Running an ABA company and looking for BCBAs? Congratulations! You’ve just joined the 5,000 other ABA company owners in the same BCBA-starved boat, especially if you live in a state like California or Florida. Many Clinic Owners mistakenly believe money or perks are the answer to hiring BCBAs. Fortunately for you, that’s not the case.

STE Consultants Founder and CalABA President-Elect, Sarah Trautman-Eslinger, writes that the most important thing about recruiting BCBA’s is growing talent from within. “We rarely recruit from outside of our organization. This has been a very successful strategy for us.”

The truth is money and a free bag of chips are great, but they often come last. But even if you can motivate, the fact is good BCBAs are in high demand. Competing with “The Big ABA Company” doesn’t make it any easier. With enough money to pick a location and open up shop within just 2 weeks, if a large ABA provider moves to your state and into an office three times the size of yours—which they intend to fill up– there goes the rest of the your city’s BCBAs.

But maybe that doesn’t matter. Despite the BCBA gold rush across the United States, there are many BHCOEs that have managed to hire the BCBA talent they’ve wanted, when they’ve wanted it. Every time.

Here are the 6 secrets to recruiting BCBA Talent in a Tough Market:

1. Target Out-Of-Staters Willing to Relocate
Not every talented BCBA is living in a major city, but many would love to. Getting these BCBAs can be easier than you assume. Post job descriptions on local job boards in big cities with reputable universities, but not too far separated from the universities. Provide a small stipend for relocation. You may have these leads assist with a few tasks remotely, and then plan to meet at a local conference to connect in person.

2. Promote from Within
Spending time and money advertising, reading tons of resumes, and interviewing a bunch of candidates is not always necessary. When promoting from within, you already know that the clinician fits well within your company culture and has a proven record of accountability and ethics. Research has shown that internally promoted employees are less likely to leave their jobs on their own accord. Note, newly promoted employees may still require the right amount of skills training to ensure they are equipped to succeed in their new positions.

“Create varied and incentivized opportunities for all employees to work towards credentials, including RBT, BCaBA, and BCBA. This won’t help fill the existing position tomorrow, but does create a steady stream of well-trained BCBAs in the long-term,” says Dr. Coby Lund, past president of Georgia Association for Behavior Analysis and co-founder of Integrated Behavioral Solutions. “Additionally, ‘homegrown’ BCBAs have already demonstrated loyalty to your organization, consistency and dependability (hopefully), as well as aptitude, both generally and within your organization. Moreover, homegrown BCBAs don’t require any additional training related to your organization once hired—they’ve already had it! In short, hire good technicians because they become good BCBAs.”.

3. Offer Referrals to Existing Employees

A personal referral can decrease turnover and set up your new hire for success at your organization. “My staff have the best idea of the work load at STE, and also a clear understanding of whether or not their friend could hack it here,” says Ms. Trautman-Eslinger. Looking to your employees to be the eyes and ears is a great way to bring in talent that have clear expectations of their job requirements.

4. Create Partnerships with Master’s ABA Programs with Hybrid Models.  

The behavior analysis credential, the BCBA, has a projected growth rate of over 12% in the next decade (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Why not begin your search for qualified candidates by helping shape the newest behavior analysts? Just remember, that hiring a graduate student will require a LOT of training. In addition, you will often have to cover things that are not reviewed in graduate school such as: insurance billing, clinical technology usage, and navigating different funders.

5. Don’t Get Locked To Your Desk

It’s easy to rely on online recruiting portals, employment Facebook groups, or online forums. But recruiting is not a passive activity. The best BCBAs need to feel a personal connection with an organization before applying. Conferences are the best way to connect with excited and hungry BCBA candidates. Use in-person interactions to talk about what your company does and doesn’t do.

6. Work Toward the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Distinction

Recently, we received an email from Dr. Jon Bailey, Professor Emeritus at Florida State University. He wrote: “I was telling my students this morning about BHCOE and how that would be a good place to start looking for a job. Can you send me a list of the approved organizations so that I can share with them?”

This is just one example of an email we received from a university program Faculty and Department Chairs. After speaking with Dr. Bailey, we found that graduate students care about quality and are looking to work in an organization that cares about their staff’s opinions, consumer satisfaction, quality services. Going through the BHCOE Quality Assurance evaluation is just one of many ways to stand out as an organization that truly cares about their staff. It may even give your company first dibs on candidates looking to work within a quality organization!

What’s YOUR recruiting secret? Whether you’re preparing for the future or looking to naturally attracting BCBA talent, implementing these secrets will help to set you up for success. What’s your secret to addressing the high-volume, hard-to-fill BCBA hiring demand?

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