Recruiting for Wellness: How to Hire & Retain Healthy Employees


Wellness is increasingly important in the minds of today’s employers. Corporate wellness has shifted from company fun runs and smoking cessation programs to a necessary component of employers of choice as they fight to recruit and retain engaged and healthy employees. Wellness programs are an extremely popular benefit; according to research from the Society for Human Resource Management, more than 75% of the more than 380 HR professionals surveyed say their firms offer some type of wellness program to their employees. 

From a staffing perspective, it’s easy to overlook agencies as not having a direct impact on wellness. But wellness can start with your staffing agency, or during the recruitment portion of your talent lifecycle. Here’s how:


The Benefits of Corporate Wellness

Did you know companies that implemented a corporate wellness program saw a 28% reduction in employees calling in sick? Employee wellness programs can help combat all types of unhealthy workforces and can address multiple issues; such as, obesity, smoking and general poor health decisions. Educating and enabling the workforce to make better decisions for their health and providing them with the resources and motivation to do so can work wonders for your entire operation.


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The Benefits of Hiring for Wellness

Not only are talent acquisition professionals, recruiters, and staffing agencies interested in sourcing quality candidates, but they know there’s a value-add in hiring or placing candidates with the potential to be productive, healthy and engaged. What better way to bet on that potential than taking the wellness factor into account? The numbers don’t lie. According to Zane Benefits:

  • Employees who eat healthy are 25% more likely to have higher job performance.
  • Employees who exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, are 15% more likely to have higher job performance.
  • Overweight employees file twice the number of workers’ compensation claims.
  • 61% of employers say employees’ health habits are a top challenge to controlling healthcare costs.


Tweet This: Is your team healthy? Healthy eating #employees are 25% more likely to have higher job performance. 


So how do you HIRE for Wellness?

It’s wrong and illegal to judge candidates by their appearance or factors like weight, however you can start seeking out key indicators of a healthy mindset. A key identifier of an employee who embodies wellness is an inclination towards self-improvement. A candidate who shows signs of self-improvement also may show resiliency, personal growth leading to professional growth and innovation.

One of the best ways to identify a self-improvement driven individual is to ask the following questions in an interview.


  • Test for Self-Reflection – Tell me about a weakness you have and how that weakness may have affected or will affect your professional life. What techniques have you explored to combat the effects of that weakness? The focus of this question isn’t to learn of an interviewee’s cons, but to check awareness of shortcomings and to focus on how they make decisions and whether they choose to improve based on this knowledge.
  • Test for Self-Awareness – If someone were to share a derogatory trait regarding your performance, what would they say? If the candidate says nothing, then it’s the same type of response as the “my biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist” and you should proceed with caution. If the candidate says no one would say anything negative about them, then they’re most likely not aware of their own faults or are too proud to share them. While not an indicator of lack of self-awareness, do take care to note this.
  • Test for Personal-Accountability – Tell me about a time you really messed something up at work or in school. What happened and why did it happen? If the interviewee blames another team member, their boss or any other external factor, they may not be personally accountable.


Tweet This: Is it possible to hire employees for wellness? Read how you can and why you should:


While none of these can guarantee a healthy applicant, it can help you to find out if they have a healthy mindset, which is incredibly important when it comes to engaging employees in wellness programs and can impact productivity and culture (among other things). Other things you can assess during the candidate screening and interviewing process are candidates’ interests or what they do in their free time. If a candidate shares they participate in recreational sports, play instruments or are learning a second language, chances are they’re a self-improvement type of person!

Check their resume or LinkedIn profile for volunteer activities or extracurricular groups. Again, a well-rounded lifestyle can be at least loosely connected to physical wellness. It’s also totally fine to ask candidates about perks or programs that are important to them, as this can inform your own retention and recruitment efforts going forward and shed a light on whether wellness benefits are important to them.


How to Produce and Retain Healthy Employees

Whether an employee is considered healthy or not, employers can now make an impact on their employees’ quality of life, and they have good reason to. Organizations with strong wellness programs have lower rates of obesity and lower unplanned absence rates than their counterparts, according to a report by the National Business Group on Health and Towers Watson.

Companies like ConAgra, who have run a wellness program for six years even goes as far to reward employee participation with bonus Health Savings Account contributions and insurance premium reductions for achieving normal ranges or major progress on specific health factors. Those health factors are BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking and blood glucose, and guess what? ConAgra has proven that employees with at least four of these health risks are 2.5 times more costly than employees with two risks or less.

At Vector Talent, we believe that wellness is a whole company value. Our process is to:

  • Assess – to understand wellness needs
  • Design – to recommend products and services to meet health goals
  • Implement – to execute the prescribed programming with health professionals
  • Monitor – to report on participation, satisfaction, and estimated reduction of medical related costs
  • Communicate – to relay tailored health marketing through internal and external channels


“From an employer’s perspective, these offerings have value. There’s also the cost of doing nothing. Meaning, if employees and job seekers expect wellness programs and you don’t offer them, then that’s going to put you at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent,” says Donna Levin, co-founder and vice president of Policy, CSR and workplace solutions at


Vector Talent doesn’t just place quality talent, we’re interested in teaming you up with the best hires and we hold ourselves accountable through our value-added corporate wellness services. Working with Vector Talent Resources as your choice staffing agency also gives you access to our wellness program provider and gives you quality reassurance that we know how to hire and retain a lasting workforce.

Want to learn more about how to find and keep incredible talent? See how our strategic staffing experts can help!

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