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Physician and Healthcare Job Board

Building a Talent Pool in a Tight Market

In the best of times, recruiting physicians or other hospital personnel is a challenge. With historic current and predicted shortages of professionals in all areas of direct patient care, meeting need requires a streamlined recruiting process, a great reputation in the market, and a bit of good luck. Recruitment professionals need to be at the top of their game today.

In support roles, current high unemployment rates would suggest a buyer’s market when it comes to hiring, but the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the switch. Many potential hires still fear the virus; others are reaping the rewards of enhanced unemployment benefits. The result – creativity is needed to meet staffing requirements.

Ready to switch tactics on a moment’s notice, recruiters need to be even more agile in today’s market. There are ways to work with (rather than against) market conditions that can fill intermediate need and potentially create a talent pool for the future. Here are some ways to build on current tactics and add a few you might not have considered.


Post for part-time/unemployment insurance friendly positions.

For workers who are receiving enhanced unemployment insurance benefits that net more than their previous wages, it’s a sound financial decision to stay home. But you can work with these cohorts to bring them into the fold part-time now, with the potential to go to full-time when the benefits expire.

Look to your local Department of Revenue to find how many hours (or how much salary) a worker can earn on a part-time basis before their unemployment benefits are diminished. Post positions that are part-time and highlight they will not affect unemployment benefits. Include they can go to full-time positions once the benefits run out. You may need to hire five full-timers in your maintenance department, but ten part-timers can work as well. When they’re ready for full-time, you’ll have more than enough to promote, as well as a few extra staffers who might be a good fit in other departments.


Up your referral game

You probably have an internal referral system you’re currently using to find talent for your institution. The time to shamelessly promote it and increase incentives is now. Send out reminders to staff members on a routine basis that the program is there, ready for them to reap the rewards which are currently even larger. Whatever you were offering in the past for a referral – increase it. Cost-to-hire increases in a tight market, and you’re spending more on recruitment advertising, locums and temporary workers to fill the gap, and lost productivity. A temporary incentive increase could help your outstanding workforce transform into an outstanding recruitment resource.


Increase outreach

If you don’t work with local and national organizations that help underserved populations find work, you should be. Veterans, the disabled, and local community groups are active in your area, working hard to place their constituency. Your local unemployment office has a referral program as well. These groups are willing and capable partners in seeking out talent, and even training. They often create programs to train potential hires on their premises before they start at yours. In addition to helping headcount, your facility could be building relationships within the community and making meaningful improvements to the lives of those temporarily in need.


Open the door for (more) students

You likely already have relationships with the major colleges and universities to hire physicians, nurses and other professional staff. Expand your reach beyond to smaller, more local centers, including community colleges. Some of their programs may be sufficient to help increase boots on the ground in many areas of your facility. They may have work/study programs that guarantee employees who show up and do their best for the paycheck and the grade.

Talk to department heads at local colleges as you would those at universities. Let them know your hiring needs and ask them to post and promote unskilled positions throughout the campus. Ask for an introduction to the heads of nursing, heath sciences, and even IT departments; then work with them to create an applicant stream direct to your facility. These schools are always looking to develop relationships with employers, and they may even tailor training and programs to fit your needs.


Source lost talent

Have you lost talent in the last year (or more) that you were sorry to see go? They may have taken what they thought was a better offer that turned out to be less than stellar. Research shows over 30% of new hires quit within the first six months. One of the biggest reasons they cite is that the job wasn’t what the were told it would be. If you could recapture that talent, you’d have employees able to hit the ground running. Any lost employees who were eligible for rehire should be contacted at least once to gauge their interest in returning to your facility. The worst that can happen – they’ll say no; the best — an easy rehire.


When times are difficult, it’s important to refine recruitment tactics, but these upgrades should continue even after the pressure is off. Working within the unemployment system can create a steady part- to full-time talent stream for many areas in your facility. Expanding referral efforts is a low-cost way to recruit. Growing your reach beyond the ivy league (where the competition is fierce) can boost recruitment efforts and support DE&I initiatives.

When it comes to top talent that was lost, recruitment professionals should have, at minimum, annual reminders to touch base with these former staffers to see if they’d be interested in reconnecting. A bit of creativity can help meet the challenges you face today and build your recruitment forces for the future.


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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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