The healthcare talent shortage is real. Because not only will there be in an increase in healthcare demand due to our aging population in the near future, as we speak there are parts of the country that need physicians (and medical specialists, nurses and another specific healthcare talent) and there are simply not enough physicians to fill those roles – a true shortage in skilled medical talent some communities need.

It hasn’t always been like this either, which makes this moment in healthcare recruiting quite a whirlwind. Take this for context: In 2000, there were 7 million more workers in manufacturing than in health care, and at the beginning of the Great Recession, there were 2.4 million more workers in retail than health care. In 2017, healthcare employment surpassed both. As the healthcare talent demand keeps going in this direction, the competition to find ideal healthcare job candidates will also increase at an alarmingly high rate.

Meeting the demands of your patients is already consuming, so when you are dealing with a talent shortage as a health organization it becomes all the more important to have some plans in place to address the gap.

Here are 5 recruiting tactics to help you combat the healthcare talent shortage:

Streamline the Application Process

Maybe one of the problems you’ve been having finding new recruits is your application process itself. Examine the steps people must take to apply for a job at your organization and see if there are some ways you can simplify it. Shortening the application form is a good way to begin, according to Health leaders. There’s no need to demand a Social Security number and other details for the background check up front, for example. Even making a cover letter optional – not required – is an idea as well if that’s something you typically do; sure, you might get additional “lazy” applicants, but you may open the door wide for some good ones who for whatever reason didn’t feel like crafting a brand new cover letter during their job search.

Bring on Better Benefits

When the labor market is tight for healthcare positions, you’ll often need to add something more to entice candidates. Besides the salary itself, you will want to think of improving the benefits that you offer. Healthcare Business & Technology recommends a tactic of offering more benefits, such as flexible benefits and more opportunities for training as a way to attract more healthcare talent in a competitive market. The idea is the more development opportunities and flexibility you provide for your employees, the more attractive your organization will look to healthcare job seekers from the outside.

Harness Technology More Effectively

Recruitment marketing is the name of the game: there are lots of digital platforms (free and otherwise) that healthcare recruiters can leverage to boosting hiring efforts and get your job openings in front of more potential candidates. Keeping in mind that the end goal is to project an attractive and recognizable presence in the marketplace as a place to work in the healthcare space, to start, you can use social media channels to reach out to potential candidates and showcase positive updates about your company culture to make them want to know more. You also ought to actively engage with your company’s reviews on company review sites to tell your side of your employer brand story and to demonstrate how thoughtful and transparent you are as an employer.

Improve Your Organization’s Employer Brand

If you want to attract a robust, diverse group of applicants, it’s would be a good idea to shore up your organization’s employer brand. “Messaging and branding on the company website, social media” are good steps to start with if you haven’t yet, noted the Association for Talent Development (ATD). A more recognizable employer brand with an excellent reputation in the industry will make it easier to bring more hard-to-find healthcare recruits your way because it’ll set you apart from the dozens of other healthcare companies who are in need of the same skills that you are – everyone wants to work with a top employer, so show that you are one!

Try New Recruiting Tactics to Get Ahead of Competitors

If you want to be extra proactive in your healthcare recruiting, you’ll likely want to take steps to ensure that you’re able to recruit talent now and also in the future when your needs fluctuate. This is the case whether it’s a need for more specialists or when you are devising a plan such as to adjust the ratio of providers to patients in your facility. Keeping an open mind about recruiting tactics is going to be crucial if you want to create a healthy talent pipeline AND compete successfully against tons of other healthcare companies vying for the same talent. Some tactics include getting new employer branding and recruiting material produced (images and video), identifying employer brand advocates in your current workforce, answering your online reviews and creating dedicated social media channels for your recruitment efforts.

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Dr. Sarah Müller is the Managing Director of Kununu, Europe's largest employer rating platform and only professional provider specializing in exclusive employer reviews and workplace insight. She is convinced that digitization of the working world will change what employees expect from their employers and that companies have to adapt to this new world of work. Her work in both Europe and in the US is focused on raising the bar on transparency between employees and employers.

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