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How to hire a shift coordinator: Your essential guide

How to Hire a Shift Coordinator featured image

Breaking a sweat just thinking about hiring a shift coordinator? 

We get the feeling. It’s a specialized role with niche skills, and the pressure to pick the perfect candidate is high.

The wrong choice can throw off your operation, frustrating staff and customers. But the right choice? They know their stuff – from industry insights to how to dodge unexpected curveballs and more.

Thankfully, you’ve come to the perfect place. Our guide explains the skills to look for in shift coordinators, where to find top talent, and how to assess candidates effectively so you can always pick the ideal person for the gig.

What you need to know before hiring a shift coordinator 

When it comes to hiring a shift coordinator, one size doesn’t fit all. Think about what you really need from this role before you kick-start recruiting. 

Here are some things to consider. 

Your company’s size and complexity

First, consider how big and busy your business is. 

A small business with set hours and a few staff members? Shift scheduling should be straightforward, so a good shift coordinator just needs some experience, organization skills, and a knack for teamwork. 

But if the company is big – like a 24/7 manufacturing plant – you’ll need someone who goes beyond the basics to manage lots of workers and juggle different shifts.

Industry demands 

Your shift coordinator needs to know the ins and outs of your industry’s scheduling needs and challenges. 

For example, in healthcare settings, you’ll want someone who can fill in when needed, follow regulations, and handle stressful situations.

For a tourism company? It’ll need extra hands around the holidays to accommodate a surge of travelers. That means more staff and shifts for your shift coordinator to handle.

Think about your growth plans 

If your business has plans to expand, you’ll need a shift coordinator who can grow with you. That means someone who can handle more shifts and a bigger team, plan effectively, and keep rising labor costs in check. 

Understand your employees’ needs 

Finally, think about your workforce’s preferences and requirements around their schedules. If your team has different schedules because of personal commitments like childcare or school, for example, you’ll need a shift coordinator who’s flexible, can handle varied hours, and makes everyone feel supported.

Skills to look for in a shift coordinator

Not sure what a great shift coordinator really looks like? Here are the skills to search for:

Hard skills

  • Familiarity with scheduling tools: Knows how to use tech to create and manage shifts, automate processes, and avoid mix-ups.

  • Data analysis: Can look at time and attendance data to keep staffing just right, avoid overtime, and plan coverage. 

  • Budget management: Makes schedules that save money by avoiding unnecessary overtime and keeping labor costs low.

  • Regulatory knowledge: Knows local, state, and federal labor laws around work hours, meal times, overtime, rest breaks, etc.

  • Crisis management: Can handle surprises and emergencies, always ready to assign cover shifts.

Soft skills and traits

  • Communication: Can clearly communicate schedules, talk with staff about issues, and speak with customers if things go wrong – like when someone’s unexpectedly absent. 

  • Leadership: Acts as the go-to for sorting out shifts, motivating the team to stick to their schedules, and making tough calls – like saying “no” to time off.

  • Adaptability and resilience: Can roll with sudden changes or busy times without stress.

  • Time management: Guarantees work – for themselves and everyone else – gets done on time. 

  • Problem-solving: Can resolve scheduling issues creatively and on the fly.

  • Attention to detail: Creates and manages top-notch schedules, keeps a close eye on attendance, and fixes any schedule errors before they cause trouble.

Where to find skilled shift coordinators 

To start, consider posting your shift coordinator job description on job boards like Monster, Indeed, or Glassdoor. These are packed with potential hires.

You could also use recruitment agencies specializing in shift coordinator gigs, including those in your industry. Recruiters and headhunters have huge networks and can help match you with the right people – without you having to sift through tons of applications.

Also, hit up networking events to connect with shift coordinators in different industries! Here are some to scope out: 

These are popular ways to find new hires, so competition is fierce. It’s best to pair them with some unique hiring methods to get an edge over other employers.

4 creative ways to find shift coordinator candidates

Try using these creative sourcing methods to spot hidden gems in the shift-coordinating world.

