Recruiting Should Not Be a Group Activity

Healthcare recruiting has traditionally been “oh so pleasant”. Recruiters, in a general geographic area, tend to know each other personally—they chat about the kids and vacations, go to lunch and even like to recruit as a group. For the life of me, I cannot think of another professional sector who recruits with the same congeniality as healthcare.

Tambra Creel, a Nurse Recruiter for Johns Hopkins Bayview, a 700-bed academic medical center and part of the Johns Hopkins Health System in Baltimore, questions this policy. “My regional healthcare association insists on having job fairs each year. We are all there together and attendance has gotten low. Is there something other than a job fair we could do to attract candidates or should we be recruiting together at all?”

Since Tambra works, for a single member of a large health care provider, she not only has competition from facilities outside the network, she also has competition among members of her own system. Psychologically it can’t be easy recruiting against the routinely named Best-Hospital-In-America, Johns Hopkins Hospital. But, in reality Tambra knows there are a lot of professionals happy to be at Bayview as opposed to the flagship facility.

It is one thing to work with a candidate to make sure they have found the right fit for them professionally as long as it is within the System. After all, the members will be successful collectively, not to mention that it is the right thing to do for a candidate. But it is something all together to line up with your true competition and act like there isn’t a war for talent.

First, job fairs have not been working in group settings for several years. They work, with small numbers but great prospects, when a system goes it alone. Even recent RN graduates don’t show up to group events because they have been recruited and had their tuition paid by institutions since their sophomore year. Experienced RNs don’t have to present to a group setting, requiring more time, because they can narrow their choice and apply anywhere. And, that applies to other healthcare professional groups.

So my advice to Tambra is to let go of the group job fair and let go of the joint recruitment efforts with the competition. The next step is to look inwardly and make sure you have a marketing approach to recruiting as opposed to setting up a booth or placing an ad and waiting for qualified professionals to drop into your lap.

The three to five year’ experienced RNs and health sciences professionals are young aggressive and hooked to their Personal Communication Devices (PCD). Since they are applying on-line—with their e-mails—begin the recruitment where they live; on their PCDs. Then develop a “relationship marketing” program that keeps them interested.

Recent research shows that most healthcare delivery systems receive thousands of on-line applications which go un-reviewed. Not enough time; too many unqualified applications and simply overwhelming is what we hear from recruiters. So instead of devising a way to get those applications reviewed, we focus on doing what we have always done—things such as a job fair.

Savvy recruiters know the value of those un-reviewed applications and they are hiring stay-at-home moms or students to review and sort the on-line applications allowing the recruiter to only proceed with the qualified candidates. They also save and bank the e-mail addresses for future projects such as e-mail blasts or virtual recruiting. And, they certainly are not willing to share those names and addresses with all their recruiting buddies around town!

If you have a question related to healthcare recruiting you’d like me to answer on a future blog, send me an email at

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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