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Texting Speeds Time to Hire in Healthcare

Hire Faster with Text Messaging
Wavebreak Media Ltd/123RF.com

With shortages projected of a hundred of thousand or more physicians and a million-plus nurses anticipated over the coming decade, the need to hire as effectively as possible has never been more significant for healthcare providers. With talent shortages, skills gaps, and rising competition, the pressure is on institutions to hire quickly and efficiently.

On average, it takes almost 3 months to hire a single nurse. Depending on specialty, that time can vary. This lengthy time to hire is estimated to cost healthcare providers between $53,000 and $138,000 in excess labor utilization. When facilities are able to leverage currently available and widely-used technology to speed time to hire, costs go down significantly, and the chances of acquiring talent before the competition does can increase dramatically.

Common tech reduces time to hire

When it comes to accessing job seekers quickly, scheduling them immediately and reducing overall time to hire, providers need only look in their own hand for help. The majority of Americans are texting: 97% of us text at least once daily and 80% use texting for business. With so many Americans turning to texting for their communication needs, hiring authorities must jump on the bandwagon to recruit faster and smarter.

That same study showed 83% of millennials will open and respond to a text message within 90 seconds, compared to 90 minute response time for an email. In fact, texts are opened and read 98% of the time, compared to only 20% of emails. One report puts 91% of Americans keeping their smartphone within arm’s length at all times. Marketers have capitalized on the value of text messaging – and so should HR.

Time to update

Consider the changes in recruitment in only the past few years. Gone are the days of sifting through mountains of resumes to assure a candidate is a match for an available position. Technology has replaced that drudgery with screening software that sends only the most qualified to the inbox. With the speed these screening apps provide, there’s a reasonable chance a recruiter could access a job seeker’s resume within minutes of its being sent.

Capitalizing on that momentum and contacting the candidate immediately will likely net a scheduled interview. Waiting could mean losing the candidate’s interest or availability. Almost all candidates list their mobile number on their resume, and the overwhelming majority receives text messages. If you know you can contact an applicant immediately and likely receive a response within minutes, why would you choose any other method to reach out?

The personal touch

While some believe a phone call is the best, most personal way to connect, consider applicants may be unable to speak to a potential employer while on the job or on the run in their busy lives. But texting is a private means of communication that job seekers can even use while at work. Contacting an applicant by phone or email is an outdated delay that not only shows your institution isn’t current when it comes to tech, it may indicate that snagging top talent isn’t urgent. Neither are good first impressions to make on a potential hire.

A majority of institutions are utilizing scheduling software to get candidates on the interview track as quickly as possible. With text messaging, healthcare providers easily send links to set up a time to meet. When it comes to follow-up or extending a job offer, the fastest way to communicate with the most reliable response rate is the smart choice for healthcare providers – and that means texting. Don’t want to offer a job by text? A quick “please call me asap – I have great news!” text will get an applicant’s attention and response.

What’s holding healthcare back?

While many physicians and administrators are provided work cell phones, recruiters are often forgotten. These professionals may understand the benefits of texting but may be hesitant to use their own phone to contact potential candidates. Failing to provide recruitment professionals this common tool is short-sighted. Compare the cost of a work cell phone to what could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in excess labor utilization. Healthcare recruiters without access to work cell phones are at a grave disadvantage.

One organization recently revealed switching over to text messaging reduced their time to hire from months to days. In addition, Community Health Network reported the switch helped them affect a higher quality of hire. Recruiters were also able to quickly assess candidates by their texts: for example, professional language, careful editing, use of emojis and length of message. That gave a better insight into the personality of the candidate, which could mean a better fit for the position, the team, and the institution.

Staying current with technology is a must for healthcare providers. As communication methods continue to evolve, making sure recruitment is as cutting-edge as the surgical suite can mean better hiring outcomes for institutions large and small.


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About Riia O'Donnell

Riia O’Donnell has over 20 year’s hands-on experience in all aspects of the Human Resource function. Beginning as a recruiter, she grew to lead in all areas of HR, including employee training and development, legal compliance, benefits administration, compensation evaluation, and staff management. She has been a contributing writer for a wealth of HR, training, and small business websites for the past 7 years. Connect with Riia on Twitter at @RiiaOD.