The Changing Face of Healthcare Recruitment

Senior Director of Marketing

While the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the only cause of healthcare labor shortages nationwide, it certainly exacerbated the situation. Now, two years later, healthcare recruitment has transformed into an almost entirely new landscape.

This National Healthcare Recruiter Recognition Day, we review the top challenges healthcare recruiters must overcome in this new hiring environment.

Continuing Staffing Shortages

There is constant pressure to fill vacant positions in healthcare systems at all levels, from executives and physicians to nurses and support staff members.

Since February 2020, hospital employment declined by 93,000 workers, including a decrease of more than 800 between August 2021 and September 2021, according to an Altarum analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data through September.

Nursing shortages, in particular, are an ongoing problem since they directly affect patient care.

“The shortage of nurses has led to a decline in the number of nurses hired, and the number of nurses leaving the profession has increased,” says Dr. Faith Alex, Physician with National Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC). “In addition, the growing number of patients being treated in outpatient settings is putting additional pressure on the nursing workforce.”

Higher Candidate Expectations

Gone are the days of face-to-face interviews and days between candidate responses. Now, candidates want answers right away, and recruiters make sure to respond quickly to make the experience candidate-friendly.

“We are rethinking and rebuilding our recruiting methodology to be candidate-centric and easy,” says Sam Arora, Chief Executive Officer of healthcare services recruiting firm The Arora Group.“The demand now is that receiving a new job is as easy as ordering from the Amazon app on your phone, and we are retooling our processes to do that.”

The healthcare job market is now candidate-driven because demand is so high for all medical staff positions. The increased demand has required healthcare organizations, even institutions that once relied on reputation or location for hires, to get creative with their recruitment efforts.

“We have to spend more time counseling our clients on competitive compensation and help them think more broadly about whether or not they need specific industry experience for certain hires, and we have to push them to make decisions more quickly,” says Jessica Smart Toth, Senior Director at executive search firm N2Growth.

The Rise of Remote Work

With the advent of telehealth, physicians and nurses have realized that they don’t necessarily have to work the grueling hours hospital shifts require. Now that remote working is an option that physician groups and even academic institutions offer, the scope of jobs available is broader than ever.

“Anecdotally, these new remote jobs have been highly coveted by the younger generation of radiologists with an increased focus more on work-life balance and lifestyle with remote jobs receiving 10 to 15 times more interest than typical onsite positions,” says Dr. Brett Mollard, Radiologist and Partner at TRA Medical Imaging

Changing Territory

Like many industries, healthcare is evolving. Healthcare recruiters must continue to adapt to the continuing changes and keep the candidate experience top of mind as they do so.

“Recruiters and practices need to be flexible,” Mollard says. “We’ve already seen firsthand how quickly the healthcare job market can change, and change is inevitable.”