Tips for Overcoming the Challenges of Healthcare Recruitment

April 13, 2021

With a shortage dating back to the 1970s and a recent world wide epidemic, staffing in the healthcare industry has never been more critical. The entire dynamic of the healthcare industry has changed, taxing healthcare staff and administrators alike. 

The Association of American Medical Colleges' Center for Workforce Studies published a study showing a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and specialists in the next decade. Every facet of our industry is in high demand, and finding the right fit can feel impossible.

Healthcare recruitment efforts need to address the specific challenges of the field. Finding qualified healthcare professionals isn't like finding office-based employees – and the recruiting strategy must fit with the industry.

Challenges Facing Healthcare Recruiters

Lack of Talent

An aging population, and fewer people choosing to work in the healthcare industry, have led to shortages in the talent pool of healthcare professionals.  This staffing shortage was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is predicted that the current shortage of 42,000 primary care professionals will rise to around 120,000 by 2030. 

The talent pool for potential candidates, especially for specialized roles, represents one of the most significant hurdles for healthcare providers to overcome. However, there are some potential solutions to attract candidates' attention. Career growth opportunities, flexible schedules and a positive company culture are great ways to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Recent Graduates Get Snatched Up Fast

Recent graduates are great additions to a healthcare facility because they have the most up-to-date training, are energetic and bring enthusiasm about their new career. Not only are they great additions to the team, but it’s also cost efficient, making it a smart strategy on many levels. 

With the current competition for talent in the healthcare industry, it’s no longer quite as simple or easy to attract new graduates without the assistance of top-quality benefits packages and advanced hiring techniques. Additionally, many graduates completed their residency and fellowship at specific healthcare providers, making them more likely to return to a healthcare organization they are familiar with.

Nevertheless, there are solutions. One method is to forge relationships with local universities that can connect you to the right up-and-coming talent before they’ve even entered the workforce. Create internship programs within your healthcare organization, giving them a head start and you a trial before full-time employment.

High Turnover Rate

Healthcare workers typically face high expectations and may not have enough time, skills or social support at work. This highly challenging environment means that healthcare and related fields have some of the highest turnover rates in the country, sitting at 20% in 2019.

A high turnover rate doesn't just create a talent shortage, but it also worsens the existing skills gap issues prevalent in the industry. Healthcare organizations struggle to keep their best talent while also striving to hire new employees for the required healthcare roles.

Some potential solutions to help reduce high turnover rates include:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Prioritizing onboarding and training
  • Meaningful recognition
  • Career development opportunities 
  • Continuing education

All of these factors combined can lead your employees to feeling more valued not only as a part of the team, but also as an individual.

Frustrating Screening Processes

The screening process for healthcare workers is well known to be an elaborate and arduous one.  It’s crucial to screen candidates properly, but some of the required tests are lengthy and stressful. 

Now more than ever, it’s important to check your screening process to make sure it is both appropriate and as concise as possible, removing any unnecessary details that might cause great applicants to shy away. Late screening results can also cause frustrations. 

To solve this problem, candidates need visibility into the screening process so they can quickly and easily follow and complete the hiring process. Full-featured screening solutions can provide applicants the ability to check their status, take tests, view remaining activities and e-sign documents. By streamlining the healthcare recruitment process, your organization will attract the best applicants. Ultimately, this will provide your company with a staff full of remarkable workers who love their jobs and the organization they work for.

Tips for Improved Healthcare Recruiting Success

To get the best results and high-quality candidates, a healthcare organization should look at its recruitment strategies. The healthcare industry is such a competitive space, that healthcare executives must focus on innovative healthcare recruitment strategies.

Increase Your Candidate Pool

As a medical recruiter, it's vital to start the recruitment process early. Campus recruiting represents the perfect opportunity to identify and encourage students to consider your healthcare organization after graduating.

On-the-job training is an essential part of any medical certification, and it's an opportunity for the organization to put its best foot forward. Many medical students who have issues with an employer will often avoid their hospital networks entirely.

