How to Make Your Next Counselor Hire

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Last updated at 09-17-2020 9:24:09



More than 8,056 companies advertise 45,744 Counselor jobs on SimplyHired and its partner sites each year. After analyzing job postings and salary information from these companies, as well as direct job seeker feedback, we’ve compiled a list of insights to show you how to attract and hire your next Counselor most efficiently.

Hiring Process

In the past quarter, we’ve seen 14,043 job posts from 3,827 employers in the United States. This is a increase of 6.4% compared to the previous quarter. On average, there are 82 Counselor job seekers for every active Counselor job, which shows that it is a job seeker's market.

Writing a Job Description

In the past quarter, Customer Service Representative, Mental Health Technician, Counselor, Case Manager, Social Worker, Therapist, Receptionist, Substance Abuse Counselor, Administrative Assistant, and Call Center Representative seem to be the most sought after jobs amongst the Counselor candidates in the United States. This differs from the last six quarters, where the most popular titles were: Mental Health Technician, Counselor, Customer Service Representative, Case Manager, Social Worker, Therapist, Administrative Assistant, Receptionist, Substance Abuse Counselor, and Retail Sales Associate. If you use one of these currently popular titles in the job description, you'll likely be able to attract a lot more candidates to apply.

For the Counselor candidates who are actively applying to jobs in this same period, we see that 17.3% of the active Counselor candidates have less than 3 years of experience, 16.8% have between 3-5 years of experience, 24.9% have 6-10 years of experience, and 41.0% have over 10 years of experience. The average years of experience has shifted from an estimated 10.8 years to 10.4 years. If you're posting a job in today's market, expect candidates with about the same experience level to apply to your job compared to the last 2 quarters.

In the previous quarter, the most popular skills that employers are looking for include communication skills, addiction counseling, bilingualism, computer skills, Spanish, English, Microsoft Office, writing skills, customer service, and Microsoft Excel. Demand for documentation review, case management, writing skills, teaching, public speaking, crisis intervention, addiction counseling, Microsoft Powerpoint, English, and Spanish has significantly increased. If you are looking for a Counselor with a similar skill set, be sure to follow industry best practices in skill requirements.

Job posts with salary information received about 1.6 as many applies as those without it. In the past quarter, less than 28.5% of the job posts displayed salary information. By adding salary information to your job posting, you could potentially increase the number of applicants by approximately 60.0%.

Example Counselor responsibilities

  • Assess patients' conditions and history to diagnose any mental disorders
  • Assist patients to set goals such as quitting smoking or losing weight
  • Work with patients as they carry out their plans to achieve their goals
  • Explain the results of various tests and procedures related to the patient's disorder and treatments
  • Review past test results and discuss changes in the patient's disorders, progress, or plans


Active Recruiting

When reaching out to candidates, it’s best to understand where to look. We’ve identified hiring trends in states as well as companies regularly hiring for Counselor positions. This should provide a good place to start looking for qualified candidates. According to our data in the last quarter: California, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida are the states that have the highest demand for Counselors. California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania are where most job seekers are searching for Counselor jobs. If we look at the Counselor to job ratio, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska have the lowest number of Counselor applicants per job. Utah, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, and Georgia have the most active Counselor job seekers per job.

Passive Recruiting

While actively recruiting candidates for your role, you should also post your job to SimplyHired. By posting for free and paying only for the qualified applicants you want, your post will automatically go to a network of job boards to reach millions of qualified candidates. With SimplyHired, it doesn’t end with the post. You can track your applicants throughout the hiring process with our simple and easy to use Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Review Candidates

In the last quarter, we estimate there are 1,083,030 job seekers interested in Counselor opportunities in the United States. That’s a 13.6% increase compared to the previous quarter with 1,012,337 active job seekers. Around 17.3% of the active Counselor candidates have less than 3 years of experience, over 16.8% have between 3-5 years of experience, 24.9% have 6-10 years of experience, and 41.0% have over 10 years of experience. The average experience level of the available Counselor candidates is 10.4 years. Active candidates in the Counselor profession most commonly have bachelor's degrees, followed by master's degrees, high school diplomas, and associate's degrees. When setting education requirements for your position, aligning with the industry standard makes it easier to find potential candidates. Application rates indicate that Counselor candidates are likely experiencing a market in which applicants have less negotiating power. From an employer perspective, you'll have a greater selection of candidates to choose from and may want to invest in automated screening tools.

Interviewing Candidates

Interview Process

*Self-reported data collected from 10,549 Counselors from 1/1/2020 to 6/30/2020, via online employer reviews for companies including YMCA, Petland, Rite Of PasSage, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Pyramid Healthcare, The Salvation Army, Youth Villages, Camp Bow Wow, National Counseling Group, and Gateway Foundation.

After analyzing post-interview data from Counselor candidates in the last 6 months, we see more than 39.0% of the candidates self-reported being hired within 1 to 2 days. Around 83.9% of the candidates for this job reported being hired within 2 weeks. If your process takes longer than 2 weeks in the recent market, you'll likely lose these candidates to other employers. Most of the Counselor candidates are expecting a on-site interview, phone call/screening, background check, and group interview. Most employers do not require a drug test or written test. If you are trying to hire your next Counselor quickly, consider simplifying and streamlining the hiring process. As for the interview experience, more than 74.6% of the candidates had a good or great interview experience, and more than 41% of the candidates thought that the interview leaned more towards easy.

Example Interview Questions

  • What is your definition of sustainable happiness?
  • Describe your career development during your college career and your first 2 years after graduation.
  • Share an example of how you’ve gone above and beyond to help a coworker achieve their career goals.
  • What do you think are the major challenges employers face in retaining important staff members?
  • Describe a situation in which you made a mistake. How did you handle it?

Final Review and Offer

Reference Check

Checking references is a quick and easy way to check for any red flags that didn’t arise to this point in the hiring process. Great insights can be provided by former colleagues and employers.

Crafting an Offer: Salary and Benefits

The average Counselor salary offered by employers increased for 4 out of 6 consecutive quarters in the United States. In the last quarter, we see a increase of 2% from $48,636.34 to $49,751.69 compared to the quarter before, which is on par with the past 6 quarters. For Counselor positions, the most common benefits job seekers reported being offered by employers include: healthcare insurance by 75.5%, paid time off by 69.1%, dental insurance by 65.5%, vision insurance by 54.7%, a 401k plan by 47.7%, discounts by 25.1%, and stock options/grants by 6.6%. While still relatively rare, more and more employers now offer flexibility benefits, including mostly remote, sabbaticals, flexible working hours, somewhat remote, paternity leave, maternity leave, fully remote, and location variety, to attract and retain Counselor candidates to their organization.

Background Check and Drug Test

According to self-reported job seeker feedback, 40.9% of the employers conducted a background check, and 18.5% of the employers conducted a drug test prior to the hiring of their Counselor candidates.


When you’re ready to hire a Counselor, SimplyHired is here to help with your next steps. Our Human Resources Information System (HRIS) provides onboarding tools and other essential HR tools. From document signing to time off tracking, our HRIS will help you seamlessly move a Counselor candidate through the hiring and onboarding process.

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