Genesis - I really am not sure what starting pay is, but regarding the uniforms, though there is some variation among the units, the required uniform is just scrubs and white socks/white shoes. And then, obviously, no dangling earrings, no other visible piercings/tattoos, no fake nails, etc.
I work at Genesis now, as a float nursing assistant (I'll graduate with my BSN in 2010). The best about Genesis, by far, is the quality of the people there. Again, there is some unit variation, but for the most part on each unit there is an incredible camaraderie between all the staff, with people saying, "Can I help you with anything?" when they get a free minute, instead of just going off and doing their own thing. From what I have heard, CNAs/nursing assistants in some places are treated as grunt workers to be ordered around, but at Genesis, I feel respected among my coworkers. I know that they truly appreciate the work that I do and I've never been blown off or ignored when I've asked for help.
The management is great, and very transparent. There are multiple avenues by which to express concerns, which are usually acted upon immediately, depending on the situation.
I'll warn you, it's also a very professional, very "strict" environment in that everyone works to contribute to the overall quality of the care provided but there is no leeway when it comes to hospital policy. For example, in orientation there is a presentation on HIPAA, and you are told there that that is your warning, if you break confidentiality by accessing or disclosing private health information, you're gone. You don't get a second chance.
Genesis is a busy place, and you'll work your rear off, but overall it is a positive and encouraging environment that offers outstanding patient care. We realize that we are a team and a community. Every day I probably care for a loved one of someone else in the genesis community and that by assuring quality care for them, I am assuring it for my own loved ones as well. We take care of each other.
Genesis's motto is "Never Settle" and I think that if you can apply that motto to your own career, if you want to constantly improve your skills, or get more education, or even just do your job a little bit better every day, then Genesis is an employer that can help you do just that. However, if you are the type of person that says, "Oh well, that's good enough," then maybe Genesis isn't the place for you.
I hope that some of this will prove helpful to you in making your final decision.
Best of luck!