While healthcare recruiting has never been easy, the practice has become particularly challenging over the past five years.
Two factors immediately spring to mind. First, provider shortages are driving costs – and demand – ever higher. At the same time, hospitals are continuing to push for the consolidation of physician groups, creating a bigger talent grab in local areas.
This makes recruiting feel like an endless rat race for hospital leaders and healthcare recruiters. Something has to give.
But what? And when?
Looking ahead a year from now, how will healthcare recruiting be different than it is today?
The shift from numbers to targets
Right now, hospital leaders are eying rivals across the street and strategizing how to create better opportunities to win over candidates. How can their hospital create the most competitive comp package? What unique opportunities can they offer?
These are important questions, but first and foremost is the question of where to even find candidates to engage.
Accessing talent is the hardest part of recruiting today. For most recruiters, the name of the game is numbers; the more candidates, the better. It’s the classic recruiting approach: in essence, throwing spaghetti at the wall. Do that enough, and eventually…well – you know.
But sourcing well-fitted talent is a stickier proposition than spaghetti. That’s why healthcare recruiting is shifting from numbers to targets.
A numbers approach is all about generating a big dragnet of candidates so that hospital leaders have many options. But numbers are deceiving. Most of the time, an overreliance on quantity goes hand in hand with a low yield of quality candidates. With this approach, leaders actually end up with fewer viable options, not more.
On the other hand, a targeted approach prioritizes precision. The focus is not on a high volume of low-quality candidates, but rather on a small number of high-quality candidates.
Recruiting processes, tools, and strategies are in flux
The exciting trend in healthcare recruiting takes this idea of targeting one step further.
Precision recruiting will soon enable an even sharper focus on the perfect candidate for each open job. This is all thanks to digital tools that make it easier to get in front of and engage the right candidates.
Marketing automation is helping recruiters instantly scale their searches, nurture engagement, and single out the best candidates. Automation means that you can click on a button and see 40 different sourcing sites unfold. It also means that a great deal of information can instantly be sent out to different candidates, delivering the right content at the right time. And when candidates reply, automatic processes and engaging content can help recruiters keep the momentum going.
Over the next year, we will continue to see an increase in the number of tools that recruiters are using. Automation will become more standard, helping recruiters cycle through the basic interview phase faster and more thoroughly than the analog processes of yore.
Smart tools will help stretch recruiters’ current resources and reach, arming them with more power to do their jobs well. And as recruiters continue to adopt these new tools to their processes, they will be freed to focus more on the art of recruiting.
The end of “post and pray”
Perhaps nothing will free recruiters more than relief from the circus of sourcing.
Physician recruiting has long been centered around the drudgery of sourcing, which typically happens in one of three ways:
- Posting job opportunities and praying that candidates will apply.
- Actively networking and finding candidates out in the market.
- Referrals, where you can find them.
“Posting and praying” is still a major part of the playbook. The only difference is that the medium has changed from newspapers to websites. Over time, sourcing has turned into a dependency on outdated databases that recruiters pay for the privilege of accessing.
Recruiters still spend much of their time emailing a huge crop of candidates to see if they can get a response. This often takes the form of networking with candidates through LinkedIn.
Fortunately, the future looks bright for recruiters who hate being bogged down by the minutia of sourcing (in other words, all recruiters.) Recruiting is shifting to 2.0, a more digital-forward process that leads with smart tools.
And yes, there is some AI in the one-year future for healthcare recruiting. A year from now, you can expect that many recruiters will be relying on tools that offer a baseline amount of scraping and collecting of data. This will make it easier to connect with physicians in a more effective way.
Some tools will take basic AI one step further. New AI technologies (like Winnow) can predict which candidates in the market will be the right fit, while also giving recruiters a way to connect with candidates in ways that we have never seen before.
Right now, some brand-name hospitals are trying to develop one-size-fits-all candidate networks to foster referrals. This is all well and good, but not terribly ambitious; in fact, those kinds of candidate networks will become table stakes within a year. More impactful will be how AI tools allow smarter referral connections that are tailored to each individual. This will allow referral-based business practices to explode.
In a year, I predict that we will see a large disparity between health systems that employ AI and systems that stay in the 1.0 status quo. The means of obtaining talent will so dramatically change that the haves and have-nots in the space will be clearly visible.
What does all of this portend? Nothing less than a complete overhaul of the healthcare system when it comes to talent acquisition.