The Healthcare Recruiter’s Guide To Attracting And Retaining Top Talent

Posted by EverCheck on July 05, 2019

To deliver patient-centered care, healthcare organizations must have two things: patients and caregivers. Healthcare recruiters play an integral role by sourcing, qualifying, onboarding, and, in some instances, helping to retain caregiver talent. But in this dance of dwindling supply and surging demand, healthcare recruiters and talent acquisition teams have to be even more savvy with how they attract and help to retain qualified healthcare professionals. This article discusses a few of the critical components of better healthcare recruitment techniques and strategies.

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Overview

Creating an employer brand that attracts talent.
Be where the talent is.
Build a robust talent pipeline.
Interview for soft skills.
Deliver an exceptional recruitment and onboarding experience.
Recognize and develop internal talent.
Retain the best talent.

 

 

Creating an employer brand that attracts talent.

In typical supply-and-demand fashion, healthcare professionals have the upper-hand. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that by 2030, the US will be facing a shortage of more than 100,000 doctors. With an aging workforce, the supply of qualified, experienced healthcare professionals begins to dwindle and the demand increases substantially. Good talent will have more employment options than ever, so it’s important that hospitals and health systems build and foster a culture that attracts top talent. That means finding ways to set yourself apart from other competitors in your space.

Most healthcare employers offer comprehensive medical benefits, paid time off, continuing education, etc. - the types of benefits that are standard across the industry. Though these benefits are important, they are also expected.

Think about your organization’s values and build a culture that supports those values. If you value care, compassion, and empathy, you may offer additional benefits such as fully-paid parental leave for new moms and dads, a flex-work schedule (to allowable limits), or paid hours your staff may donate to a cause or charity they care about. If your organization focuses on innovation and breakthrough treatments, you may focus your brand strategy on your willingness to adopt or even create new technologies, your focus on quality research and patient outcomes, or the unique learning opportunities you provide.

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The first step in acquiring great talent is attracting great talent, and healthcare professionals are attracted to organizations with purpose. The key is to find yours and market it well.

 

 

Be where the talent is.

If the employer brand is your first defense against healthcare staffing shortages, then this is your second. In marketing, the phrase goes “meet your customers where they are,” and this philosophy applies to healthcare recruiters, as well. Oftentimes, recruiters will post open positions on traditional recruitment websites such as Monster, Indeed, or Health eCareers. Keep doing that, because many healthcare providers and others who work in the industry are scouring those types of sites in hopes of finding better opportunities.

There are other avenues to consider, as well. Many healthcare providers are members of professional organizations that list job opportunities as a benefit of membership. Advertising your positions on these platforms means that you’re selectively narrowing your pool to those individuals who are right for the position. Although you may not see as many applications from these niche sources, the applications you do receive will likely be from well-qualified, interested candidates.

Because demand for healthcare professionals is growing, recruiters are in a position where headhunting may be necessary. This means reaching out to qualified professionals on an individual basis and enticing them away from their current employer. This can be a challenge in itself because these individuals are less likely to leave their current position and have more negotiating power in salary discussions. Come into each of these conversations well-prepared to build a compelling case for why your organization and this position are potentially a great match for the candidate.

 

Build a robust talent pipeline.

In your quest for the perfect candidate for your open position, you’re likely to run across others who are exceptionally talented. Although you may not have an available position for their skillset right now, you may have one later. It’s important to have a pool of talent to source from when the time comes.

If you happen to run across a professional you’re particularly impressed with, send them a quick note. It could read something like:

Hi there,

I work with ABC Healthcare and I recently came across your profile while searching for candidates for our XX position. I was impressed by your experience and qualifications and would like to keep you in mind for future positions with our organization. We’re the nation’s premier providers of integrated healthcare and we value safety, compassion, and empathy - for both patients and our providers. We’re always on the lookout for talented professionals with similar values.

Is it alright if I keep your information on hand and reach out to you in the future when we have a position that suits your talent and experience?

This kind of note helps to further establish your brand among the talent pool and works as a complimentary soft introduction. This individual is likely to be more receptive to your subsequent communications as this conversation has allowed them to grant you permission to contact them for future opportunities.

This talent pipeline will come in handy as the supply of providers continues to dwindle; it will be necessary to focus on and foster the talent that is available.

 

Don’t neglect the soft skills.

Healthcare credentials are fairly cut and dry. Board certified, state licensed, specialty certificate, etc. But the hard skills don’t necessarily mean a candidate is a right fit for your organization.

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It seems counterintuitive that with a shortage of healthcare professionals and a surplus of open positions that recruiters and hiring managers should make a cut and dry process any less so. However, interviewing for soft skills like emotional intelligence, communication and interpersonal skills, time and pressure management means that you’re hiring for the long-run. And less turnover means fewer open positions to fill.

Interviewing for soft skills requires less talking and more listening - asking open-ended questions and listening for clues for the skills. Soft-skills gauges will start off with an open-ended phrase like tell me about a time when or how would you handle this hypothetical situation. Remember that as much as the final outcomes in these answers matter, you should also pay close attention to how the candidate arrives at this answer. Were they contemplative, did they clearly communicate the situation or their ideas to you, did they seem frustrated or flustered by the question? Candidates are communicating just as much in how they answer as what they answer.

 

Deliver an exceptional recruitment and onboarding experience.

As Maya Angelou once said, “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel."

Healthcare recruiters are the organization’s first-impression on prospective healthcare providers. The experience recruiters craft is, directly or indirectly, an indication of how healthcare providers can expect the organization to operate and treat them. For this reason, it’s imperative that healthcare recruiters deliver an exceptional experience from application to start date.

Your online presence (posted positions, website, etc.) should create excitement, your communication mantra should be “well and often,” and you should help to facilitate the process with as few steps as possible. If you’re asking candidates to dedicate hours on end to the process, your process likely needs improvement. Be clear in your expectations and leverage technology to create a seamless process for candidates to submit their licenses, credentials, and other information you need to onboard them successfully.

Give applicants a simpler way to submit licenses and certifications with EverCheck Wallet.

 

Recognize and develop internal talent.

Fair disclaimer, recognizing and developing internal talent isn’t necessarily a function of healthcare recruitment teams, but healthcare human resources can champion better talent management. Staff development and training, mentorship programs, promoting from within, and formal opportunities to share insights - these are all components of a strong culture of internal growth where human resources can have a direct impact.

Promoting from within means, for example, hiring fewer outside nurse leaders and more nurses - a role arguably simpler to fill. Plus, it sends a message to new recruits and current staff that it’s not necessary to look for growth opportunities outside of the organization because those opportunities can be found within.

 

Retain the best talent.

Healthcare human resources, including recruitment teams, are on the front lines making change. They are directly and indirectly responsible for the culture of the organization, as mentioned previously, and the company culture has a profound impact on employee attrition. Staff should feel like the most important asset to the organization (because they are), they should be recognized for the good work that they do, given opportunities for advancement when merited, and allowed to be heard and respected. These elements are integral in supporting a workforce as educated and qualified as those in healthcare (and any industry, for that matter) and can make-or-break exceptional talent. Be part of an organization that does it right, or be a change-maker that facilitates it.

Posted in: Industry Insights