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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to Recruit Older Workers - pg 2

Think outside-of-the-box
For the past decade, Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma, AZ, has relied on an unconventional source for recruiting experienced professionals, such as nurses, respiratory therapists, medical technologists, imaging specialists and other healthcare specialists that are in short supply.

During the winter months, the city of nearly 89,000 residents almost doubles in size. That's a busy time for the hospital's recruiters who visit popular snowbird hangouts, such as RV parks. They hand out brochures that include a self-addressed response card, asking visitors to either volunteer, make employee referrals - mainly nurses - or donate to its foundation, says Sharon Gardner, the hospital's vice president of human resources. Snowbirds receive a free dinner when their referral fills out a job application and $1,000 if that person is hired full time. The cash reward is also prorated for part timers and seasonal employees.

But the main draw is really the hospital's flexible work shifts between four and twelve hours and three, six and nine month positions, with the latter offering year-round benefits. "Most mature workers are not interested in nursing for twelve hours a day but can do it for four or six hours a day," she explains.

Free housing — utilities included —rounds out the benefits package. But those who prefer to live in their own RV instead of the hospital’s 84-unit apartment complex receive housing and mileage allowances. She says approximately 80 percent of the hospital’s seasonal workers are over the age of 50 and come from the Northwest, Midwest or East Coast.

"We frequently target experienced people - they can hit the ground running," Gardner says. "[These jobs] are attractive to people who are in a different stage of life where income isn’t the key driver."

Mistakes can turn off mature workers
Employers still have a lot to learn when it comes to reaching older workers online.

To find out how to reach employees online, click here

Rich Milgram, chief executive officer at Beyond.com, which posts and powers over 15,000 niche job boards, points out mistakes that can turn off mature workers.

- Don't focus only on one national job board. Post on multiple boards, including those targeting the 50+ worker .
- Don't hide the fact that you welcome mature workers. Use employee-magnet phrases such as, "We're an equal opportunity employer" or "All candidates welcome."
- Don't request skills that aren't necessarily required for the job. Be open to a range of skills that are transferable and can benefit your business.
- Don't advertise exclusively full time jobs. Market part time jobs and/or those with flexible hours.
- Don't promote mismatched benefits (e.g. childcare) that many mature workers can't use. -Mention benefits that will capture their attention, such as health and retirement plans, or eldercare services.

"Employers don't look enough at what they're saying and how they communicate it," says Milgram. "Most times, it's a posting that came from somebody in Human Resources and isn't considered a marketing opportunity to attract people to their brand and to their company."

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AARP Employer Resource Center
AARP National Employer Team

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