What’s the biggest bottleneck in the healthcare hiring process? According to John Petrov, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, senior vice president and chief human relations officer of CHI Saint Joseph Health, recruiters and hiring managers get held up in “cumbersome and inefficient systems, processes, and procedures.”

For many recruiters and hiring managers, navigating through their applicant tracking systems isn’t easy. Oftentimes, recruiters and hiring managers do not have a streamlined way to communicate about potential candidates within a system. Additionally, searching for high-quality applicants can become difficult without modern search functionality.

To smooth out the healthcare hiring process and deliver efficiently on their talent acquisition strategies, Petrov says HR leaders must “make and maintain an experience that is positive, seamless, and easy.” This starts with taking a hard look your organization’s technology and hiring strategies.

Here are five tactics recruiters and hiring managers can examine to streamline the healthcare hiring process.

#1 Reduce Extra Work

When the application process works better for applicants, it works better for internal teams, too. “One downside of not having a positive applicant experience is low applicant flow,” says Kena Adelekan, MSL, RACR, talent acquisition partner with Adventist Health System in Altamonte Springs, Fla.. Investing more time trying to surface qualified applicants reduces productivity. “You may also get incomplete applications, so you have to notify the applicant and maybe even walk them through the process, which takes even more time.”

#2 Coach Hiring Managers

“In a competitive labor market, we want to be quick and nimble in providing feedback, scheduling interviews, and making offers to candidates,” says Jason Crepeau, senior director, strategy – talent acquisition solutions, for HealthcareSource. “Yet so many times, hiring managers sit with resumes on their desks for days, and when the job goes unfilled, they wonder why.” Creating a sense of urgency for filling positions and educating them on candidates’ expectations helps keep hiring managers on track.

#3 Use Behavioral Assessments

Scientifically validated behavioral assessments measure factors such as cultural fit and service ethic. “They give you a heads up about the person you’re interviewing and can be used to generate questions for pre-screeners and for the hiring manager,” Adelekan says. These insights reduce the chances of hiring someone who’s not a good fit and can help to lower your cost of turnover, which averages to be 21 percent of the employee’s annual salary — and as much as twice that for higher-level team members, according to the Center for American Progress.

#4 Leverage Structured Interview Guides

Many hiring managers aren’t sure what questions to ask or even how to interview, as they don’t have the same experience as recruiters. Hiring managers may pose different queries to different candidates, leading to an inconsistent interview process. Additionally, untrained interviewers may not ask good follow-up questions and could inadvertently inquire about something inappropriate. “Structured interview guides ensure consistency and help to mitigate risk,” Petrov says. Providing interviewers with carefully designed and compliant questions along with suggested follow-ups can help to ensure the process is legal and yields data that’s easy to evaluate and compare.

#5 Activate Seamless Messaging

Keeping hiring managers on task is easier when you use messaging right within your talent management system. Working within the platform provides documentation of activity, so everyone knows what was sent when, and gives hiring managers 24/7 access to attachments and other resources. Plus, you never have to worry about a missed email.

Instituting any of these improvements will boost performance and productivity, and ensure you fulfill your talent acquisition strategy. “It’s a tight labor market, especially in healthcare,” Crepeau acknowledges. “The more applications you can get and the faster you are in responding, the more likely you are to get better hires.”

Learn more about the latest trends impacting the healthcare hiring process by downloading our free 2019 Healthcare Talent Management Predictions eBook.

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About Margot Carmichael Lester

Margot Carmichael Lester is a North Carolina-based business and brand journalist who has covered healthcare and staffing for more than 20 years. She also writes about moviemaking for the International Cinematographers Guild, specializing in action cinema, and co-authored the award-winning teen writing book, Be a Better Writer. She earned her BA in journalism from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a rabid Tar Heel basketball fan.