While many industries are scaling back on their recruiting due to closures from COVID-19, healthcare recruiters are struggling to fill essential positions in a marketplace that already had a worker shortage. During this crisis, recruiters face a steep challenge in finding enough healthcare practitioners and support personnel to fill a sharp escalation in job openings as our country’s hospitals and emergency rooms are taxed to the limit.
We don’t have a handbook for a global pandemic, nor were we prepared as an industry to face one. But the healthcare industry is looking to recruiters and staffing agencies now more than ever to help meet a rising demand for healthcare workers.
Talent funnels are essential for every industry but especially when you are trying to engage and build relationships in cities, locations, and areas for the future. When you take a targeted marketing approach to reaching healthcare talent with the right messaging, you get more qualified and better matched candidates moving into your recruiting pipeline rather than sifting through hundreds of applications. Targeted messaging helps people identify your company as a match to their needs and desires. For high-volume hiring, a talent pipeline is a necessity.
Building a Robust Talent Funnel for Healthcare Openings
Your talent funnel, or pipeline, allows you to not only recruit for the positions you have open now, but for those you may need to fill in the future. If you consider the current market, your goal is to find qualified candidates, and to do so quickly, without sacrificing candidate experience. While it might seem counterintuitive in the current marketplace, relationship building is at the heart of your talent funnel. What you do now to reach healthcare candidates doesn’t just matter today; it matters for the future.
A talent pipeline improves the candidate experience and the company-candidate relationship. When you are recruiting for future opportunities, you have to work that much harder to build trust with potential candidates. Talent pipelining also allows you to better personalize your messages, answer questions, build relationships, and most importantly, to automate your job postings. Your candidate database and social media platforms become more than sourcing tools; they become relationship-building platforms.
Segment your personas. If you’re working to fill different positions, such as LPNs, CNAs, and administrative staff in healthcare, you’ll need different marketing funnels to reach and engage them. Group your positions by qualification and develop your candidate personas from there. If one segment requires certification, and another experience without certification, this can help you target specific candidate audiences that are most likely to meet your qualifications.
Reach and engage. This might look different right now, especially when we’re hiring in healthcare. Consider what your hospital system or healthcare company is doing for your current employees in a time of crisis and promote those things with content marketing to potential candidates. For example, some healthcare companies employing frontline workers have raised salaries or wages as they would for hazard pay, which works for retention, but not necessarily for recruitment. Actively hiring in the middle of a national health crisis means that you drop any pretense of “best offer” and focus on reassurance and safety. Promote what your company is doing to keep its frontline healthcare workers safe, to keep your workforce from becoming overwhelmed, and to offer other forms of support.
Don’t overlook the underqualified. Your candidate outreach should have a pipeline for candidates that are close to the qualifications your company is looking for in order to begin engaging these candidates early. For example, you can use campus recruiting at medical and nursing schools for LPNs and CNAs that are just credits away from certification. Moving this segment into your hiring funnel now means a larger pool to draw from in weeks or months.
Training as a benefit. Depending on how your company is structured, consider offering top candidates vacant or available seats you might have in your training classes in order to build a relationship and to assess their capabilities. If your company is conducting training on safety precautions during a pandemic, reach out to your talent pool and invite them to attend.
Find the outliers. There are candidates who are working in healthcare in areas that have not been impacted, such as surgical nurses or LPNs working in clinics that perform cosmetic procedures. This is a healthcare area that is scaling back, but your qualified candidates are there.
Finally, as recruiters and hiring specialists, we have to be able to move swiftly, react even faster, and expand our reach to find a broader talent pool. In healthcare talent acquisition, we want to reach the right candidates to fill positions like nursing assistants, LPNs and home health CNAs. This doesn’t mean that we stop maintaining our hiring funnels in order to fast track qualified candidates. Our talent pools and hiring funnels are what’s going to keep us afloat during and after this crisis.