you were sharing compelling stories about the team they’d be working with. The reality is people review new opportunities. They’ll evaluate them in a way of determining, is this a company I want to work for? Is this a leader that can inspire me and help me grow? Or could they be a mentor? And is this a team that I believe I’ll get along with and prosper with and work well with? So thinking of that team model, maybe an even better approach would be to call it COT. C O T – T standing for team. Teams include both those they’d be working for, but also those they’ll be working with. Okay, you know what you’ve convinced me, forevermore COB is now called COT: company, opportunity, team.

So let’s bring this all together. These stories if told effectively can be powerful in every element of your recruiting process, whether that be the ads that you run, the interviews that you conduct, an employment engagement site on your website, utilizing these stories in every element can be so powerful.

I do want to give you a word of caution though. Be careful not to go on too long, particularly in the interview. It’ll be very easy to be so excited about the amazing stories that you’ve put together, that you string them together in one time. And the next thing you know, you’ve been speaking for 15 or 20 minutes and the candidate has not spoken once. What I recommend is to have these stories ready for each segment of the conversation. They do not need to be told concurrently. In fact, I discourage you from doing so. Short and concise stories are the most effective. This means one thing you must be prepared and you must practice your storytelling technique. If not, you might be swallowed whole by the dreaded ums and uhs. If you are prepared though, you also won’t fall into the let’s make something up trap, because you’re never gonna win by doing that.

11:10 – I would encourage you to practice the storytelling amongst your leaders. Role play the stories that you will share between each other. This will make you better at it when the time is right. And you are in front of that prospective candidate. A powerful story about your opportunity, where you eloquently describe why and how this is a truly incredible opportunity with the prospective candidate, will get them listening. And if they start listening, you can draw them in with more factual stories. Once you start learning about their story and what is missing from their ideal scenario, you can bridge the two together. Draw them in, get them listening by telling more stories.

I would love to hear from you about the changes that you’ve made to your interviews. By adding more effective stories in I’m going to end each and every episode with a mindset moment with this being January.

It is the perfect time to talk about one of my all time favorite terms: BHAG. This stands for big, hairy, audacious goal. Jim Collins popularized this term in his incredible business book, Good to Great. Now this is the type of goal that will excite you. It will set your mind on fire. It might even scare you a bit. It is a big goal that can drive you both personally and professionally, not just for the next year, but for several years to come. And I caution you. This is not the type of goal you will achieve in a week or even a month, but once you do achieve it, it is the type of goal that will elevate you to an even higher level when accomplished. What could be your BHAG for 2022? How could it change your mindset this year? You know, since we’re all friends here, let me share my, you might not know this about me, but I love to run.

13:20 – I run every day and I mean, every day. I run 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons, triathlons. When I say that, I kind of feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump talking about shrimp, but I love to stretch myself. So this October I’m gonna do something that I never thought possible. And that I’ve only done once before. To support the three charities that I’m very passionate about. I am going to run for 24 hours straight. Two years ago, I announced during the honest thought of COVID that I was gonna take on this type of adventure, but because of COVID and the challenges with restrictions, my run was delayed by more than five months. I didn’t just check it in. I didn’t just give up. I endured. I continue to train. I continue to talk to people. I continue to be inspired by those who within these charities.

14:17 – And then in October of 2020, I ran for 24 hours for 87 miles. And through the generous donations of so many, I was able to raise more than $20,000 to support the three passion charities, Dementia Care, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and Shriner’s Hospital for Children. Now, since that run in October of 2020, the longest that I have ran for is 16 miles. And that was an accident in itself. It was no biggie. I was doing a half marathon race, but I happened to start at the wrong start line. So I had to run an extra three miles to get to the right start line. Trust me, the people were a little curious as to why I was running past them when I got there. For the next 10 months, I am gonna train my body and my mind to yet again, run for 24 hours with the goal of raising more than $24,000 for these three amazing charities.

That’s my BHAG. Yours does not need to be nearly as crazy as this, but it should be something that stretches your capabilities. And do you wanna know how you’re gonna accomplish it?

One day at a time? If you have your BHAG in mind, you can soar. Alrighty, folks, that’s a wrap on my very first episode is a BTG Contributor. I hope that you’ve learned something that you can use today, along with other things that you can use throughout the next year. Stay tuned next month for our next chapter in our recruiting and mindset adventures. Thanks for listening to this week’s BTG Contributor Wednesday. Please connect with me at

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CW 88: Chris Heinz