It’s Time to Start Weeding

July 26

I have just started to develop a garden. I had no idea how gratifying the simple act of getting your hands dirty could possibly be until a few months ago. At this point of the season – after spending last weekend yanking at a jungle of weeds – I have learned how essential ongoing refining and weeding is for maintaining a successful garden. I must confess I initially skipped the chapter on weeding.

During my hours of solitude in the garden pulling at mounds of dirt, I had ample time to ponder the act of weeding in respect to maintaining a functional garden. Eventually my thoughts wandered to how weeding relates to my work world in respect to the recruitment function.

As recruitment professionals, we often focus on the big picture – the overall strategy, the big, flashy, high visibility, high impact things. In respect to gardening, it’s the garden plan, the color scheme, the big bountiful shrubs and flowers. As a fledgling gardener, I failed to consider the day-to-day roadblocks such as compromised soil, bugs that appear out of nowhere, and of course the recent tangle of weeds. In recruitment, there are a wide range of obstacles that we also work around and often ignore because we focus more on the big picture, the quick fix or perhaps the next big vacancy. I concluded last weekend that it might be helpful to identify the ever-present internal obstacles, or, in keeping with my analogy, the “weeds” that drag down the growth and success of the recruitment function, drain resources and hamper overall success.

The following are a few recruitment “weeds” that you may wish to address once and for all to ensure the effective development and long-term success of your recruitment function:

Ineffective Hiring Managers

You know who they are. The manager who does not respond to resumes you’ve sent or to your outreach following interviews, can’t make a hiring decision, always wants to see a few more applicants and wants the job advertised just one more time. These hiring managers think that their job is the only vacancy the recruiter is responsible for. They claim that their overtime and agency usage are high because the recruiter hasn’t filled their vacancy, yet they can’t understand how their behavior contributes to the delay. Face this dilemma head on by establishing upfront mutual service standards, including a back-up for the hiring manager and ongoing communication expectations. Have a frank discussion regarding the essential partnership that exists between recruiter and hiring manager. If behaviors do not change, address it at the time and communicate your concern up the chain of command.

Treating All Job Requisitions the Same

What is the difference between a summer internship position in the Marketing Department and a Director of Perioperative Services position? Everything. One is clinical, affects the bottom line, impacts directly on patient care, and has great influence and decision making responsibilities. The other position does not offer the same level of contribution – although it has the potential to make a contribution. We all know that every position in healthcare ultimately contributes to the patient’s well-being; however, it’s essential that recruiters know how to best allocate their time and juggle mission-critical positions as well as ancillary positions without alienating anyone. Not an easy task.

Collecting Meaningless Metrics

How many times have you tracked, measured and analyzed extensive recruitment data and created an elaborate dashboard just to have the information filed away in a drawer without examination or attempts at process improvement? Too often we collect data and don’t take action on it. To counterbalance this particular resource drain, establish a clear framework around all of your data collection to ensure it is purposeful and there are established expectations regarding meaningful usage.

Using Inefficient Sourcing Techniques

Have you ever been told by a hiring manager that they must have a print advertisement in the local paper or a specialty journal because the professional title you are in search of does not use the internet for job search? Of course you have! It is definitely time to put this one to rest. It’s likely your resources are limited and the desire to “see my ad” in print is no longer an acceptable rationale for incurring costs that don’t offer proven results, but it takes too much effort to fight this battle on your own. Use this data* to make your point:

 o Print adverting does not even rank in the top 10 sources for healthcare hires.

o Online sourcing (search engines, job boards, career websites, SEM, etc.) accounts for 86% of all external hires.

o 92% of all companies use social media for recruiting.

o The average cost per source of hire for local newspaper print ads is $550, compared to $17 for online social networks.

Perpetuating Processes that Are Not Customer Service Oriented

Without a doubt, today all healthcare organizations are focused on providing an exceptional customer service experience for their patients/clients. It’s time for recruitment to embrace a genuine customer service orientation for job applicants and new hires as well, in order to visibly demonstrate our commitment to providing outstanding service delivery and that it is embedded into the fabric of our organization. Too often, recruitment and the onboarding processes exist in perpetuity without any analysis or consideration of the end user experience. Examine your internal processes with a critical eye to ensure they meet customer service levels that reflect consideration of the end user experience rather than what is convenient or “the way it’s always been done.”

These are just a few time-consuming behaviors that erode the overall success of the recruitment function. Just like my weeds, if not addressed on an ongoing basis they will continue to thrive and distract from your overall accomplishments. Consider your recruitment “weeds” and be prepared to attack the problem head on. I know I have my Round Up weed killer as a backup if all else fails.


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