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Episode Overview

In December 2021, challenges in RN hires spurred Moody’s Investors Service to adopt a negative credit outlook for the healthcare sector. The main factors were nursing shortages and increased labor costs, which were projected to decrease operating cash flow by between 2% and 9% amid comparatively modest revenue gains.

Is your Talent Acquisition department performing at top capacity? It better be. A system’s workforce is fast becoming the linchpin to its financial success or failure. No longer should HR be marginalized as a “nice to have”, a non-essential component of an institution. Recruitment and retention of nurses will enable or disable growth.

In 2022, our team at Nurse Recruitment Experts helped Healthcare organizations across the US and Canada hire 251 nurses. We believe this sum, while relatively modest, acts as a useful data sample to know what works and what doesn’t. Using our own work as a case study and reference, we’ll highlight the best practices we saw across 49 Healthcare Organizations last year.

This podcast will focus on the 5 stages we’ve identified you need to improve to make more RN hires in 2023 and beyond:

  1. Sourcing – how and where you procure candidates.
  2. The response rate of applicants – what % of candidates you are able to get on the phone.
  3. Conversion rate to interview – how many of your candidates are scheduled with the hiring manager.
  4. Interview attendance – the % of candidates that attend.
  5. Offer and acceptance – the % of interviewees who start work.

Want to understand what’s working in today’s market and walk away with actionable fixes to your nurse recruitment? Listen to this podcast and we’ll share just that.

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Our 5 Stages To More RN Hires

In 2022, our team at Nurse Recruitment Experts helped healthcare organizations across the US and Canada make 251 permanent nurse hires. This sum, while relatively modest, acts as a useful data sample to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to recruiting nurses. For our latest webinar, we highlighted the best practices we saw across 49 healthcare organizations last year, using our own work as a case study and reference. As Becker’s Healthcare have reported, 21 hospitals and health systems across the US have had to cut jobs due to financial and operational challenges. In light of this, we hope these insights will help you optimize your nurse recruitment efforts in 2023 and beyond.

1. What do you have to offer?

Filling your candidate pipeline consistently over time is crucial, and it all starts with a compelling job offer. Any nurse looking at your offer will want to know two things: “how will this job benefit me?” and “how will working for this organization benefit me?”. So, you need to address both concerns directly. A useful exercise might be to consider three reasons why a nurse would consider leaving their current job to work for your organization. What is it that you bring to the table and how does this differentiate you from your competitors?

This could be anything from competitive pay, state-of-the-art facilities or flexible working hours. Additionally, you should be highlighting the very things that make your work culture unique. Our partners at Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care are experts at this. Their job ads convey a sense of organizational pride that resonates with candidates, and as such, they’re able to attract nurses who prioritize workplace culture. It’s also worthwhile taking the time to reach out to new hires and ask them specifically why they decided to apply for a job with your organization. This is valuable data – use it to help inform your recruitment efforts going forward.

2. Communicating your offer effectively

Once you’ve defined your job offer in precise terms, you then need to communicate it effectively to the right audience. This begins with making sure your job ads are ‘candidate-centric’. Many healthcare organizations make the mistake of focusing solely on the role itself in their job ads, rather than the positive impact this role can have on the candidate.

Bear in mind that many prospective job-hunters won’t have the luxury of time and it’s therefore pivotal that you catch their attention as quickly as possible. Articulate first why they should apply for this role, before describing the role itself. Depending on the demographic, you might consider where you’re putting your ads. While we find that social media ads are more effective at reaching a larger city audience, those in more remote locations often respond better to text message ads or being contacted through LinkedIn. Finally, it’s important to manage your organization’s reputation online. Make an effort to speak to your nurses and ask them to leave reviews on sites such as GlassDoor. Positive first-hand testimonials from nurses you’re currently employing can go a long way in shaping one’s evaluation of your organization.

3. Getting candidates to respond to you

We all know how deflating it can be to invest time and effort into constructing the best possible job ads, only to never hear back from your candidates. That’s why it’s important to screen not just for qualified candidates but those who are interested and available. What’s more, your recruitment team needs to be able to handle the quantity of candidates submitted to them.

Sufficient resources should be allocated so your recruiters can engage quickly and thoroughly with each candidate, make provisions for their particular needs, and lead them through the application process as smoothly as possible. This engagement shouldn’t be a one-off. Be in touch regularly with your candidates to keep them in the loop with any updates about their application. This can be done by text, email or phone call. From our experience, we recommend personally reaching out to your candidate four times, after which you can switch to an automated mode of communication, whether that be through your email software or ATS.

4. Collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers

Effective collaboration between hiring managers and recruiters is a key factor in determining talent acquisition in healthcare. When we spoke to Christy Andrews for our ‘Improving the Talent Acquisition-Hiring Manager Relationship’ webinar, we discussed the strategies healthcare organizations can put in place to help foster a positive and equal relationship between hiring managers and recruiters.

For example, Service Level Agreements can be adopted to ensure hiring managers don’t overlook the importance of nurse recruitment and prioritize their own role in the process equally within their workload. Similarly, recruiters can ensure they’re only bringing the most qualified and suitable candidates to their hiring managers by presenting the employer value proposition to candidates in the most attractive manner possible. By taking the time to share information with your candidate about the area in which they’re applying to work, or the job’s benefits for instance, recruiters will help cultivate a rapport with their candidate. In turn, the candidate will be more likely to respond and stay engaged throughout the recruitment process.

5. Securing an interview

It’s taken a lot of hard work to get your candidate through the application process, and now it’s time to get them in for their long-awaited interview. Due diligence in the pre-interview stage can go a long way to avoiding ‘no shows’. Reminders over email or text should be sent to keep the candidate engaged and to provide further information about the job and the organization. This will allow the candidate to better prepare for the interview.

They should also be given clear instructions pre-arrival on practicalities such as parking and the location of the interview itself. Finally, it’s beneficial to adopt a more accommodating mindset to ‘no shows’. While it’s easy to assume the candidate has simply lost interest, there could be a valid personal circumstance that prevented them from attending. As such, make sure to reach back out and enquire as to why they were unable to make the interview, and then decide if you want to offer a chance to reschedule.

The final piece of the puzzle

If you’ve come this far, the notion of an ideal candidate rejecting your job offer can be demoralizing. However, there are things you can learn from such an outcome that will better equip you for future recruitment. If, for instance, a candidate expresses a last-minute change of heart or tells you they’ve taken another job offer elsewhere, take the opportunity to ask questions and discern what factors contributed to their decision. With this information, you’ll be more proficient with future sourcing and able to better identify candidates who are genuinely interested in accepting the job offers you present to them.

Find out more about Nurse Recruitment Experts and the clients we helped to make 251 permanent nurse hires in 2022 by visiting our Nurse Recruitment Experts Testimonials page.

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