by Sarah Hanna

Hiring great people to work in the HME industry is a challenging process. Whether you do the hiring yourself or utilize a professional recruiting firm, it is important to understand the current labor environment as well as the need to analyze your company. By doing so, you give yourself and the candidate the best chance to be successful.

The most recent release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was dated July 2, 2015, and provided information about the current national employment situation. The unemployment rate declined again from May 2015 to 5.3 percent, with job gains in a number of areas but notably in the health care arena. Professional and business services added 64,000 jobs in June, which was in line with the average monthly gain of 57,000/month during the prior 12 months. Employment in health care increased by 40,000 in June. Job growth in health care was distributed among ambulatory health care (+23,000), hospitals (+11,000) and nursing and residential care facilities (+7,000). Employment in health care had grown by an average of 34,000/month during the prior 12 months (

With lower unemployment comes an increased difficulty in finding the right person for the job. The new normal for an employee to stay with a company is just under five years. According to CEB\'92s Quarterly Global Labor Market research, the top five things employees look for when seeking a new job are stability, compensation, respect, health benefits and work-life balance. Potential employers need to understand what candidates are looking for in order to gain and retain employees. The simple fact about people entering into customer service, delivery and billing positions within the HME industry is that they normally do not have experience in the field. That said, you should look for characteristics that lend themselves to being a great employee. In addition, you need an organized and well-planned training program to increase potential for longevity.

You are in competition with other companies in the hiring process. In order to bring on talented individuals, you need to make your company one where people want to work. What are your company's core values and purpose? Defining those helps you to find the candidate(s) which embody your company's principals.

Prior to starting the interview process, perform an analysis of the skills required for the position. Then determine the attitude and characteristics of personnel which match the culture of the company. It is always beneficial to review hiring errors from the past. What led you to hire a certain person that did not end well? Was/is there a trend that keeps repeating itself and becoming a human resource nightmare? Next, define what it takes to be a great employee at your company.

Identifying what makes a great employee/top performer helps to further drill down into what type of person fits best with your corporate culture. Review your current staff and distinguish top performers in your company. Evaluate what top-performer traits they have. How do they interact with customers, team members and management? Look at not only skill level, but also at exceptional, intangible characteristics such as:

  • Sense of humor
  • Purpose
  • Dedication and loyalty
  • Confidence
  • Attitude
  • Positive outlook/grace under pressure
  • Strong leadership and intiative
  • Ability to think on their feet

Once you have completed the analysis, set a profile of what a top performer looks like in your company, and use that as the basis for hiring. Defining your company and the employees you want will assist when evaluating resumes and performing interviews. This analysis will also assist you when working with a recruiting firm. Hiring is never easy. It is costly and may cause more than a few headaches. Approaching the process in a more detailed fashion will bring about better results and reap rewards down the line.