Hiring Isn't Child’s Play for Leading Provider


The first thing a job candidate in the childcare industry is likely to hear upon submitting an application is, “When can you start?”

Childcare center owners and directors interested in more than an applicants start date are increasingly turning to an online job compatibility assessment developed specifically for the childcare field by Washington based, JOBehaviors.

Learning Care Group, the nation’s second largest childcare company, implemented the JOBehaviors Childcare Provider assessment as a central component in their strategy to improve the quality of education and care for the over 50,000 children enrolled in their centers nationwide.

Scott Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer of Learning Care Group, says that since implementation over two years ago "The JOBehaviors assessment has helped Childtime and Tutor Time reduce employee turnover by approximately 50 percent.”

The JOBehaviors Childcare Provider compatibility assessment is based on an in-depth job analysis with successful childcare professionals. According to Mark Tinney, President and co-founder of JOBehaviors, the assessment identifies applicants who are “a strong behavioral match for the demanding childcare field.”

Childcare centers across the country report that improved hiring strategies lead to reduced turnover, improved performance and happier parents.

Jonathan Abelove, owner of EduKid says, “Use of JOBehaviors tool, improved the morale of parents, staff and children based upon teacher stability, all of which led to a more efficient operation with a higher profit margin, enabling us to pay our staff more and provide greater benefits including an increase in the 401K matching program.”

Job applicants for Learning Care Group’s Childtime and Tutor Time Learning Centers, headquartered in Novi, Mich., must complete the JOBehaviors Childcare Provider assessment before an interview is even scheduled. Over 70,000 applicants from across the country and around the world have completed the online assessment for the company in the past two and a half years.

According to Mr. Tinney, the assessment works because it “communicates important job requirements while identifying applicants with the highest potential for long-term fulfillment and happiness in the job.” He added, “The assessment measure’s whether a person will excel in the real world challenges of the classroom.”

Upon completion by an applicant, center directors instantly receive results via e-mail containing a one through five star rating for each applicant. The star rating places each candidate in relation to tens of thousands of others who have completed the assessment. The content of the assessment focuses on behaviors identified as critical to success by early education and childcare professionals who have found both personal fulfillment and long-term job satisfaction.

Applicants also indicate whether they are willing or unwilling to perform specific tasks related to the job. Surprisingly, 20 percent indicate they are unwilling to perform critical job requirements - important information to know prior to offering or accepting a position in this demanding field.

Another section asks candidates to respond to a series of “pre-interview” questions customized for Childtime, such as education level, preferred schedule, work experience, etc.

Smith, who spent several years investigating methods for improving the company’s hiring process says, "Providing a quality education and care experience for children and families is our number one priority. High quality begins with effective employee selection.”

“Anyone can hire mediocre employees. Our goal is to hire people committed to educating and caring for children. Our clients are working parents who understand the problems associated with turnover and poor work performance in their own jobs,” says Smith. “They want to know the person caring for their child will be there next week, next month, and next year. Effective hiring strategies are directly tied to our ability to improve service delivery."

It turns out effective hiring is also good for the bottom line. Revenue and profit are up over the past year and the company is planning for substantial growth in the number of centers it owns and operates.

Bill Broderick, JOBehaviors co-founder and Director of Research said, "For many childcare companies the cost of turnover, both in terms of organizational disruption and lost profit, is accepted as the 'price of doing business.' Learning Care Group deserves praise from parents across the country for tackling the issue of turnover and employee performance head-on.”

In addition to focusing on customer satisfaction, Learning Care Group also examined the financial benefits of improved hiring methods.

Smith stated that turnover costs are often hidden because they don’t show up as a line item in any department’s budget. “The cost of turnover is higher than most in our industry might imagine. Conservative estimates range from $2,000 to $4,000 per center employee,” said Smith. “Combine hard costs such as advertising, with the soft costs of lost opportunity and parent dissatisfaction, and the actual loss is closer to $6,000 per center employee.”

In recent years, historically low unemployment has added to the challenge of recruiting and retaining employees. “Appealing to a person’s desire for job fulfillment and potential for long-term happiness is often as important as starting pay. Job-specific assessments enable a person to weigh all factors when pursuing employment opportunities,” added Mr. Broderick, who has developed hundreds of job-specific assessments over his 35-year career for such companies as AVON, SYKES Enterprises, Washington Mutual Bank, San Diego Golf Academy, the Seattle Seahawks and dozens of others. Broderick adds, “Learning Care Group has shown as much commitment to improving employee quality as any company I’ve worked with in my career.”

In addition to making better hiring decisions, Childtime center directors no longer spend untold hours interviewing candidates who are not behaviorally compatible with the job. According to Mike Firth, Western Regional Human Resources Manager for Learning Care Group, “Our center directors save valuable time by eliminating the need to screen countless resumes. The assessment acts as a positive screen by identifying candidates with the highest potential for success in the early education and childcare field.”

“We’ve recently added a direct link to the assessment in our Monster postings which helps us further segment applicant quality,” Firth said. “It’s as important for us to be right for the applicant, as it is for the applicant to be right for us.”

While Learning Care Group is improving profits through improved employee selection, the real winners may be the children and their parents, “also known as clients,” says Smith, who experience consistent, high quality education and care.

To learn more about improving your hiring process call 1-800-763-9550 today, or click here for further information: