This blog was originally published on February 28, 2022, and updated on March 29, 2022.
Consider this your recruitment reality check.
Medical staff turnover can cost healthcare organizations thousands—even millions of dollars. In a 2021 survey, the average cost of turnover per bedside RN is $40,038 and ranges from $28,400 to $51,700 respectively — and today’s hospitals are losing between $3.6 million and $6.5 million per year as a result. Now is the time to create a plan to help retain the staff you have and recruit the right candidates quickly. Here are some healthcare recruitment strategies to help you find the right people for your practice:
#1 Sell the job as a career
#2 Consider pay, benefits and culture
#3 Get real about your requirements
#4 Meet your candidates where they are
#5 Get your staff involved
#6 Consider your brand and reputation
#7 Set time aside for recruiting or get help
#8 Interview for soft skills, too
#9 Consider a temporary staffing fix
#10 Modernize your work environment
As you already know, a career in healthcare isn’t limited to doctors and nurses. It’s also open to people who have great communication and customer service skills — and, most importantly, those who are willing to learn. The problem is, some healthcare jobs or careers aren’t always top-of-mind for job seekers. They may not have considered them as an option or know they exist.
How do you help generate awareness? You show people why they should be interested in a job they may not have known about or previously considered.
Here are a few ideas on how to do just that:
- Create experiences for students and potential candidates to see what the job is like with shadow days, internships and temporary job opportunities.
- Attend career fairs and networking events to talk up the jobs you have at your practice.
- Consider creating some content (videos, blogs, social posts, etc.) around a day in the life of (insert job title here). That way when you have a job opening, you can give candidates a better understanding of what the role entails outside of your listing.
- Stay in touch with recruiters and career counselors and coach them on what you’re looking for. You never know when you might need them in the future.
Found someone who’s genuinely interested? Be sure to sell them on the career. The job, depending on what it is, could be a stepping stone to what could be a rewarding long-term career in healthcare — an industry of people helping people live better lives. Let the candidate know it’s an opportunity to do meaningful work, where you’re learning something new every day and you’re part of something bigger than yourself.
“Why should I come to work for your practice and why should I stay?” That’s the question on candidates’ minds, and the answer is both rational and emotional. It’s about creating a culture and an environment that people want to be a part of, and it’s about offering them something that speaks to their worth as a valued member of your team.
So if you have a great company culture and are able to offer a competitive salary and benefits package, make it known on the job listing, on your careers page and during the interview process.
If you can’t offer candidates an impressive salary or benefits package, think about what you can offer, such as:
- Unique training opportunities
- Valuable work experience
- More vacation time
- Flexible or regular work hours
- Special perks, bonuses or discounts
- Remote work or a desirable office location
Have a great candidate who loves everything about your job offer except the pay? If you can’t offer them more money, ask them what else you can do to help them say yes. You may be surprised at what you hear.
Let’s talk about your job listing for a second. You probably have all of the details in there and you’ve described the perfect candidate. Now put yourself into a potential candidate’s shoes. Is there something in your listing that might make them think, “I’m not qualified for this job,” when they actually are? Obviously the requirements are different for each role at your practice, and some of those requirements are absolutely essential. But let’s think about a job listing for an ophthalmic technician, for example. Do they really need to know how to perform a refractometry (something they may not know anything about) on day one? Or could you hire someone who has great communication and customer service skills, and train them how to do it?
Give amazing potential candidates enough room to say yes, while making sure you communicate the qualifications and skills you truly need.
And remember: you want people to be excited about the prospect of working with you and your team. So make sure your job listing makes people feel like your practice is the place to be.
This point really ties into #1 on this list. Think about where your candidates are, and think about how you can be part of their career conversations:
- Are they going to the latest industry conference?
- Are they taking classes at the college a few miles from your practice?
- Are they enrolled in that new high school program for kids who are interested in a career in medicine?
- Are they working at your favorite neighborhood restaurant and looking for better career opportunities?
- Are they online right now and looking at what kind of jobs are available in their area?
Another place you’ll want to be is at websites like Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and industry-related job sites. Get your job listing out there so people can connect with you and apply when they’re ready.
Additionally, if you’re part of a larger organization with multiple locations, you may want to consider hosting a variety of career events where potential candidates can explore career opportunities, experience your work culture firsthand, and get to know your staff.
Whether they are looking for a job or not, if you’re making the effort to build relationships — and your brand — they’ll think of you when the time is right.
Your current staff knows your workflow, your process and how to work with the rest of your team. That makes them a valuable resource where it comes to recruitment. They can help you find and interview potential candidates, and work with you during the selection process to help you identify the best fit. A member of your current staff could also be a great candidate for a new job opening.
You could also offer your current staff a referral bonus to help get them invested in the process and help you find the best candidates.
Why should you consider your brand and reputation during the hiring process? Because it could affect whether candidates choose to apply or accept a job — or not. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you assess where you’re at and where you’d like to be:
- Do I have a professional website and social media presence that provides a good first impression?
- Are my career listings professional and error-free?
- When someone does a Google search on me or my practice, will they like what they see?
- What do my patient reviews and online interactions say about my practice?
In other words, you want to take an objective view of where you are, and identify areas of improvement. We often expect a job candidate to put their best foot forward — and sometimes we forget to do the same.
If the term “busy practice” applies to your business, and we suspect it does, the whole recruiting process might feel overwhelming. If you don’t have someone dedicated to helping you hire good people, you’ll need to set aside time to do it yourself or enlist others to help you. Here are a few tips:
- Set aside an hour every day to do recruiting-related activities.
- Ask someone on your team to help with specific recruiting-related tasks, such as screening resumes.
- Get your staff involved in the interview process.
- If your practice is having a hard time managing the process or finding viable candidates, ask a reputable recruiter or firm for help.
For many jobs in healthcare it’s important to have a certain level of technical or clinical expertise. However, soft skills are often just as important, especially when it comes to working on a team. According to Indeed, soft skills include:
- Effective communication
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Willingness to learn
So when you’re interviewing your candidate, consider questions that will help you get a feel for their approach, and how they would handle common work situations and frustrations. Even better, have individual candidates join your team for a casual group conversation or team outing, to see how everyone gets along.
Temporary help isn’t always ideal, but it can help you try someone out before hiring them, or at least fill a gap, and give your staff some breathing room. For example, hospitals have been hiring traveling nurses to help with the current nursing shortage. There are also medical staffing firms and temp agencies that can help practices fill and recruit for certain roles. Some practices have even hired recent pre-med students who are taking a gap year to help fill openings. The good news is there are solutions, you just need to look in the right places.
A modernized work experience can help you attract new employees and keep the ones you have. After all, who wants to work on an outdated system that contributes to bottlenecks, inefficiencies and burnout? Instead, opt for an all-in-one solution that can improve patient and staff communication and help you get back to doing what you do best.
Interested in how a modern EHR and practice management technology can help you attract, employ and retain your staff? Request a demo or check out some of the other resources below.
This blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Please consult with your legal counsel and other qualified advisors to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and standards.