Recruiting Talent in a Post-Pandemic Healthcare Workforce Shortage

Marketing Manager

In 1991, Congress declared the first Tuesday in June to be National Healthcare Recruiter Recognition Day. Now, after 30 years, a pandemic, and a healthcare workforce shortage, healthcare recruiters are more important to hospitals and healthcare systems than ever before. 

In some states, the workforce shortage is so severe that there are fewer than 10 nurses per 1,000 members of the population, which is hardly enough to provide quality care in the event of another crisis. “COVID-19 meant that healthcare recruiters needed to move more quickly,” says John Maaske, Founder and CEO at Triage Staffing. “When hospitals had an opening, it needed to be filled as soon as possible.” Healthcare recruiters have had to adapt their strategies to keep talent flowing through their organizations during trying times.

Here are some strategies that you, as a healthcare recruiter, can adopt to attract talent at your healthcare organization.

Adapt Messaging to Attract Vocation-Minded Candidates

Working the front lines of the pandemic elevated healthcare workers in the public eye. While the work carried out in hospital and healthcare settings has always been important, COVID-19 introduced a public narrative of healthcare workers as heroes. 

“That really changes how you recruit for a position,” says Kari Michael, Recruitment Team Lead at HCA Healthcare. “Recruiters who are going to do well in this new environment are those who do a good job framing up messaging to candidates.” Adapt your employer brand to feature outstanding everyday heroes at your organization. Use this narrative to attract talent who sees healthcare work as more than a means to a paycheck. 

Focus on making personal connections, too. “Staying in constant contact with our talent pool meant that we were able to fill positions quickly, as well as remain flexible to the needs of the facilities,” Maaske says. Pick up the phone and call prospective candidates, especially those who embody the vocation of healing service.

Treat Your Candidates as Customers

Candidates have lots of choices for employment, especially in healthcare. To stand out, train your recruitment team to offer outstanding candidate service and experiences. Candidates today are looking for the full package: a career, not just a job. Advertise job mobility, then train your recruiters to bring it home by helping candidates discover where they would fit best within your organization. 

“Always be thinking about how you can help people connect with the careers of their choice,” Michael says. Have recruiters and hiring managers collaborate to refer candidates to departments or roles that are best suited for their skills and career aspirations, even if there aren’t currently open positions.

Work toward an interconnected talent acquisition and HR function. In high-volume recruiting, your recruiters may not have time to follow up with candidates who are hired, but they can refer them to someone in HR to help curate their career path. Collaboration between HR and talent acquisition sets your organization up for better workforce planning.

Part of treating candidates like consumers is providing a good candidate experience, and background screening partners like PreCheck can help you achieve that. By speeding up time to hire, your background screening partner helps you meet your hiring goals and get new hires to onboarding quicker.

Make Connections Among Community Members

Healthcare organizations play an important role in the community. Capitalize on that by being present at events and important places, like local high schools, community colleges and nonprofits. Michael and the recruiters at HCA Healthcare, for example, hosted a virtual interview event where prospects were invited to schedule time for an interview with a hiring manager. “Being able to have that first impression on video gets to the human element right away,” she says.

Work with local organizations to develop learning opportunities. Connect with the local high school, for example, to develop a senior training program to help students learn skills in healthcare before they graduate. Follow up with connections you make through these learning opportunities to build your talent pipeline.

This National Healthcare Recruiter Recognition Day, acknowledge the work you and your team have put into sourcing and hiring healthcare talent. Although overcoming the healthcare workforce shortage will continue to prove challenging, developing the right messaging, improving candidate experience, and fostering community connections will help you meet your recruiting goals. 

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