7 Common Recruiting Challenges and Suggested Solutions

Written by: Lisa A. Burke
Published on: Aug 17, 2020

female professional working from home

If the recruiters in your organization had to list their most pressing challenges, the answers may vary depending on the size of the facility but most would include several common challenges, especially due to the severe nurse and physician shortage across the country. Below we list seven of these challenges along with tips to overcome them to make your recruiting process more successful.

1. Attracting the most qualified candidates

A Glassdoor survey shows that 76% of recruiters indicate the finding the “right” candidate is the most challenging aspect of the recruiting process. The most effective way to attract best-fit candidates is to create a targeted job description that will filter the talent pool to the most qualified while also helping those who don't qualify to self-select out. It’s not always the quantity of resumes that reflect a successful recruiting campaign but the quality that determines success. It is better to hire from a smaller pipeline that is filled with targeted candidates than a broad pipeline of which 90 percent miss the mark.

Tip: Recruiting automation can be a big help here as the software can look for certain keywords in resumes and rank candidates in terms of fit across several parameters which could save recruiters the need to wade through hundreds of resumes.

2. Engaging qualified candidates

Top talent is in demand, especially within the healthcare sector, making it difficult for your own communication attempts to be noticed. For this reason, it’s important to put in extra effort to engage and build relationships with quality candidates to persuade them to join your organization over competitors.

Tip: Personalize the email you send to candidates. Invest time to learn a few facts about your candidate by viewing their online profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can then create a personalized email expressing interest in their background, whether professional or personal. For example, perhaps you and the candidate are both avid cyclists--talk about it in the email. Research will also enable you to determine whether the candidate will add value to your organization and what will motivate them to accept an offer.

3. Making timely hires

If you want to beat the competition in terms of onboarding top talent, move fast!  According to research by ERE, the best candidates remain in the job market only an average of 10 days before being snatched up. Hiring managers want to make quick hires because every day that a vacancy exists is a day the organization loses productivity and revenue. Yet, within the healthcare sector, the hiring timeline can be extended due to the type of roles needing to be filled, as well as the critical staffing shortage across all clinical specialties. For this reason, when a qualified candidate is identified, it’s very important that the hiring team reach consensus quickly before the candidate accepts another offer.

candidate onboarding

Tip: Review your hiring process and analyze whether there are steps that can be combined or eliminated. For example, if your facility has an applicant tracking system (ATS), did you create email templates to communicate with candidates? Can the recruiter and hiring manager meet with the candidate at the same time, or at the very least, the same day? Finally, can the application be streamlined with the candidate filling out only a few fields and attaching their resume? An ATS will also provide an opportunity for the hiring team to read one another’s comments about candidates.

4. Using metrics to track success

Per a Global Human Capital Trends study 71% of organizations view human capital analytics as an important tool in their hiring process. Most organizations utilize metrics to analyze recruitment processes and implement continuous improvements. Recruiting KPIs (hiring metrics) measure how effective your recruitment process is in terms of the cost and productivity and enables your hiring team to answer such questions as:

  • How quickly are we identifying best fit candidates and how long is our hiring process?  How quickly do we move from one step in the process to the next?
  • What is the average number of candidates we need to interview for a given role?
  • What is the cost per hire and how does this number change across different roles? For example, a simple job board post may be all that's needed to fill some administrative roles, while posting to professional journals may be necessary to.fill physician/teacher and research roles.

Tip: You can store data in your ATS which is also an excellent candidate management tool that allows recruiters to easily track the flow of candidates through each step of the hiring process. Some ATS platforms also provide analytics regarding the success rate of posts to different job boards. Artificial Intelligence software for recruitment can provide such metrics as pipeline conversion rates, cost per hire, and time-to-fill. Evaluating every step of the hiring process allows recruiters to gain valuable insight regarding areas where there is a need for improvement.

5. Creating a competitive employer brand

As per LinkedIn, the majority of candidates consider an employer brand before deciding whether to submit an application. A survey conducted by Corporate Responsibility Magazine indicates that 75% of candidates will not accept a job with an employer having a poor brand reputation even if they were currently unemployed. To create a strong brand you will need to portray a compelling story of your organization, highlighting mission, values and culture. Candidates are attracted to socially responsible employers so if your facility participates in community-based activities, be  sure to include that in your branding story.

Branding animationTip: Create a visually attractive career site and social media page dedicated to recruitment. Present photos of employees highlighting diversity and inclusion, share employee testimonials and have staff contribute updates regarding their work and interesting projects they may be working on, along with facility-wide updates, such as new medical technologies. 

6. Providing a great candidate experience

The manner in which your facility treats candidates during the hiring process is a reliable indicator of how they will be treated once they become an employee. Alternatively, positive candidate experience not only enhances your employer brand but also makes it much more likely that candidates will accept job offers. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 81% of candidates indicate that the primary way in which to improve the candidate experience is by offering consistent communication throughout the hiring process.

Tip: Communicate expectations to all candidates regarding the entire recruitment process and when they can expect to hear from you and the hiring managers. If you have an ATS, set reminders to send automated email regarding next steps and timeline.

7. Keeping the HR team productive

There will be times when recruiting staff presence is low due to vacations, illness or retirement yet the need to maintain a steady flow of candidates remains. This can cause significant burn-out for recruiters and may lead to even greater difficulties if there isn’t sufficient planning to address the lack of resources.

Tip: The best method for reducing burnout is to automate recruiting processes as much as possible by using resume search software, pre-packaged interviews and chatbots to answer candidate questions. This frees up recruiter time to focus on more critical tasks such as conducting second round, more intensive interviews and collaboration with hiring managers to ensure timely hires. Another strategy is to cross-train HR staff so that generalists are able to also perform recruiting functions in the event of a staff shortage. Finally, you can utilize the services of a temp agency or college placement office to get help with more routine administrative tasks.

This is not an exhaustive list of the myriad number of challenges healthcare recruiters are facing but provides some of the most common. The good news is each challenge can be overcome with relatively simple steps. Maintaining a consistent pipeline of candidates is critical to ensuring adequate clinical coverage throughout the facility. To accomplish this requires planning, evaluation of current processes, a continuous improvement mindset, along with perseverance and sustained effort.

Ready to launch your next recruitment campaign? Contact Philip Prigal to explore the best options.