Improving the Recruiting Process in Hospitals and Beyond

Taking the extra step to improve your recruiting process can lead to great things in terms of achieving your company’s goals?? not to mention reaping personal rewards for yourself as well. There is no place where this is more true than in a hospital setting, where bringing on a new member of the hospital staff can often mean saving a life. Hospitals are unique, in that the people working for them tend to think a little differently than the average business employee. Doctors, nurses, and other staff members are often there because they want to help other people improve their condition. On the flip side of the service providers, you have the patients, who are usually there because they are suffering from some ailment that can only be remedied through the use of real people with real medical know-how. What a great motivator for recruiting! You’re truly serving a higher purpose in this world. So taking the extra step in a hospital can mean so much more than simply improving the business’s operations. With that in mind, ask yourself a few questions: What if taking the extra step meant seeing more qualified candidates and seeing less of the “other kind”? What if it meant that you could decrease your time to hire by 15 days? What if it meant that your vacancy rates would drop to acceptable levels (which they are not at most hospitals)? You may not be able to tackle it all, and no matter what we do, there will be a shortage of skilled healthcare workers for the foreseeable future. But your extra efforts to improve the process can make these things a reality. You’re working in an industry that is notorious for being bureaucratic and disorganized. Please don’t take offense at that comment, but it’s a reality. So making changes may not be easy. But I do believe that making these changes are as simple as making a logical business case for the change. That does not mean anything too fancy, it simply means:

  • Pointing out the problem in a clear and concise format
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  • Showing how the problem is negatively impacting the business (please note that the word is “business,” and not the recruiting process)
  • Making a recommendation to improve the process
  • Showing how improving the process can benefit the company

It’s that easy. From there, the hard part is making it come together. Your goal is going to be to get some resources allocated to address the problem, and make life better for everyone. That sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I hope so, because you may be asked to take the lead on the project, which may be something that you will enjoy?? that is, of course, unless you’re asked to do it along with your other duties as well. (By the way, for those of you that are not in the healthcare industry, these same principles apply to you. In many ways, what the healthcare industry is going through today, many of you will be going through in 10 years, that’s assuming that you’re not a retired baby-boomer by that time.) A Brief Example Keeping all of this in mind, let’s take a look at brief example. Let’s say that you’re trying to recruit nurses, and your online applicants are required to post a resume and then go through an online screening process to validate their skills and certifications. After going through the screening process, the qualified candidate’s resumes are placed into a list that the recruiters review every morning. From there, the recruiters contact the candidates, forward the resumes to the hiring managers, and continue the recruiting process. In this example case, it all sounds logical, but the process itself is actually riddled with issues. There are two problems. The first is that the nurses often don’t know that they are supposed to go through a screening process and often don’t complete the application process due to the poor messaging and instructions on the career site. The second problem is that the recruiters go to the screening software application, and not the applicant tracking system, to look for nurses. Since the two software applications are not integrated, the recruiters do not see the candidates unless they have taken the survey. These two problems are negatively impacting the business in many ways, which includes overlooked or lost candidates, wasted recruitment advertising dollars, additional costs associated administrative work for recruiters that have to go back and find candidates that have not gone through the screening process, an increased time to hire which means less services delivered, less revenue generated and so on. You could make a pretty big list of ways that these problems are negatively impacting the business. Your recommendation for the first problem would be to improve the messaging and layout of the application process. Your recommendation for the second problem would be to integrate the two software applications, so that the recruiters are able to work from one system. Showing how the changes will benefit the company is merely an exercise in outlining how the negative impacts will be alleviated, and how much more productive the recruiting and hiring process will be. The final elements that you should look at are the actual dollar costs associated with the problems, and the dollar costs associated with following through on your recommendations. Obviously, the benefits associated with making the improvements have to outweigh the costs. If you’re doing a fair amount of recruiting, or plan to in the near future, streamlining the process usually makes sense and can be justified. If your recruiting is minimal, then it may not make sense. In the case of the latter, just knowing the problems associated with the process will improve your recruiting efforts. If your recommendation is received with enthusiasm, make sure that you clarify that you are willing to take the project on if your other responsibilities can be adjusted to allow for it. However, it may be more appropriate to have them assign someone else as the project lead. A great recommendation can have a tremendous impact on the organization if it’s carried through to fruition, regardless of who manages the project. You don’t have to deliver it all. As a recruiter, you are closer to the process than anyone, so there really are very few people that are as capable of doing this as you are. If your organization already has a recruiting process laid out, make sure that you’re familiar with it. As busy recruiters, it’s sometimes difficult to learn new systems. But there may be new processes and tools that will make your life easier already in place. Knowing the official system will also give you more credibility when pointing out issues. That should provide you with some perspective on improving the recruiting process within your organization. Just think about your average day, and I’m sure that you can come up with a number of areas that could make your hospital, or company, depending on where you are, run more efficiently. In many ways, it’s simply common sense. The hard part is taking the time to recognize the issues and, more importantly, actually doing something about them. Good luck! Hopefully, if I ever find myself in your hospital, your fully staffed facility will ensure my health and well-being. And it may be due to your innovative improvements to the recruiting process.

James Sale (james@jsih.com) is the founder of JSIH, a consulting company that designs and implements quality business solutions that optimize the use of people, processes and technology. He is an executive with over 15 years of business experience, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly, as well as other national and regional publications. He has also been interviewed on regional and national radio talk shows on the topic of using technology for recruiting. James is dedicated to helping people and companies achieve their goals through strategic planning, implementation, training, and the use of technology to streamline processes and improve tracking.

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