Healthcare Blog

Healthcare Recruitment Differentiators

Lisa Wallace, Account Director

Following COVID and the “Great Resignation,” businesses in every industry are looking for employees. The healthcare industry is no exception.

For hospital healthcare recruiters, it’s now about more than filling current jobs; it’s about crafting the right strategy to build a steady pipeline of candidates to choose from when the need arises.

Fewer Employees; More Competition

Some 4.5 million employees, or 3% of US workers, quit their jobs in 2021, and healthcare was one of the sectors that saw the highest number of staff losses, with a quit rate of 6.4%, more than double the national average.

According to The Atlantic, about 1 in 5 healthcare workers has left their job because of COVID, budget cuts, frustration and burnout.

And while there is a general shortage of medical employees, the nursing shortage is especially significant.

So, hospital recruiters find themselves in a position with fewer employees and stiff competition from travel nursing (where the pay rate has shot up), other hospitals—and other industries.

Recruiters Face Tough Challenges

The top challenges facing healthcare recruiters are:

  • The demand outpaces supply. More jobs need employees than employees need jobs.
  • Many organizations are cutting costs. Reductions in elective surgeries and people hesitating to visit their doctors because of COVID has hit many organizations hard, and as a result, they’ve had to tighten their budgets.
  • The healthcare industry has some of the jobs most difficult to fill. Unfortunately, all the other hospitals in your area are recruiting from the same limited pool of applicants.

The same old tactics won’t work anymore. Healthcare recruiters need to step up their game.

Why Your Recruiting Efforts Fall Flat

There are a few reasons healthcare recruiters aren’t successful in attracting applicants: They haven’t differentiated themselves, their messaging isn’t compelling and they aren’t genuine.

Be Different

What makes your organization different or better? By elevating the unique factors of your workplace, you can better show what differentiates you from the rest of the pack.

Is it flexible scheduling, exceptional benefits, growth opportunities or is your workplace in a particularly attractive location or region? Spell that out.

Additionally, focusing on your company culture is critical for applicants to get a sense of fit. But, as a recruiter, do you fully understand your organization’s culture? That is, not what you would like it to be, but what it actually is.

Don’t try to fit a round peg in a square hole; work with stakeholders to discover what employees like or don’t like about your organization and how they view the culture and use those insights to craft campaign materials that set you apart.

Be Compelling

Have you ever read a job description for a hospital hire? So many tend to read more like a court filing than the description of a job anyone would want.

Recruiting messaging isn’t a one-way conversation; too often, employers focus only on what they want from an employee without considering what an employee wants from them.

Discover those wants and needs and focus on them, segmenting and tailoring your communications and messaging for each. For example, instead of using one template for all positions, create highly targeted campaigns and materials for each position type.

These days, it’s an employee’s market, so recruiters must clarify the benefits the organization offers, be compelling and use conversational language.

Be Genuine

Stock photos are great for some situations, but they are terrible for your recruiting efforts. If you see enough ads using stock photography, you start to recognize the models in the photos—and nothing screams inauthenticity more than that.

It matters: 86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.

Your people are your greatest asset, so involve them in the process and encourage them to share your content. Then, put them front and center and let them tell potential applicants why your organization is the best place to work.

And because potential applicants want to see people like themselves representing your brand, be sure to be representative of your organization’s diversity so your recruitment materials are inclusive.

Don’t just say it; show your organization as a collection of unique and talented people rather than a monolith.

In short, be genuine.

Don’t Miss Out on Passive Applicants

Keep in mind that not everyone who is a potential applicant is looking for a job. For example, one study found that 49% of nurses are passive job seekers open to changing employers. When it comes to physicians, only 4% are actively job-hunting, but 56% are open to job opportunities.

Posting only to job boards won’t be enough to recruit good talent, and it won’t work with these passive job seekers. That means you have to find them where they go online using omnichannel marketing—a mix of traditional and digital strategies that uses consistent messaging, visuals and materials on platforms, including:

  • Your website
  • App
  • Social media
  • Email
  • SMS/text
  • Paid search
  • Display
  • Content marketing
  • SEO
  • Print
  • Public relations
  • Radio

According to Glassdoor, hiring passive candidates takes three to six months, on average—and can require as many as 8–15 touchpoints before they decide to switch jobs.

Forge Your Own Path

Many healthcare organizations use the same tactics to draw workers, such as bonuses and slightly higher pay. But how good a fit are the resulting new hires? Fierce Healthcare reports that 24% of new hires are often unsatisfactory for the organization’s needs. If one of those new hires leaves or gets let go, you have to start all over again.

So, look at what your competitors are doing. Rather than do the same, find out what they’re not doing, then pursue those strategies.

It will be your first step in attracting the right candidates for your workplace, ensuring they are a good fit and maintaining a stream of candidates down the road.

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