Recruiting Healthcare Professionals

In the current business climate, while many industries are curbing their recruiting efforts, others are still growing and expanding. The healthcare industry – including hospitals, medical and research facilities, pharmaceutical companies and the like – is one of these; it continues to experience a talent shortage. Our team has completed a great deal of work in this area, and I’ve spoken with a number of recruiters specializing in this industry. Following are some of the insights that I gained. It is very important to understand your target audience when recruiting. Healthcare is no different. One characteristic of note when seeking to fill your open positions is that, generally, healthcare professionals – be they nurses, researchers, etc. – tend to be passive in nature when it comes to seeking new opportunities. That is to say they are not transient in the professional life, as we have grown used to seeing in the technical world. They also tend to be less apt to surf the web when seeking a new position. Career moves are identified through word of mouth and through networking. This is not to say that job boards are ineffective in this industry, but that they should be used in conjunction with other strategies. Another observation for recruiting in the healthcare industry: passive candidates are not as readily identified, nor are they contacted as frequently by recruiters, as they are in other industries. Does this mean they are difficult to locate? Not at all. What it does mean is that because they are contacted less frequently, they are more open to talking with recruiters. It may be that they are merely seeking general career information. Regardless, savvy recruiters will leverage this into relationship building and permission marketing strategies. Finally, with little research, it soon becomes apparent that healthcare professionals readily use the Internet for networking, professional development, and industry information. Internet Recruiting 101: understand the internet usage patterns of the population you seek. To reach the individuals, go where they go. Use these resources through linking strategies, job posting, identifying contacts within associations, and a host of other ways. With these tendencies in mind, what then works for attracting these professionals? Here are a few strategies that have been tried and proven by our team and the recruiters I interviewed:

  1. Leverage networking and word of mouth in your recruiting efforts, as they are the major means healthcare professionals use for identifying open positions. Talk with your top performers. Ask them to refer former colleagues, friends, former classmates, and people who have impressed them. Make new hires aware of any employee referral programs, make them aware of open positions, educate them how new positions are communicated internally, and ask them for referrals. Contact officers of associations and ask them for referrals.
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  3. Develop an email marketing program that pushes your positions directly to your prospects. These mailings could include company updates and industry information as well. Ask permission to stay in touch with prospects. This email list should include target individuals whom you would like to hire, candidates who turned down an offer, candidates who you rejected due to lack of experience, and individuals who have left the organization. Our team did this as part of a project to hire biostatisticians for a major pharmaceutical company. We were able to identify and contact more than 8,000 prospects. Some were from the client’s own database and had been overlooked. Within a week of the initial email, the client had a healthy pipeline and less than one percent asked to be removed from the distribution list. One job board in particular, MedHires.com, focuses on this strategy.
  4. Don’t forget job boards. As with recruiting in any industry, job boards can be effective, as long as they are not an exclusive means for hiring. Some job boards have emerged as leaders, and have proven effective. These include Medzilla.com, hirehealth.com and BioView.com. There are also dozens of specialized boards for specific disciplines. Also, don’t forget to post to sites that provide industry information.

The bottom line: recruiting for professionals in the healthcare industry is no different than any other industry. The key to maximizing your efforts is gaining an understanding of your target audience. Armed with that knowledge, create a strategy that leverages this information and reaches both passive and active prospects.

Kimberly Bedore (kimberlybedore@earthlink.net) is a consultant and public speaker who develops and implements staffing solutions for clients, resulting in increased efficiencies and significant cost savings. She uses her wide range of recruiting experience to provide companies with a wealth of information related to sourcing and sourcing strategies, recruitment training, and the implementation of solutions and metrics that enable a higher degree of staffing effectiveness.

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