How to survive healthcare's war for talent: Four paths to improvement

May 1, 2008

Attracting the right candidate and landing that talented employee for your organization are challenges. As the labor market continues to tighten, healthcare employers need to focus on long-term recruitment and retention strategies.

With fierce competition for candidates, it can be difficult to get even the wrong people for an open healthcare position. Attracting the right candidate and landing that talented employee for your organization are challenges. As the labor market continues to tighten, healthcare employers need to focus on long-term recruitment and retention strategies.

Clearly, staffing managers need to spend more time understanding what their pools of job seekers want. If they can align the messages in their job advertisements with the hot spots for potential candidates, they may be able to lure the best candidates in for interviews, and improve the overall quality of the selection pool and new hires.

To develop a more comprehensive selection system, healthcare organizations should test for attributes beyond technical skills, including:

Methods to evaluate personal attributes or observe important behaviors include knowledge, ability, integrity, or performance/work sample tests; personality or motivational fit inventories; and job simulations. Each method contributes to a well-rounded picture of a candidate's qualifications, motivations to perform the work, and cultural fit.

Staffing directors who reported extensive use of at least one scientifically developed testing method were more favorable toward every aspect of the selection strategy than those who sometimes or never used one. Embracing testing and assessment methodology is a clear opportunity for healthcare organizations to improve their abilities to spot the right candidate.

There are many reasons candidates may turn you down. One commonly overlooked reason is the impression your candidates form based on your interview process and interviewers. Nearly two-thirds of job seekers polled for the Selection Forecast reported that the interviewer influences their decision to accept a position. Candidates for healthcare positions also provided examples of off-putting and inappropriate interview questions, such as "How do you pay your bills?" and "Wwhat's your favorite color?"

These interviewing mistakes indicate that interviewing processes are not consistent. Correcting interviewers' faulty behavior can considerably enhance an organization's ability to land the candidates they want. A structured interview process not only eliminates actions that create a bad impression for candidates, but also increases the quality of the information you gather about a candidate.