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For Healthcare Hiring Managers: 7 Tips for Recruiting Hard-to-Fill Positions

by Fanie Pieterse

With U.S. healthcare’s unemployment rate at just 2.4% in January 2019, and the number of healthcare job openings up by 79,000 in December 2018, it can feel more challenging than ever to hire the clinicians we need. Over half of healthcare executives have already taken steps to adopt talent acquisition solutions such as recruitment and staffing firms, managed service providers (MSP), recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and vendor management systems (VMS). But even with the help of workforce solutions partners, recruiting for difficult-to-hire positions can still be very painful.

What additional steps can hiring managers take to increase their chances of successfully finding quality clinicians for their hard-to-recruit healthcare positions? Here are some top tips from recruitment pros:

  • Resist the temptation to inflate job requirements. Hiring managers should resist the temptation to make everything in the job description a “requirement”. Distinguishing which experience and credentials are “preferred” versus “required” can help to expand the pool of qualified applicants, resulting in more potential candidates.
  • Give yourself as much lead time as possible. In a competitive environment, it’s helpful to get started on recruiting for a position as early as possible, especially if you are relying on a search or staffing firm, MSP or RPO partner to assist you. Even if you can’t officially “open the search” yet, giving your recruitment partners advance warning that a need is coming soon is very helpful because they can begin to build a pipeline of candidates for you in advance.
  • Be ready to review candidate profiles. As candidate profiles are received, it’s important to review them as quickly as possible and make decisions on who to interview. The hardest-to-recruit candidates often have multiple opportunities they are considering. Especially in temporary healthcare staffing, it’s common for experienced clinician candidates to disappear within 24-48 hours.
  • Keep the momentum going. If during the interview process a candidate is found to be a good fit for your position and culture, it’s important to keep the momentum going by making an offer soon after. Delaying an offer can dampen a clinician’s excitement about the position or your facility. Clinicians want to join organizations where they feel they can have a positive impact and that the organization would value their experience and be excited to have them join the team.
  • Pre-close the candidate. During an interview, if you feel the candidate may progress all the way through to the offer stage, subtly begin to “pre-close” the candidate by creating excitement about the benefits of working in your organization. Give candidates an opportunity to ask questions so that you can understand what is important to them and will drive their decision to join. Describe both the positives and challenges of your culture. For example, it’s okay to reveal your culture as being “fast paced” if that is the case. In the long term, new hires who have a realistic perspective of what to expect will be more engaged and satisfied with their situation.
  • Talk about the career path. Let candidates know that the position is “not just a job” and how it can be a stepping stone within a healthcare professional’s long term career path. Additionally, help candidates envision the potential impact the role may have within the team and organization.
  • Provide an exceptional on-boarding experience. Ensure new hires feel very welcomed into the organization and give them many opportunities to meet fellow team members. A compelling on-boarding and training experience is key to helping new team members hit the ground running and maintain a high level of engagement. If you are working with a recruitment partner such as a search or staffing firm, MSP or RPO provider, you may want to partner with them to implement a best-in-industry on-boarding process.

Working with recruitment and workforce solutions partners can help to identify more qualified candidates for your difficult-to-hire or specialty positions. However, it’s important to utilize the tips above to ensure that you don’t lose out on hiring the best candidates when they are identified. Thoughtful implementation of these pro tips can help to increase your conversion of great candidates into great new hires.

About AHSA

Founded in 2003, AHSA is a full-service, comprehensive MSP and VMS technology workforce solutions provider to healthcare organizations nationwide. As a vendor-neutral MSP, AHSA manages contingent work programs using its proprietary Trio VMS, developed specifically to provide an enterprise-wide solution for simplifying staffing processes within healthcare. As a pioneer in the industry, AHSA was the first to provide physician locum tenens and advanced practice technology workforce solutions in addition to nursing, allied health, medical office, IT and non-clinical MSP/VMS services.


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