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4 Ways to Kick Start 2021 Healthcare Recruitment

4 ways to boost recruitment in 2021 Szczybylo

After a somewhat slow start, the recruitment rush for 2021 is beginning. Facilities are looking to rebuild headcount and maintain services, while others are looking to expand staffing levels. As you gear up for the busiest of recruitment seasons in healthcare, here are some ways to kick start processes so you’re ready for whatever comes your way.


Flexibility will be key

As the last year illustrated, hospital recruiters must be flexible and ready to shift gears at a moment’s notice. Already a highly adaptable team, HR knows it’s important to have a wealth of options available for every scenario. Difficulty finding permanent nursing staff means moving quickly to temp services. Hospital recruiters are ready to leverage travel physicians to staff up and meet demand. When the pressure hits, HR has to be ready with options. Making sure you’re ready to change course was critical in 2020; for 2021, the uncommon may become the norm.

Prepping to flex

Getting ahead of demand means assuring you have more options when the need arises. When the pressure is off, start looking for alternatives that might be useful in the future. Look to the areas where you’ve had to make a quick change; these are the areas to develop. If you’ve depended on one temp agency, for example, build relationships with others to make sure you have as many choices as possible. Trouble finding cafeteria staff? You may consider bringing in outside vendors. Whatever the problem area, look for more options when there’s a lull, so you have more options when the pressure is on.


Positive messaging

Do some of your job postings get overwhelming responses, while others get a drip, drip of resumes? Review your messaging to see where something is working, and where it’s not. Compare job postings that draw against the ones that don’t. Are there obvious or even subtle differences that convey a positive or negative vibe? Use the high-draw postings as your baseline to see if a few changes can make low-draw posts more impactful.

Message prep

Don’t stop at recruitment materials: everything online about your institution speaks to the climate job seekers are examining. Does your site boast about its outstanding employees, or spend more time talking fundraising? The former emphasizes a facility that values its staff; the latter suggests financial issues. Routinely examine sites that let employees brag or complain about their workplace. If your facility’s name comes up, address the concerns posted immediately and positively. The more attractive your online persona, the easier your recruitment efforts.


Expand your reach

Some job postings receive too many responses, while others get virtually none. If the problem isn’t with the messaging, it may be positioning. Where you post your ads is as important as the content of the posting itself. The internet has become a niche market for recruitment. Posting to hire cafeteria crew may be better placed alongside job postings for restaurant workers than your main site. Consider the job seekers and where they would look for a job in their field, then expand your reach accordingly across all categories of jobs.

Expansion planning

If you’re tied to a few sites or a single source to post and recruit a range of positions, you’re likely missing out on talent. If your only postings are on your own site, you’re missing even more. The wider your reach, the higher the return. The best way to find out where to place your posts is to search for similar jobs on the internet. Look for the sites that net the highest search results for the category, and plan to use them in the future. The wider the variety of positions you hire for, the more options you should have in where you post.


Candidate experience

A critical metric that’s too often overlooked (or under-prioritized) is measuring candidate drop-off. How many job seekers didn’t complete the online application? How many were lost because of a lag-time to set up interviews? How many were lost due to wait times to make an offer? These metrics demonstrate how positive or negative candidate experience is impacting your ability to hire. Understanding them and correcting problems or lags in the hiring process will boost your odds to snag top talent quickly and effectively. A slow time-to-hire isn’t the only metric (although it’s the most commonly measured) that is sabotaging your recruitment efforts; every touchpoint along the way is an opportunity for loss or gain.

Experiencing the experience

The best way to boost candidate experience is to be one yourself. Take the time to complete your online application. If it’s lengthy, 60% will abandon their application and move on to another job posting. If it’s repetitive (asking job seekers to retype information already on their resume, for example), they may give up as well. Examine how long the process takes, what types of information you’re requesting, and whether the experience is positive.

The next metric – time to schedule – is also critical. If you’re online screening platform allows only qualified candidates past the recruitment firewall, candidates should automatically be routed to an online scheduling app. If not, you may be limiting your choices. If you schedule manually, after a phone interview, for example, check for applications multiple times a day to make calls and schedule interviews. Finally, time-to-hire could be a reason for lost talent. Expect variances based on the nature of the position, certainly, but look for logjams in the process and work to minimize them as much as possible to assure the best potential new hires aren’t being lost along the way.


Some hospital recruitment teams see highs and lows in demand: others see a steady stream. Whether you’re using downtime to plan, or setting aside time to examine how to improve, being ready is key to successful recruitment in 2021 and beyond. If you’re a hospital recruiter looking to secure top-level talent, consider using our site to generate proactive applications and supplement your search with a database of qualified candidates.

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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.

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