Earlier this month I had the opportunity to chat with two 2013 Talent Outcomes User Conference client presenters– Jodi Weiss, SPHR, Senior Recruiter at Children’s Mercy Hospital (Kansas City, Missouri) and Emily Miley, Employment Specialist at Bronson Healthcare (Kalamazoo, Michigan.) Jodi is presenting on how healthcare HR professionals can utilize social media in the recruitment process. and Emily is presenting on how Bronson Healthcare utilizes behavioral assessments to make better hiring decisions. We decided to get them together to facilitate a conversation about their unique “alternative recruitment strategies”. Here’s what they had to say:

The phrase “alternative recruitment strategies” is a hot topic these days. What does that mean to you, and how do you apply these new strategies at your organization?

Emily: We are doing recruiting a little bit differently because we found a need for a large pool of candidates and we just don’t have the resources to thoroughly phone screen and interview everyone. If we have 10 openings for a patient sitter, we need to interview 20 or 30 people. We looked at some different strategies to bring a large group of candidates into the organization. Now we do a pre-interview and informational session to ensure that we’re interviewing only the top candidates for the position. This also allows us to provide candidates with more information about our organization, the job duties and our expectations so that applicants have a better idea of what to expect when working in a hospital environment.

Jodi: We use social media for sourcing. In the past, recruiters would post a job and whoever applies– that’s who they would consider. We want our recruiters to take a different strategy and go out and source the top candidates. This way, they’re not spending their time going through unqualified candidates; they’re spending their time going through the top candidates. 

For high volume positions we utilize video interviews to help screen candidates. It’s more convenient than traditional interviews and saves time for the candidate, recruiter and hiring manager.

What are the top recruiting trends you’ve seen over the past year?

Jodi: We’ve gone back to some old school methods too, when the economy is better, it gets a little bit harder to recruit, but we’ve actually done some direct mailings, which we haven’t done in years.  That was actually pretty successful for us. We’re kind of looking back at some of the things that were successful for us in the past and trying them again.

Do you think these trends are applied differently in healthcare versus other industries?

Jodi: I think healthcare has always been different. We always have openings. I can’t think of any hospital that doesn’t have an open position, and I can’t say that about other industries. Even if we say that we’re going to hold off, there are some positions that are critical to the organization. In my opinion, healthcare has always been a unique industry to recruit for.

Emily: I agree. I think compared to other industries, I feel like our volume’s probably going be a lot higher because we do have that huge need for healthcare in the community, and that keeps growing. That definitely keeps us busy, and at the same time we’re recruiting with fewer resources.

What do you think is driving the need to utilize alternate recruitment strategies? 

Jodi: Well, the talent pool changes and the people change. Companies have to adapt to what’s out there, so we can’t take paper applications any more. Candidates would think we were out of touch if we were still taking paper applications. You have to adapt to your needs and also to your candidates’ needs. You have to go where the candidates are instead of waiting for them to come to you. 

Emily: I think our challenge has been trying to find the best candidate. We get such a large volume of applications coming through our system, and we’re always trying to get through those. Finding the top candidates for a position can be a huge challenge.

What “alternative recruitment strategy” has been most successful overall? 

Jodi: LinkedIn has been successful for us. I have a position open and we found our top candidates on LinkedIn. We just made an offer to the candidate on Friday. Why post it and sort through 50 candidates that aren’t qualified? It’s easier to just find three top candidates on LinkedIn and go for it that way. I hear a lot of times that recruiters don’t have time to sort through unqualified candidates. We get to be in control of the situation instead of the situation controlling us.

Emily: With using some of the strategies we’ve implemented, we’ve been able to really decrease our terminations as well as our turnover in the past few years. So that’s been really successful for us, to be able to look at those numbers and see how they’ve changed.

We’ve been doing behavioral interviewing now for probably six to eight years, so that’s not something that’s super new, but being able to have customized questions is really helpful, especially when we’re looking at higher-level positions like our management positions or some of our more technical openings. For candidates who aren’t used to working in healthcare, we’ve found it to be quite helpful to run the Staff Assessment reports to see the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and to have the customized interview to address those.  


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About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.