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Guide to recruitment strategies in healthcare

December 9, 2020
iCIMS Staff
6 min read

For years we’ve been hearing about the RN shortage and its impact on healthcare recruiting. Not only is today’s demand up, many RNs are aging out of the workforce themselves. As a result, one million nurses are expected to retire by 2030. Add in burnout and early retirements due to the pandemic, and you might as well call it a perfect storm.

This places an extra emphasis on the importance of hiring the right people. In a candidate’s market, that means offering a streamlined healthcare recruiting experience. Here’s how to do it.


Current landscape in healthcare recruitment

About one in five nurses look forward to going to work. The level of burnout is so high, many nurses are considering moving to non-patient care, leaving the profession, or retiring sooner.

Turnover is inevitable. Your talent pipelines protect your business from going without the talent you need. This starts with a strong candidate relationship management (CRM) system.

Healthy talent pipelines ensure recruiters always have qualified candidates who are interested and ready to interview. This reduces your workload when roles open up on short notice, saving your time and money.


Recruitment strategies in healthcare

Career sites

Your career site isn’t always a job seeker’s first impression of your company. But it is the face of your company, a cultivated experience designed to excite, inform, and encourage applications.

Did you know 75% of healthcare candidates apply to high-churn jobs like medical assistants?

[iCIMS’ system data, 2020]

Filling more niche, specialized healthcare roles is more challenging because the volume of qualified candidates is much lower. In other words, don’t just limit yourself to a one-size-fits-all career site. Targeted career sites offer a more tailored experience that shows relevant candidates you’re serious about the position.

Here are a few ideas to improve your career site experience:

  1. Feature employee testimonials. Pick high-performing individuals from across your organization. You can ask to interview them, video their responses, or have them write something up. Keep editing and prompts to a minimum, allowing them to speak in their own words.
  2. Show off the diversity of your organization. Feature pictures and videos of your employees at work, involved in team building activities, or giving back to the community.
  3. Make it easier to find relevant roles. Artificial intelligence can match job seekers to open roles based on criteria including skills, leadership, and aptitude. Better still, our job matching feature seeks to mitigate bias using AI recruiting software by looking beyond where someone went to school or how many years of experience they have.

Clear job descriptions

The humble job description may not seem all that important. Roles grow and change over time. For example, I know what my job is and what’s expected of me. But I couldn’t tell you what my job description says if my life depended on it. I suspect most of us are in the same boat.

A better job description focuses on the big picture. It outlines a vision, mission, and culture. It describes how a successful employee acts, not just what they do day to day. They’re written to a very specific candidate, but are inclusive and welcoming to all people.

[For more on healthcare recruiting with mission and vision, see What we do matters: Talent teams make essential healthcare possible.]

Onboarding new employees

Earlier, we talked about how new hires who don’t mesh with your organization can exacerbate already high turnover rates. The solution there is to emphasize your culture and mission. Check and check.

Now let’s say you found your next all-star hires. They’re great fits and eager to get started. Digital onboarding builds on their excitement by reinforcing the culture and mission that brought them to you in the first place. The result is engaged employees who bought in and set up for success. This leads to longer tenures and happier, healthier employees.

That’s great for candidates. But what about you? When onboarding is efficient, organizations save money by reducing time spent on administrative tasks. Just ask Novant Health, which sped up onboarding by 9% and saves $300,000 per year as a result.

[Looking for more onboarding tips and tricks? See How successful onboarding kickstarts employee engagement and retention.]


Leveraging technology in healthcare recruitment

Text messaging

Healthcare professionals spend a lot of time on their feet. They work long shifts at all hours, meaning they likely aren’t behind a desk when you are. That can make playing email or phone tag tricky. Texting offers a strong alternative. It’s quick, it’s personal. It can be direct one-to-one or automated. Response rates are typically far higher than email.

Take Trilogy Health Services for example. Texting has boosted their candidate response rate to 44% and the average response time is one hour. Better still, Trilogy has successfully reengaged former employees. Their “boomerang” employee campaign gets a 50% response rate, leading to strong numbers of rehires.

Offer management software

As an employer, your goal is of course to lock down candidates as quickly as possible. This is where offer management software comes in handy – it streamlines the process, cuts through red tape, and makes negotiations easier.

Applicant tracking system (ATS)

Healthcare recruiters work in two different worlds. One with high-volume, high-churn roles. The other with high-touch, hyper-specialized roles where candidates are fewer. They need recruiting solutions capable of filling both.

To get the most out of your healthcare recruiting, you need an applicant tracking system that can support high volume hiring, source niche talent, and move healthcare provider (HCP) and non-healthcare provider candidates (e.g. tech support, office admins) through the hiring process.

Moving to the iCIMS Talent Cloud is easier than you might think, even for the largest, most complex healthcare organizations. Just ask Hackensack Meridian Health, which successfully migrated to iCIMS while completing a merger and hiring of 4,000 new employees.

They’re not alone in their success. Since switching to iCIMS from Workday Recruiting, NorthStar Anesthesia fills 50% more roles per month, dropped their physician vacancy rate by 40%, and gained back two hours of productivity per recruiter, per day.

Then there’s Jefferson Center, which cut their time to fill by two months and spends $2,000 less per hire than the national average.


Engage with qualified talent

Healthy talent pipelines ensure recruiters always have qualified candidates who are interested and ready to interview. This reduces your workload when roles open up on short notice, saving your time and money.

Here’s an easy model to building and engaging healthy talent pipelines:

  1. Grow your pipelines of healthcare talent by encouraging job seekers to opt into communications on your career site, LinkedIn page, and other digital properties. Add silver-medalist candidates and other quality talent to your pipelines as well.
  2. Organize your pipelines based on your hiring needs. Common categories include some combination of skills, experience level, and location.
  3. Keep your pipelines engaged. Send weekly digest emails to highlight job openings related to talent pools a candidate has subscribed to, based on their interests. Job search advice, company news, and fun updates all work great.

[For more on building strong talent pools, see The definitive guide to building your pipeline.]


Recruit healthcare employees with iCIMS

Looking for more information about healthcare recruiting? Check out our applicant tracking system (ATS). It’s got a quick-hit list of solutions. You can also submit to see a demo from there.

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