1. Social media campaigns

You can do so much more than just post an open role on your company’s social media. For example, have you considered creating short-form videos – for example, “A day in the lift of our shift coordinators”?

Videos like these are fun, easy to share, and give potential hires a peek into the job and your company’s culture. Post them to Instagram and TikTok to catch the eyes of potential applicants, even those who weren’t actively looking for a job but could be a great fit. 

Pro tip: Have some budget to spare? Boost these videos with paid ads so you can target the right folks and reduce unqualified applications. 

2. Interactive webinars

Participate in or host online webinars on topics like “what’s new in shift work,” “the latest scheduling software,” or “how to ace shift coordination.” This way, you can connect with people who are keen to enhance their skills and might be on the lookout for a new job in the field.

3. Scheduling competitions 

Ever heard of in-tray or e-tray simulation exercises? Many big employers use them in assessment centers to see how candidates prioritize and respond to emails. 

You could do something similar for shift coordinator candidates. Set up a contest to see how they manage scheduling shifts, handle last-minute changes, and address staff concerns.

The competition can attract enthusiastic professionals who could be interested in your open position. 

4. Employee referrals 

Finally, reach out to your current employees. They can refer candidates from previous employers, networks, and more. This is such an effective way to source applicants who will likely be skilled and a good culture fit for your company. 

How to select the best shift coordinator candidates 

Finding candidates is a start, but not everyone who looks great on paper will be a good fit for your company. You need to find someone with the right skills and who can click with your team. 

The best way to do this? Use multi-measure talent assessments – like the ones TestGorilla provides!

They help you test your candidates’ skills and aptitudes, understand their personality types, and learn more about what makes them tick. 

Here are the tests we recommend for your shift coordinator position:

  • The Shift Coordination test helps you identify candidates who are great at planning shifts, communicating, problem-solving, and managing teams.

  • Our Microsoft Excel (general) test is ideal if you need someone to create and manage schedules in Excel. 

  • Our Attention to Detail (visual) test checks how well candidates process visual cues and spot errors – key for getting shift schedules spot-on.

  • The Time Management test shows how candidates plan, prioritize, and handle tasks under pressure.  

  • Personality tests like the Enneagram and DISC help you spot traits needed for the job – like adaptability and resilience.

  • TestGorilla’s Culture add test lets you see whether candidates will fit in and contribute to your company culture.

After you’ve picked some top candidates, conduct structured interviews – online or in-person – to find the perfect fit.

2 common mistakes when hiring a shift coordinator 

Watch out for these pitfalls that can cause major headaches when hiring a shift coordinator. 

1. Overlooking cross-department collab skills

Shift coordinators are often the go-between for different departments, ensuring tasks flow smoothly and everyone’s in the loop. 

So, check that your candidates can handle teamwork, collaboration, and communication across various teams. 

Forget this step, and you might hire someone who can’t keep departments in sync, causes bottlenecks, and gets easily mixed up. This could lead to mistakes and delays as they struggle to coordinate everyone effectively.

2. Not assessing overall tech-savviness 

Yes, shift coordinators should know how to use your company’s scheduling software. But that’s only part of the tech-savviness they need.

Teams in shift-based industries tend to be spread out, so they use mobile apps and messaging platforms to stay in touch. Your shift coordinator needs to know their way around these tools!

They might also need to be a whiz with video conferencing platforms, point-of-sale (POS) systems, or task management apps like Trello.

Check that your candidates are comfortable with the tech they’ll use each day. It’ll save you time teaching them the basics – and from fixing tech-related hiccups and delays.

Land the best shift coordinators with TestGorilla 

Great shift coordinators keep your business running smoothly, even when you’re not looking. But hiring the wrong person can spell disaster. They might struggle to balance what teams need with what the business demands – and that can upset everyone involved.

The good news? You can sidestep these issues by beefing up your hiring game. TestGorilla’s multi-measure talent assessments can help you test candidates’ skills, cognitive abilities, and even personality traits. This way, you can get back to growing your business and let a top-notch coordinator handle the rest.

Sign up for a free TestGorilla account or take a product tour to find your superstar shift coordinator ASAP!


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