Things have changed so completely in the way candidates consume knowledge, feel about their jobs and how we will be staffing healthcare delivery facilities in the next few years, that it is definitely time to rethink the size of the recruiting staff, the mix of that staff and their role allocation.
Baby Boomers, the largest work group for 30 years until Generation Y recently eclipsed them, have always accepted long response times from recruiters, traditional ways of communicating and they believe in joining an organization if not for a lifetime, at the very least, for a long time. The Ys expect everything instantaneously, including their interest in, and a response about, a position and they consider most professional opportunities as viable only as long as it serves their needs. These needs are usually a lofty combination of continuously being challenged professionally and providing an adequate work/life balance.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are scrambling to develop an interface with Smart Phones so anyone who wants a quick response about an application can get it through a text. Healthcare delivery systems know they can only control the recruitment process if they respond quickly to candidates, but are there adequate hours for recruiters to be all things to all people?
As the world continues to morph into our ever-speeding lives and revolve around our Smart Phones and the internet, it is no longer feasible to think we can continue without revaluating processes and the staff that support those processes.
When looking at how you might change things consider:
- How does the current process feel from the eyes of the candidate? Most current on-line systems have been set up to accommodate the needs of the recruiter and/or hiring managers. Routinely the application is too long, requires too much time and information and the system crashes regularly.
- What can I simplify within the process that will reduce time? The idea is to get the candidate into the system with just enough data for initial screening and contact. Ask them to opt-in to text messages and you'll increase interest, call-back responses and control. Develop an abbreviated application that is quick for the applicant and quick for the recruiter. Screen for the basics and develop an ensuing database that fills the pipeline. Then look at everything else involved with getting the candidate in the door. Do you have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the hiring manager? Can you always count on being able to book an appointment electronically and in real-time with the manager? What about the time it takes for physicals and drug screens? On-line and in real-time? Do you have a streamlined process for references and license verification? These administrative systems should be working in parallel with the interview process and not by a highly paid professional recruiter.
- In light of today's recruiting environment am I asking too much of recruiters who continue to work within a traditional process? Most "Best Practice" non-healthcare recruiting functions include a person who goes through the initial applications, responds personally and quickly (within the hour) and then sorts those candidates into workable groups for the recruiter. You cannot expect a recruiter to be recruiting, keep the hiring managers happy and cruising the in-box providing turnaround times of an hour or less, unless they have five heads and ten arms. And that doesn't include Job Fairs, committee meetings and all the other odd jobs tossed the way of the recruiter. Provide administrative support—it's so worth the money. If you are harnessing the internet appropriately, then you are producing candidates at a very low cost-per-application and that alone will justify paying for bodies to capitalize on the high-functioning, but much less expensive internet.
- What about social applications such as Facebook? Over 750 hospitals and healthcare providers in the United States have a social presence connected in some way to their recruitment and retention functions. We aren't there yet, and simply grappling with the social sites in terms of policies covering access to the sites at work is daunting. But the sites are growing and by the end of the year, facilities that have world class recruiting processes will have a strong social presence. Remember at the very least you need to post positive videos on YouTube. It doesn't cost anything, doesn't appear to be outdated as quickly as social sites and it helps control the message and brand among all the conversations.
- How can we keep candidates interested and wanting to be selected for the position for which they have applied? Because Generation Y does not believe accepting a position means they will work forever for an organization, accepting that position doesn't carry the same magnitude as it did for the Baby Boomers or even the Generation Xers. Which facility gets back to them and which one offers a position first is normally the one they accept. But if a candidate is communicated with and sold on the position, then much of that "whoever is first" can be eliminated. Communicate, communicate and sell, sell, sell. Make people feel special—even lucky to be chosen. Post a video about what the hiring process is and why they might want to work at your organization on the web site. One of the best examples is Google's video about working for Google and what to expect in the hiring process.
- What is the single most important element in recruiting today? Your web site. Thirteen billion Google searches were conducted last month for jobs alone. You need to come up in the first few listings on those searches and once you come up on the Google pages, you must link to a robust web site that provides almost unlimited information about the organization, the job specifically and what it is like to work at the facility. You need videos that reflect the mission and vision and ultimately the practice environment. Your web site needs to be fun, multi-functioning and easy to navigate.
As the internet, search and social applications drive more and better qualified candidates to the door, money spent on traditional candidate drivers can and should be moved to different places. We can no longer expect recruiters to do everything from pulling the resumes, to screening and hiring and then processing all of the paper work. It's not a smart use of resources. They need to be highly functional and appropriately compensated. They also need administrative support because it is simply more time consuming to identify the best candidates in a sea of online applications. Processes must be streamlined and framed to accommodate the needs of the new generations. We cannot continue to do it the way it has always been done, but rather we need to look at every step and figure out how we can eliminate it or at least streamline it.
Think of your process as being owned by the internet, because it is. Then think about how you are going to harness the power of the internet and what that means to the size of your staff, the mix of that staff and the roles needed to support the new functions. Welcome to 2010.