How to Recruit for the Top Three Healthcare Positions

The healthcare industry is booming, with employers listing thousands of healthcare jobs on Simply Hired. But all healthcare recruiting is not the same, says Sherrie Whatton, President and CEO of LBMC Staffing Solutions.

“It’s important to realize the complexities that exists within healthcare entities for which you are recruiting. There are providers at the core of healthcare and multiple disciplines within that sector, managed care organizations, technology and service entities and more. The knowledge and experience necessary to be successful in each may be different and is ever evolving within the healthcare industry.”

Fine-tuning their approach to recruiting within the healthcare industry can go a long way to helping recruiters find success with specific positions they are recruiting for.

To help recruiters narrow down their search and truly find out if a candidate is a good fit for a position, we’re taking a deeper look at recruiting the top three positions listed on Simply Hired: Registered Nurses, Occupational Therapists and Pharmacy Technicians, as well as positions in finance, marketing and IT.

Recruiting Registered Nurses, Occupational Therapists and Pharmacy Technicians

To get some insight into recruiting Registered Nurses, Occupational Therapists and Pharmacy Technicians, we connected with Melanie Simon, the Director of Recruiting at USr Healthcare in Brentwood, TN.

Here are the top three questions Simon always asks candidates for these positions:

Why are you looking for a new position?

In asking this question, Simon listens for what the candidate likes and dislikes about their current role. If they are relocating, she asks what is bringing them to the area. The goal is to determine if the role you are interviewing them for will be a good fit for them based on why they are leaving. “For example,” says Simon. “If a Registered Nurse says that a 5:1 patient to nurse ratio is too much for her at her current facility and you know that the ratio of the unit you have is a 6:1, it may not be a good fit.”

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Simon always asks candidates about their future goals to find out if they planning on furthering their education or moving into a leadership role. “This question helps me to determine motivation for future successes,” says Simon.

Why did you become an “Job Title”?

Motivations can tell you a lot about positions in the healthcare field. That’s why Simon also asks why each candidate entered their field of choice. “When I ask someone why they became a Registered Nurse, Occupational Therapist, or Pharmacy Technician, I want to find out what motivates them. If I get a response like, ‘I knew that I could always get a job,’ I am left to wonder if they will be compassionate with the patients or will treat their patients like it’s just a job. This question gets to the heart of why the candidate wakes up and comes in to work in this field.“

Simon also recommends that recruiters be on the lookout for “red flags” for these three positions. Here are her top four behaviors to watch for:

1. When a candidate says that they will “work anywhere.”

Look for candidates who know what they want and who they want to work with. Highly skilled and confident workers won’t work just anywhere. Candidates who don’t have a lot of preference about the job they’re working will turn around and leave when the next best thing comes around.

2. How a candidate answers the phone.

Pay attention to how they answer the phone in your initial call. Were they pleasant or did they appear to be “put out” that you called. This can tell how they may answer the call when the unit is crazy and they are busy. Polite, good customer service is never out of style.  

3. How they treat the receptionist or any other perceived non-essential personnel.

The best candidates treat all people with the same respect, from the CEO to the janitor. How a candidate treats the staff they come in contact with is important because it will determine how they will treat the people they work with as well.

4. How they manage personal hygiene.

Keeping in mind that many clinicians will come to an interview straight from work and most likely be in scrubs, consider how they present themselves. If they don’t take care in their personal presentation, even after working, how will they take care of patients? An unkempt appearance should make you wonder if they will forget to help a patient brush their teeth when doing baths, or they’ll get too busy and forget to give them their medication the same way they got too busy to iron their shirt.  

In general, Simon also recommends that recruiters put relationships first when working with prospective Registered Nurses, occupational therapists and pharmacy technicians.

“Clinicians have many options and they really don’t enjoy the recruiting process. The more comfortable and familiar they are with their recruiter, the better chance you have to get them to take the offer from your client,” says Simon. “Candidates in the healthcare fields need a more hands-on approach. They want to feel as though they are a person who matters and not a warm body to fill a position. It is important for a recruiter to forge a more familiar relationship with the healthcare candidate.

Recruiting Financial, Marketing and IT Roles in Healthcare

When recruiting positions in healthcare for finance, marketing and IT roles, LBMC’s Whatton requires recruiters to have actual work experience in each of the disciplines for which they recruit.

“This has been instrumental in being able to focus on the unique needs of the candidate and the employers to make sure they are the ‘right fit,’” says Whatton.

Outside of the standard “Tell me about yourself,” question, Whatton asks candidates for finance, marketing and IT roles to explain their experience and employers to better understand the depth of their industry knowledge, which she considers key in today’s ever evolving healthcare environment.

“In healthcare recruiting, we feel it is important to see if the candidate understands how they contribute to the patient regardless of what role they play within the IT, Accounting/Finance, HR or Marketing departments of the Healthcare organization. The Patient and their family are the ultimate customer!””

The defining characteristics she looks for in candidates for these positions include interpersonal skills, intellect, problem solving ability and leadership potential.

“We consider these skills to be indicators of success,” says Whatton. “For example, specifically to IT, the communication skills are something we strongly evaluate. We find this can be a struggle with numerous developers. They have great ideas in their mind, but are not able to articulate that with others that can help them. The stronger the communication skills, the more likely they are to move into or be successful in a managerial role.”

Integrity and an ability to focus on the big picture of the organization are also important skills Whatton looks for in candidates for financial, marketing and IT positions.

Are you currently recruiting for any of these top healthcare roles? Let us know in the comments below if you have a question for our experts!