Post Your Job Ads on Niche Job Boards

The key to maintaining a candidate pool to meet your staffing needs is to have several different channels to guide potential candidates into your recruitment pool.

Traditional job boards are the usual place to start the hiring process. Multi-industry job portals have the advantage of providing employers with a wide range of applicants.

However, it's worthwhile to consider niche boards as well. These boards target specific healthcare jobs, like medical assistants, nurses and workers with CNA training. Not only does posting on these sites give new graduates plenty of career opportunities, but it also ensures you get candidates with the right skills that you want.

Maintain Several Candidate Pools

One of the most useful healthcare recruitment strategies is to maintain a separate pool for a specific role. For instance, have a pool for upper management, one for doctors, and one for nurses.

Having a separate pool for candidates won’t dilute your chances of finding the right professional for the position. Instead of spending time removing doctors for your nurse job opening, you can focus on finding new hires with the right skill level, certification, and other important metrics.

Focus on Employee Retention

Employee retention should also be a focus of your medical recruitment strategies. Supportive and growth-oriented work environments will be more attractive to new hires and existing employees.

Employee retention is vital to ensuring that your carefully cultivated talent stays with you and provides you with years of expertise. Healthcare workers have plenty of choices when it comes to their work, so it's critical your organization is appealing.

Offer Smart Benefits

The healthcare industry is incredibly demanding for healthcare professionals. Many candidates won't get far in their careers before the work takes its toll and burn out.

When hiring new talent, don't only resort to traditional benefits like higher pay and healthcare coverage. Studies show that higher pay eventually tapers off as a motivator, and you'll need alternative strategies to take your recruiting to the next level.

Some common benefits to coax in-demand talent to your organization include:

Relocation assistance: If you want to hire from as wide a pool as possible, consider offering relocation assistance. Many healthcare workers are willing to travel for their work, but they may be reluctant to work for a company that doesn't value them enough to pay for the relocation. Offering assistance lets you hire talent from around the world, massively expanding your choices.

Adequate leave: Providing time for vacations, medical leave, paternity and maternity leave is something that should be considered for all employees. Giving healthcare staff the time off to recover will improve productivity, morale and retention rate.

Continuing education: Medical roles are constantly evolving as new techniques, methods and treatments are discovered, tested and proven. Ongoing training allows healthcare workers to provide the highest quality care and can be a selling point for potential candidates.

Flexible work environments: Flexible work environments allow healthcare workers to live more balanced lives, increase the predictability of scheduling and encourage communication amongst the healthcare team. It can also help attract and retain the best talent because candidates know that you are addressing employee burnout and that you care about what is important to them.

Adequate staffing levels: It may sound counter-intuitive, but the best recruiting tool is hiring more candidates. Healthcare providers often work on the thinnest margins, which results in stressed workers, a high burnout rate and high turnover. Hiring more staff places less pressure on existing staff and will increase productivity and quality of healthcare.

Assess the Candidate's Soft Skills

When hiring, consider whether the candidate is a fit for your culture. Soft skills like communication and listening are vital to meet the high demand for quality healthcare. Healthcare staff who don’t have these traits may have good credentials, but they may impede the quality of your overall performance and quality of care.

Choose the Right Staffing Partner

Healthcare recruiting is fraught with challenges and pitfalls. While in-house recruitment seems like the smart choice, working with a staffing partner offers several significant benefits, such as new hire satisfaction.

According to recent Health Carousel survey results, around 95% of Health Carousel's career nurses met or exceeded healthcare administrators' expectations. Healthcare staffing partners often have a worldwide pool of candidates, which makes it easier to find the perfect fit for a position.

Quality healthcare depends on staffing decisions, so let Health Carousel assist you in making the right choice every time.

About Health Carousel

Health Carousel is committed to partnering with world-class healthcare facilities across the country, providing rewarding assignments for Registered Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, and attracting the best internal talent at all career levels.