How to Hire a Counselor

Does your growing business need a counselor? A counselor will be the first point of contact available to provide psychological and emotional support to people in need. They’re compassionate professionals who help ensure their clients’ well-being.

Here are some tips to help you find great counselor candidates and make the right hire for your company.

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Counselors searching for jobs on Indeed*


Job seekers that clicked on counselor jobs


Resumes for job seekers with counselor experience on Indeed


Counselor jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring counselor?

  • Common salary in US: $18.18 hourly
  • Typical salaries range from $7.25$48.40 hourly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, counselor jobs in the US are very competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 35 job seekers per counselor job.

Why hire a counselor?

A counselor can build a strong internal support system within an organization or assist employees in maintaining well-being. An effective counselor can: 

  • Work closely with individuals or groups, evaluate their mental state and prepare a customized treatment plan to improve their mental health
  • Teach clients how to counter and manage stressful situations by adopting different coping mechanisms
  • Guide clients to define emotional goals, formulate plans of action and gain insight on how to achieve them

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance counselor

Freelance counselors may be available for employers who are facing one-time situations they need assistance resolving. Employers can also hire freelancers when their companies aren’t large enough to require full-time counseling services. It’s cheaper for a company to hire a freelancer for a limited time than to keep a full-time employee on retainer. 

Large companies with numerous employees that require frequent counseling services may benefit from a full-time counselor. Benefits of a full-time counselor include increased accountability, better connections with the staff and lower hourly costs when compared to a freelancer.

What are the types of counselors?

There are many types of counselors in businesses and schools who specialize in different areas of personal and interpersonal conflict, such as: 

  • Mental health counselors: Mental health counselors specialize in helping individuals who suffer from mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. 
  • Grief counselors: Grief counselors help individuals who have suffered a personal loss to cope with their grief. 
  • Career development counselors: Career development counselors guide individuals who are looking to move forward with their careers. They offer advice about choosing professions and educational programs. 
  • Anger management counselors: Anger management counselors work with individuals who get angry easily. They help their clients find methods to control their anger and release it in a healthy manner. 
  • Addiction counselors: Addiction counselors work with clients who’ve developed addictions to behaviors or substances, such as alcohol and drugs. They aim to help their clients recover from the addiction and refrain from relapsing.

Where to find counselors

To find the right counselor for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Search for quality candidates online: There may be counselors advertising themselves on websites such as Linkedin who meet the requirements for the position and are looking for jobs. 
  • Post help wanted flyers: Posting notices about the position in your building and around the community can help raise awareness and attract quality candidates. 
  • Promote or hire from within: Searching for potential candidates within your company can be easier and cheaper than hiring from outside. 
  • Network: Building and maintaining relationships with counselors can generate leads for other quality counselors who are looking for employment. 
  • Post your job online: Try posting your counselor job on Indeed to find and attract quality counselor candidates.

Skills to look for in a great counselor

Emotional intelligence and an empathetic attitude are crucial for an outstanding counselor. The following qualifications and skills are vital for a competent counselor candidate:

  • Master’s degree in Psychology, Counseling or Social Work
  • Relevant experience in a similar role
  • Proven ability to effectively utilize external and internal resources in client treatment plans
  • Practical communication skills, empathetic mindset and solution-focused approach toward clients
  • Experience preparing progress reports to monitor the gradual improvement of a client’s mental health
  • Ability to develop therapeutic processes and guidelines for clients to follow

Writing a counselor job description

A great counselor job description should outline defined roles and responsibilities, clearly laid down job duties and the required skill set to be successful in the assigned job.

When writing your counselor job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on counselor jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Counselor
  • Social worker
  • Mental health
  • Social work
  • Social services
  • Human services
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • School counselor
  • Counseling
  • Genetic counselor

Interviewing counselor candidates

The interview process for counselor candidates should revolve around their qualifications and how they’ve helped past clients. Topics to cover may include: 

  • Relevant certifications, training and degrees
  • Steps they take when developing therapeutic processes
  • How they’ve guided clients out of psychological distress

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of counselor interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a counselor

What is the difference between counseling and therapy?

Counseling is considered to be more short term and focused on particular problems than therapy. Therapy is a long-term relationship with a therapist who handles a broad range of issues in people’s lives. 

How is counseling defined?

According to the American Counseling Association, counseling is defined as a “professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education and career goals.”

What are the three core conditions in counseling?

The three core conditions in counseling are empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard.

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