It’s well known that there’s a significant healthcare talent shortage across the United States. Sourcing is important but candidate engagement is the key to success. If your organization continues to lose top talent along the hiring process continuum, it’s probably time to rethink your engagement strategies. Engagement is about building a culture of communication, support, and transparency. With regard to the latter, the top candidate engagement strategy is timeliness of response to candidates through every step of hiring.
The six candidate engagement ideas noted below are proving to be very effective with regard to healthcare recruitment. They are innovative and offer a refreshing approach to the most important aspect of the hiring cycle.
1. Build a welcoming environment
There is a healthcare facility with 3 locations that asks all candidates where they would like to work if offered the job. Time and again candidates noted one location as their preference. In an effort to uncover the mystery of this location’s popularity, the recruitment team visited this site and what they found spoke volumes: Before candidates visit, the hiring manager encourages her staff to serve as brand ambassadors for the company, speaking not only about their own contribution but the culture of the organization and why they find it a great place to work. In short the hiring manager fosters a welcoming and transparent environment which makes the experience a win-win for both candidates and current staff.
2. Communicate in a timely manner
Establish a policy to provide candidate feedback within 24 hours of the interview. Encourage hiring managers to get on board with the strategy by making the case that timeliness of response is a critical competitive advantage in a tight market. Utilize an interview platform that allows all stakeholders in the hiring process an efficient means to communicate with one another. For example, most applicant tracking systems include a comments/notes section on every candidate profile where hiring managers may quickly leave post-interview feedback so that recruiters can then update the candidate.
3. Build an engaging career site
Develop and share videos that discuss how the organization lives its values; e.g. how it promotes diversity and professional development opportunities. Have employees create a video of their job and overall experience with the company so that candidates obtain an insider view of what it’s like to work there. Embed a chatbot on the career page so that candidates may ask questions before they actively apply.
The career site is the number one sourcing tool for organizations of all types — it’s the place where candidates go to check out your facility in terms of mission, values, as well as culture and decide if it’s a good fit for their career goals and work style. Ensure that your career page accurately reflects all aspects of your organization and is not solely a list of current openings.
4. Streamline the application
A cumbersome and time consuming application is the most common roadblock to turn off prospective candidates. The application should take no more than 5 minutes or less to complete. This means the application should gather only the most necessary information to conduct an initial evaluation of the candidate’s qualifications. There is a severe shortage in the healthcare labor market and very few candidates will tolerate a lengthy application process. It’s vital that your organization start to build engagement right at the outset of the process to differentiate your brand and keep things moving.
5. Develop a talent pool
You have identified candidates that seem a good fit for your organization in terms of skills, knowledge, abilities, as well as culture fit. However, you may not currently have an opening in their career field.
The best way to remain connected with this talent pool is by asking them to opt-in to periodic communication regarding organizational news and changes. Below is a sample email you can send to this talent pool:
It was a pleasure meeting with you. Your skills and background are very well aligned with what we are looking for in emergency room nursing candidates. Although we don’t currently have a role that matches your background, I would like to add you to our select talent pool and send quarterly newsletters with organizational changes, and as well news of interest. Hopefully, this will keep us at the forefront of your mind so that when an opportunity does arise, you will have a much clearer picture of who we are so that you can make an informed career choice.
6. Think of engagement as a continuum
Recruiters are extending the mindset of excellence to the later stages of the hiring process in recognition of the fact that the period between job acceptance and the first day of employment is the most critical period for fostering candidate engagement and reducing failure to show.
Strategies to foster engagement during the onboarding phase include:
- Automated paperwork with e-signatures that simplify forms for new hires and reduce the time it takes to complete.
- Visual aids that help new employees understand the onboarding process.
- Welcome videos, not only presented by the recruitment team but also by their future colleagues.
- Phone calls from recruiters and hiring managers prior to start to answer questions and extend another welcome.
As the recruitment team builds a candidate engagement strategy, a combination of technology and the human touch should be employed in equal measure. Text, AI-enabled chatbots, mobile apps, and applicant tracking systems have become vital tools in building relationships with candidates but a phone call from a recruiter or hiring manager to check in prior to start adds a touch of warmth that no bot can match.
For assistance in building a candidate engagement program in your organization, reach out to our recruitment sales representative - Philip Prigal at email@example.com.