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Physician and Healthcare Job Board

How to Source Passive Candidates in Healthcare

How to Source More Healthcare Job Seekers
Le Moal Olivier/

The recruiting world has changed substantially over the last few years. With unemployment sitting at 3.6% as of April 2019, the lowest since December 1969, organizations must become more creative in the way they attract candidates. Not only should recruiters post appealing job advertisements, they must seek out the passive candidates who could be potential top talent but are not applying to your openings.

Active Candidates vs. Passive Candidates

What is the difference between an active candidate and a passive candidate? Active candidates are ones who have polished their resumes and are scouring job boards looking for their next perfect opportunity.  On the other hand, passive candidates are content in their current opportunity and are not actively seeking other employment. However, if the right opportunity came along, they would take the time to learn more and see if it would be a good fit.

If recruiters are not seeking out passive candidates, they are missing at least 70% of the global workforce. With Health Care roles being so difficult to fill, this is not a risk companies should be taking.

Sourcing Candidates with an Applicant Tracking System

It is important to have a system in place where you can organize, search, and message potential candidates. A popular choice is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This essentially houses all applicants to job opportunities you have posted. Some of the more robust systems include options for candidates to sign up for newsletters based on specific job openings or candidate pools. By utilizing candidate pools, you essentially have a pipeline of candidates that you are able to engage with, source from, and utilize to fill positions more quickly and efficiently.

In Health Care, a common way to sort candidates into pools is by job type. For example, candidates could be sorted into ‘Nursing’, ‘Health Care Administration’, ‘Technologists’, and ‘Billing and Coding.’ As these pools grow, they become an invaluable resource for sourcing candidates and filling positions with a lot less effort and higher efficiency.

Sourcing Candidates from Job Boards

Most major job boards provide a resume database that employers are able to search through to find candidates. provides complimentary resume database access with each job posting, but other services may charge for this access. Prices vary depending on the number of resume views, frequency of searches, etc. Employers are able to create searches that will alert whenever a candidate meeting their criteria loads their resume into the database. Most resume databases also offer an option to message candidates that fit the search requirements immediately to inform them of your opening. Engagement is key in sourcing, hiring, and retaining top talent.

I Have Candidates, Now What?

Once the legwork has been completed to source candidates, sort them, tag them, etc., it is time to engage with them. Almost all ATS and resume databases provide some type of messaging option within their systems. This allows employers to create email templates, automated updates, and even multi-email campaigns. If you are not ready to hire just yet, these messages can be imperative to keep candidates interested in your company.

These email templates and campaigns should pull the candidate in and make them want to learn more about the company and more specifically, the opportunity. Passive candidate emails must be personal and paint a picture of what the role consists of, how the company functions, etc. It is important to steer away from standard bulleted job descriptions and emotionless templates. Most passive candidates will not even bother opening an email that is missing these key pieces. Pay attention to open and response rates and tweak email templates to find the perfect blend of personable and informative.

Build the Brand

You sent the emails and candidates are actually opening them – great news! What will their next step be? Most candidates will do research on the company to see if the email is true to the brand. 80% of Millennials focus on people and culture fit before even considering career potential of an organization. If they visit a company view site, will they still want to apply for your opportunity? Make sure to stay ahead of the recruiting brand of the company by being where the candidates are looking. Search for the company’s name on Indeed, Glassdoor, Google, and Facebook. View what they will be viewing, and if it is not representative of your company culture, it’s time to make a change!

Social media is a great way to engage with candidates and build up trust and engagement. Do not limit yourself to one platform; different candidates prefer different social media. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are most popular for building relationships with candidates. On company review sites, create an employer account and respond to reviews, both good and bad. Provide feedback and resolution for negative reviews and thank those who provide positive ones. Even if there are bad reviews, candidates will appreciate someone is taking the time to address concerns.

The world of recruitment has changed substantially. Organizations must put their best face forward and show candidates why they want to leave the comfort of their current roles and take a chance with you. With some initial leg work, it will not be long before your candidate pools are overflowing with qualified talent!

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About Jennifer Alexander, SHRM-CP

Jennifer Alexander, SHRM-CP, is an HR Business Partner with almost ten years of Human Resources experience in several industries, including Health Care, Retail and Higher Education. She has a strong background in recruitment, onboarding, and compliance. When she is not working or studying for her MBA, she enjoys traveling and spending time in the Florida sunshine with her husband and three children.

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