How to Recruit and Retain Pre-Licensed Therapists

Published on January 12, 2023
Written by Carla Smith, PhD, LCSW, LMFT

Mental health organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve their recruitment and retention of licensed therapists. Pre-licensed therapists can be a great asset to your organization, especially because of the current shortage of licensed mental health professionals. Hiring pre-licensed therapists allow you to increase your staff while also providing new professionals with an opportunity to complete their training. 

However, this is only a solution if the candidates you hire are able to stay on staff long enough to complete their training. One way to improve the recruitment and retention of pre-licensed therapists is to provide them with an effective clinical supervision practice. 

Supervision is a critical part of any therapist’s development, and it can be a make-or-break factor in whether or not a new therapist decides to stay with your organization. Unfortunately, many mental health organizations do not have the resources to provide adequate supervision to their staff. This can lead to frustration and burnout among your existing staff members and difficulty retaining new staff members.

Here we will discuss strategies for efficiently recruiting and then effectively retaining pre-licensed therapists by focusing on clinical supervision.

How to Recruit Pre-Licensed Therapists

The recruitment process for pre-licensed mental health therapists can be tedious, but there are a few things that you can do to make it easier. 

To build a solid foundation for the recruiting process, your organization needs to have a positive and supportive working environment. To create a positive work environment, establish a program for the new recruits you are wanting to onboard with adequate supervision, organized training, and ongoing support for those new recruits.

Once an onboarding program is established, time to look at advertising your open positions to draw in the best candidates. Advertise your opportunities by being transparent on your policy wages, career development, and organization benefits. The final steps of the recruitment process are to screen candidates carefully and conduct interviews that allow candidates to showcase their skills. 

By following the steps below, your organization can create a recruitment process that helps you find and keep the best pre-licensed therapists:

Know Your Requirements

If you’re looking to recruit pre-licensed therapists, you need to be clear about their job requirements. This makes it easier to find and recruit the best candidates for the position. It also allows candidates to self-select, saving both you and them vital time and energy. 

Below are some things you should be clear about before starting the recruitment process: 

  • The type of supervision that will be provided.
  • The duties and responsibilities of the position. 
  • The compensation and benefits package.
  • Location of the position.
  • Hours and schedule.
  • Start date.

Being transparent on the following requirements, you can streamline the interviewing process to ensure you are only considering candidates who are truly qualified for the position. 

Cast the Net

You need to cast the net wide when recruiting pre-licensed therapists. Simply creating a job posting isn’t going to be enough to find the best candidates. You need to be proactive in your recruitment efforts.

Here are the ways that your mental health organization can cast the net wide when recruiting:

  • Networking with other professionals.
  • Attending university job fairs.
  • Posting the position on job boards.
  • Utilizing social media.
  • Contacting professional organizations.
  • Creating a referral program for current employees.

By taking a proactive approach to recruitment, you can ensure that you’re reaching the widest possible best pool of candidates. 

Create a Consistent Process

Creating a consistent hiring process can help your organization streamline its recruitment strategy. Having a set of guidelines that everyone involved in the process follows, makes it easier to identify and assess candidates. 

Below is an example of a consistent hiring process:

  1. Identifying the qualifications required for the position.
  2. Establishing a job description that is clear and concise.
  3. Conducting interviews that allow candidates to showcase their skills. 
  4. Offering a competitive wage and benefits package.
  5. Providing adequate training.
  6. Covering the expense of clinical supervision.
  7. Making the selection process transparent to all involved.

By following these guidelines, you create a hiring process that is fair, efficient, and effective. 

Communicate Effectively

The recruitment process doesn’t just end once you’ve hired a new therapist; especially not in the case of a pre-licensed therapist. You need to check in with them regularly. This helps you monitor their experience, measure their success, and open up the lines of communication. 

Build the foundation to improve retention rates by providing new recruits with ongoing support and guidance. Employees who feel like their employer and managers care about them are much more likely to stay in a position long-term. So, make sure to communicate with your new therapists. To open up the lines of communication, ask for feedback from the new recruits of your mental health organization, encouraging open and honest communication. 

How to Retain Current and New Therapists

Not only is the recruitment and onboarding of new therapists a costly process, but it is also time-consuming. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to retain both your current therapists but also new hires for as long as possible. After all, you’ve just invested heavily into finding the best candidates for your mental health organization. 

Instead of repeating the costly process again in a few months, focus your attention and efforts on retaining the employees you already have. Providing adequate clinical supervision for your pre-licensed therapists so that they can complete their training while working at your organization is one of many effective retention strategies. 

Retention Initiatives 

Retaining both your fully-licensed existing therapists and your pre-licensed new professionals should be a priority. Luckily, there are some powerful retention strategies that are proven to work when it comes to retaining mental health employees. 

  • Flexible schedules and remote work options.
  • Monthly team meetings.
  • Quarterly 1-on-1 meetings.
  • Create an inclusive company culture.
  • Mentoring programs.
  • Opportunities for career development.
  • Recognizing and celebrating staff members.

These strategies are relatively simple to implement but are likely to have a hugely positive impact on your staff members.

How Motivo Health Can Help

Recruiting pre-licensed therapists can be highly beneficial for your mental health organization. But once you have a consistent hiring process in place, finding and recruiting these individuals is simple. The challenge, however, is retaining these new recruits. Motivo Health can help by providing your pre-licensed employees with the clinical supervision they need to complete their training.

Partnering with Motivo Health means that your new recruits have reliable supervisors that they can connect to virtually while still working for your organization. Not only does this free you up to focus on management but it takes the strain of supervision duties off your licensed staff members. Additionally, it provides your pre-licensed therapists with the support and guidance they need to finish their training. As a result, your retention rates will increase, your employees will be satisfied, and be able to give your clients the best possible care.

Interested in learning more about how Motivo Health can help? Contact us today!

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