Times have definitely changed in the last few years and what we now see in a Human Resource Department is no exception. Some of you can relate—think back. Years ago people worked in Personnel and basically many of the titles are the ones we use today. There was a VP, an Employment or Recruitment Manager and then the recruiters. Before the days of the excellent ATS systems we have today, even the process was different.
Candidates filled out the hard copy application, they were reviewed and interviews were set up. All of the hard to fill candidates were seen in HR first and then referred to the hiring manager for next steps. Often times HR would even set up the second interview for the candidate or, with a terrific candidate, the hiring manager would drop what they were doing and see the applicant immediately after the interview with HR. Decisions were made rather quickly and the onboarding process began following successful references and background checks.
In 2013 we certainly see a different scenario. First, the structure of HR has changed considerably and new positions now focus on workforce planning, sourcing, HR metrics and social media. Personnel became Human Resources and now, in many organizations, Talent Acquisition. These employees are either additions to the team or the workload of the recruiter has shifted to include some of these additional tasks. Most companies have the benefit of using some type of an applicant tracking system whether it is a homegrown database or a high level purchased ATS. Some include manager input and usage while other organizations do not include the hiring managers in the ATS process. The total hiring process of most organizations is so variable that it is difficult to compare and contrast, especially in healthcare.
Candidates now fill out their application online and then they wait—and wait—and wait. A study by Career Builder last year produced a startling statistic that 60% of applicants in the healthcare space get ZERO response to their application. Seeing this figure was quite an eye-opener to me as that is certainly not something to be proud of. Dollars are spent to get those applicants to apply yet that next step of communication is often very minimal. There are so many tools to connect with people that one would think it would be easier to make that contact. With phones, smart phones, email, texting and social networks we have multiple touch points right at our fingertips yet the candidates often feel they have just submitted their application into a black hole.
The candidates that apply for hard to fill positions today are much more targeted that the applicants from the Personnel days. We can target those candidates by geography, skill level, qualifications and behaviors so once they hit “Submit” the chance that they might meet your needs for the position are actually quite high. Yet, we still tend to ignore many of them.
As the healthcare industry continues to be in a constant change mode, one thing we know for sure. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, healthcare will add more than 5.6 million employees to the sector by the year 2020 and will be the largest job gainer of any industry. Knowing the increased need we will have for these candidates we must take a closer look at our response rate as an industry. Making a contact with only 40% of the candidates is absolutely not going to give companies the outcomes they need or the ROI that a business requires. As we move forward with our growth, retirements and increased technology for patient care we must consider enhancing the hiring process by adding increased candidate connections. If you are one of the organizations that respond to only 40% of candidates, this is an opportunity to evaluate your HR structure , accountabilities and process to make sure you display a welcoming culture to applicants.