How Mental Health Partners Is Connecting With Job Seekers

How a mental health provider is using Datapeople to connect with job seekers and adapt to dramatic shifts in their attitudes.

Mental Health Partners (MHP) is a federally designated, non-profit community health center with over 400 employees and 60 years of service in Boulder, Colorado. MHP runs 20+ programs serving 21,000+ people every year across 11 locations. 

Datapeople is helping MHP respond to recent shifts in job seeker expectations, refine employer brand messaging, increase qualified and diverse candidate pools, and improve key recruiting metrics such as time to fill and time to hire. 

MHP’s challenges

Senior Recruiter Jon Drogheo wants to provide a more human hiring experience, including job ads that speak to the individual needs and wants of today’s job seekers.

A big change in job seeker attitudes

Today’s job seekers view the employer-employee relationship much differently than they did even just a few years ago. In short, they want a more human and holistic work experience.

Jon believes that Covid-19 and George Floyd’s killing brought things to a head, but the idea of corporate morality has been brewing for years. Many younger workers thrive on diversity, morality, and work-life balance. They want to work for employers who see those things (particularly diversity) as a moral choice and obligation. Those attitudes have also spread to older workers.

“These days, most employees want a holistic, human, culture-centered, work-life-balanced environment,” Jon says. “And guess what? They can demand it because somebody out there is providing it. Which means, to compete, we all have to up our games a lot faster.”

(Anecdotally, Jon says he’s seeing more requests for remote work, for example. Datapeople’s own research reveals that remote work is wildly popular among job seekers. According to our remote jobs data, remote jobs are up 5x since 2019, they attract 2.2x more candidates, and they attract 2.2x more female candidates.)

Lack of diversity

The mental health and psychology workforce in the U.S. is over 80% white, and its “continued lack of diversity stems from educational barriers” built on privilege and inequity. To be a licensed therapist, someone needs a bachelor’s degree ($80K+), a master’s degree ($100K+), and a state license ($40K+). 

“For the license alone, you’re looking at $2,000 a month for two years while making $55,000 as a new grad,” Jon says. “Who’s got $2,000 a month right out of grad school?”

At the same time, all of the processes and procedures for getting licensed can be unnecessarily complicated and burdensome for applicants. Jon says that MHP absolutely wants to hire licensed therapists from historically under-resourced groups and to break down the barriers to entry (e.g., job ads “written in middle class”). But that requires a lot of re-education for hiring managers on how to create a consistent message of inclusivity to all job seekers.

“An inclusive, justice-oriented environment is what we want, what the public wants, and what new employees are demanding,” he says. “So how do we support and recruit for that?”

Tight job market, few differentiators, limited geography

Also, hiring in the non-profit mental health space is inherently challenging. There’s an unwritten rule not to poach from other community mental health providers, yet employees don’t typically look for new jobs (especially when compensation and benefits are similar everywhere). It’s hard to get the attention of prospective job seekers who aren’t actually looking for work. Meanwhile, geography further limits the already small potential candidate pool.

“So we have to take an advertising, brand-image, marketing approach to what we push in the space,” Jon says. “If people don’t see our job, they’re not going to apply because they’re not currently looking for another job.”

Datapeople’s solutions

Datapeople is helping MHP bake inclusivity into the top of the hiring funnel to attract larger, more qualified, and more diverse candidate pools.

Building messaging around inclusivity

When Jon first put his job ads into Datapeople and saw the exclusive tag, it was a “gut-wrenching” experience for him. (Datapeople’s Inclusion Meter shows job ad writers whether their content and language lean exclusive or inclusive.) It was clear that MHP’s job ads spoke to “like others” and not everyone. Now, Datapeople is helping MHP incorporate more inclusive language into talent searches.

“Candidates won’t apply if they don’t think you’ll look at them,” Jon says. “So even learning that using the word ‘preferred’ excludes people was an eye-opener for me and our managers.”

Leveraging data and templates

“I look at Datapeople as a very analytic, data-driven tool,” says Jon. “We can use it to show that we’re getting more diverse applicant pools because of the language in our job ads.”

Jon also uses Datapeople’s scoring and templates extensively. MHP is getting ready to migrate to a new applicant tracking system (ATS), and Jon wants all of his job ad templates to be “solid, consistent, and effective” before putting them into the new ATS. So he’s keeping careful track of his Job Scores over time. (Jobs that score 85+ in Datapeople are proven to attract more qualified and diverse candidate pools.)  

Improving candidate experience 

Jon puts a lot of emphasis on the candidate experience. In a tight (and tight-knit) job market like non-profit mental healthcare, this approach is vital. If a provider has a good candidate experience, he says, they’ll attract great candidates, who will talk to other great candidates, and so on. 

“But if you have a bad candidate experience and candidates talk, you can lose your entire applicant pool and have to spend five times more money in advertising,” he says. 

With inclusive job ads that provide a welcoming message to all job seekers, Jon can offer a great candidate experience from the get-go. And it doesn’t matter who the candidate is. Inclusive job ads now set the tone for the entire hiring process at MHP.

The results

Using Datapeople, Jon has moved the needle on key recruiting metrics, gotten buy-in from leadership, and improved MHP’s candidate experience overall. 

Better job ads = better results

Jon points to MHP’s improved job ads as the reason behind these improved recruiting metrics:

  • Lower time to fill (from 30-45 days down to about 20 days)
  • Lower time to hire (from 100-140 days down to about 75 days)
  • A 2.5% increase in hires from underrepresented groups
  • A 2% increase in both Black and Latinx applicants
  • Larger qualified candidate pools
  • Clearer, improved messaging in both job ads and job descriptions

Buy-in from leadership

Jon has been able to generate support for his new job ads from the organization’s leaders by showing them real-world data on hiring efforts. 

“We have data to support the tools we’re using and how we’re using them,” he says. “With Datapeople, I could show that our past job ads didn’t connect with everyone. Consequently, we hired candidates who looked like the people who wrote those job ads. Now we have the data to show that we’re moving the needle towards being more inclusive.” 

Improved candidate experience

Jon and the others at MHP are working hard to show job seekers who Mental Health Partners is and the culture the organization lives by. That effort starts with the job ad at the top of the hiring funnel, and Datapeople is helping.

“The job ad has to be written in a way that connects with anybody,” he says.

As a matter of practice, Jon asks candidates during phone screens why they applied. These days (i.e., since implementing Datapeople), many say “the job spoke to me” or “this is who I am, what I’m looking for” and similar sentiments. 

“That’s what we’re after,” he says. “I want them to feel for this job, to see themselves in this job. That’s the point.”

Try Datapeople

Want to see for yourself how easy it is to consistently write job posts that truly connect with diverse and qualified candidate pools – and make your entire hiring process more fair and efficient? Schedule a demo of the Datapeople platform and we’ll show you around.

About Jon Drogheo, MEdHR, CTRM

MHP's sole recruiter Jon Drogheo.

Jon is MHP’s first and only recruiter. As Senior Recruiter, Jon heads hiring efforts for MHP’s 20+ programs in nine service locations across Boulder and Broomfield Counties. As a certified recruiting marketer, Jon focuses a lot of his time on branding and candidate experience. He has worked at MHP since 2014.

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