How to recruit healthcare workers
While the nursing shortage is the most publicized shortage in healthcare, 12 of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the US are in healthcare.
Because of this, healthcare recruiting teams are faced with a unique challenge. They’re responsible for recruiting two completely different types of roles such as nurses, doctors, qualified physicians, etc, all of which are hard to fill - for totally different reasons:
- Highly specialized roles. These are nurses, physicians, physical therapists, doctors, and other well-paid, highly specialized positions. They are hard to fill because there are few people with the necessary education, skills, and certifications to do the job.
- Unspecialized roles. These are home health aides, physical therapist aides, and other relatively low wage positions with low barriers to entry. They are hard to fill because low wage opportunities are abundant and job seekers have many options.
In this blog we’ll look at ways you can accelerate your healthcare recruitment for high and low specialty roles.
1) Put (Some) Sourcing on Autopilot
90% of healthcare candidates said that employer brand was an essential recruiting resource, according to the Healthcare Recruiting Network (HRN).
Differentiating your hospital from others is crucial for reaching hard-to-hire talent. Building a compelling employer brand generates interest from candidates - with no manual outreach required.
Keep in mind that you won’t be alone here: 66% of hospitals in 2017 said they would allocate more resources toward passive candidate recruiting. Here’s how you can stay ahead of your competition:
- Allocate budget specifically for employer branding. According to HRN, only 43% of healthcare providers have a dedicated budget to address their employer brand. Allocating budget for branding initiatives ensures they receive priority and don’t get pushed into the next fiscal year.
- Dedicate headcount for managing your brand. It might be tempting to delegate new employer branding responsibilities to your existing recruiting team. Remember, it’s estimated that half of candidates will consult sites like Glassdoor when evaluating your organization. A dedicated employer brand manager keeps your brand top of mind and ensures your goals are actually met. As in the case of budget, only 44% of providers have a dedicated person who manages their brand; this is another way to stay a step ahead of most other providers.
- Audit what your competitors are doing. You don’t want to put budget behind employer branding only to find out a local competitor has done the exact same things. Conducting a competitive employer brand audit will give you insight into what other providers are doing so you can truly differentiate your organization.
It’s important to remember that 43% of healthcare employees are actively looking for better opportunities. That’s a huge portion of the workforce who will inevitably land on your careers site or Glassdoor page. A compelling employer brand will effectively automate how you get these job seekers - both specialized and unspecialized - into your pipeline.
2) Think Creatively About Untapped Channels
To fill rapidly growing, hard-to-fill roles, you need to think creatively about untapped channels. For nursing and other highly specialized roles, this means:
- Leverage referrals. Referrals are consistently a top source of quality hires in any profession. A robust, structured referral program (vs. an ad hoc referral program) builds a strong pipeline of highly qualified candidates.
- Host professional seminars. Work with nursing & other professional associations to put on public seminars. Actively recruit frequent, engaged attendees.
- Revisit runner-up candidates. Candidates who made it to the final step of the hiring process (but were not ultimately hired) yesterday could be great hires today. Your ATS is a goldmine of these specialized candidates.
- Look outside typical sources of nurses. International nurses, travelling nurses, and recently retired nurses could all potentially relocate or “unretire” to work for you full-time.
For unspecialized roles, you are in competition with every other local high volume employer. The tactics that employers in retail and services industries use are also applicable here:
- Leverage referrals. Referrals are useful for all job types, not just those with a high degree of specialization. Since most employees enjoy working with their friends, they’ll also help improve retention.
- Host public job fairs. Many retail and service employees may not realize the full range of options available to them in healthcare. Host public job fairs to show them the variety of opportunities you have available.
- Partner with volunteer groups. Members of volunteer groups want to make an impact. Partner with local volunteer groups to remind them of the life-changing impact they can make as a home health aide or physical therapist aide.
3) Allow Hiring Process Flexibility
Nursing schedules are famously hectic. To schedule a phone screen, you need to align your recruiters’ schedules to the schedules of nurse candidates who are probably employed elsewhere.
To ensure scheduling conflicts don’t keep your organization from hiring the best nurses, the hiring process needs to be flexible. You need to provide ways for candidates to engage with you after hours (when they’re off work).
On-demand video interviews - recorded, asynchronous interviews where candidates respond to a series of questions - allow nursing candidates to get deeper into your hiring funnel in a way that works with their schedule.
It’s for this reason that 60% of HireVue interviews in the healthcare industry take place outside of normal business hours.
Since the interviews are recorded, your hiring managers can review them at their leisure and still focus on providing their patients with the highest quality care. They’re empowered to bring in the best-fit candidates for an onsite interview and make hiring decisions while your competitors are still conducting phone screens.
While this has the most obvious benefits for nurses, it also useful for hiring any hard-to-fill role. Video interviews give you the insight of an interview at the beginning of the hiring process; you can focus your attention on the best candidates and give them a high-touch experience.
4) Ask Questions that Assess Soft Skills
Soft skills are critical in the healthcare industry, and why the best healthcare professionals are the best. Use behavioral and scenario questions to get an accurate assessment of soft skills.
- Behavioral questions: Candidates are asked to relate past experiences and on-the-job behaviors. Examples include: “Tell me about a time you faced a conflict at work, and how you resolved it,” or “How do you approach high-pressure situations?”
- Scenario questions: Candidates are asked what actions they would take when confronted with a hypothetical scenario. Examples include: “A patient is angry with you and yelling. You do not know why - what do you do?” or “A coworker asks you to cover their shift at the last minute. How do you respond?”
You can also use these strong question types in an on-demand video interview to evaluate the skills that matter at the beginning of the hiring process, so you can fast-track the best candidates.
5) Get the Most Out of Team and Group Interviews
Aligning hiring managers’ schedules with those of already employed candidates is difficult and time-consuming. This is especially true in the case of nursing. To get the most out of team and group interviews:
- Automate scheduling. Set up hiring events with automated scheduling software so candidates can pick the times that work best for them to interview. This takes the stress of scheduling off your recruiting team and eliminates candidate phone tag.
- Structure interview questions. Structured interviews do a better job of predicting future success than unstructured interviews, and are more fair to candidates. Give every candidate the opportunity to answer the same questions. If candidates have completed a structured on-demand video interview, you should expand on the questions they’ve already answered.
- Create diverse interview panels. Diverse (gender, ethnicity, age) teams make better, less biased decisions than homogenous teams. Diverse interview panels ensure great talent doesn’t go unnoticed.
Healthcare recruitment will only get more competitive as the demand for professionals like nurses, doctors and qualified physicians of all skill levels increases. These five recruiting approaches help ensure you have a healthy pipeline of quality candidates - so you can always deliver the highest quality care to your patients.