May 10, 2019

Recruitment and Staffing in Long Term Care with Alvin Kahn

In the episode, we meet Alvin Kahn, Principal, Executive Director of Recruitment at Alvin Kahn and Associates.

Alvin's firm has been assisting nursing homes to fill their hard-to-place positions for the last 25 years.

His unique style and direct approach have enabled their firm to reach the levels of success they've attained.

Alvin Kahn -Principal, Executive Director of Recruitment at Alvin Kahn and Associates

30 years ago, Alvin started recruiting for hospitals across the country. Eventually Alvin was promoted to working in the corporate office doing trainings and continued to recruit.

In 1995, Alvin started out on his own, with Alvin Kahn and Associates, a recruitment company specifically focused on the nursing home industry.

What pulled to the nursing home world from the acute care/hospital industry?

There was a group from Milwaukee Wisconsin, that started working with the rehab in the nursing home industry and they needed someone to manage their Eastern operation. Alvin was hired by this company to help out with in several states.

When that company eventually sold, Alvin was able to use the relationships he had built to go out on his own and as they say, the rest is history.

Do you help fill line staff for nursing homes for RNs, LPNs and CNAs?

AK focuses primarily on management level and above and the facilities work internally to fill the other positions.

What is your magic trick to find the candidates that are the right fit for the specific positions requested? What can you do that the facility cannot do?
Facilities reach out to us because the candidates and the facilities are concerned that the job search should be kept confidential. That’s a reputation that was earned and created over time.
The employer does not want the current employee to know that they are looking and the candidate does not want their current boss to know that they are looking, lest they lose their jobs before they are ready to move on.

We only send over candidates that are qualified and have a really great potential of being an actual fit for the position.

If you work with an online resource such as or, even if you put the ads up correctly and sponsor them, you will still receive many, many candidates that are completely not qualified.

A good recruitment firm will only send over pre-screened candidates which they genuinely believe have an excellent chance of success. That is what is done at Alvin Kahn and associates.

The firm actually works hard to establish a relationship with the candidates to really see the full picture and understand their background. Equipped with this information, there are much better chances that the candidate will be the right candidate for the position.

Do you find a practice that the nursing home operators or candidates are doing that are surprising to you?

At times, a candidate will share more information than we find necessary. When asked why they are looking to make a change, they may share more information and details than we feel we need to know.

We understand that there are always at least 2 sides to every story.

At times there are candidates that have had a troubled past. The facilities will generally pass right over these candidates because they don’t have the time or resources to fully vet out the candidates.

As a recruitment firm, we encourage candidates to be upfront with their past and that they share any skeletons that they may have in the closet. This is in their past interest, because they will come out later and at that point, it can derail the entire process.

Retainer vs. Contingency

Retainer search firms are paid an amount in advance to be available to fill positions as the needs arise. Contingency search firms, like Alvin Kahn and Associates, are paid only if and when they successfully place the candidates in their positions.

Over The Phone

Almost all of the work that is done in finding and screening candidates is done over the phone. It’s still really effective to speak over the phone (INSERT LINK TO PHONE LIVE), and it’s working.

When a candidate comes into the office, there is lots of wasted time on the part of the candidate and the firm that could be better used to find the right candidates.

The firm is now looking to do video conferencing to add the face to face connection to the process without compromising on the efficiency and use of everyone’s time.

Is there any particular piece of advice that you wish someone would have told you earlier on in your career?

There are 2 points here.

You must have mentors and you need to learn from everyone to some extent. However, don’t listen to everyone else’s advice. What works for them, works for them. You must infuse your professional activities with your own unique talents and personality.

Additionally, it’s critical to focus on the recruitment results when speaking with candidates. You are not their social worker and all conversation and engagement should focused on that end goal.

What’s your favorite part of your business that lights you up inside?

The greatest excitement is when we find are able to successfully place a candidate with a company. We actually make a toast together to celebrate the event.

And no, it’s not just because that’s when we make our money. We get that special sense of accomplishment and joy when the candidate was not able to find employment without our help. Or when the employer was not able to fill the position on their own.

Parting Advice

The process must be taken seriously. Candidates should know the facilities well before approaching the recruiters and the facilities should also be equally invested in the process.

Links and Resources


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