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Easy Ways to Improve Your Healthcare Recruiting Process

“Do more with less…” This little phrase has permeated itself throughout the business world for decades.  When I first heard this phrase our country was in the throes of the 2008 / 2009 financial crisis and things looked very bleak for our country.  Businesses were shuttering their doors or reducing headcounts across every single industry.  However, there was still a job to do for those fortunate enough to have remained employed, and we were all expected to dig deep and figure out a way to get more accomplished with fewer resources.  We are now nine months into a global pandemic and the parallels between then and now are very evident.  A glaring truth that remains evident over a decade later is businesses have to remain lean to survive and explore ways to “do more with less.”

With an ever-increasing list of “to-do’s,” it’s a daily challenge for business professionals to drown out the noise and operate effectively.   Take some solace in the fact that you’re not alone.  We’ve recently faced unprecedented challenges, so cut yourself some slack, take a deep breath, and let’s get down to business.  The key here is work smarter, not harder and utilize your existing resources in the most efficient way possible.

Outside of strategic time management, one of the easiest ways to put more time back in your day and get more done is to manage your daily, weekly, and monthly operations through the use of performance metrics.  By creating a standardized set of measurable milestones for you and your team, you take the guesswork out of what needs to be done and how to best evaluate team members.  Performance metrics allow you to better understand how efficiently your business is (or isn’t) running and whether you are adequately staffed to the appropriate levels to accomplish your goals.  

Recruitment Performance Metrics to Track

Applicant review percentage

  • What percentage of all applicants in your pipeline are being reviewed and how quickly are they being reviewed

Applicant to hire conversion rate

  • What is the average number of applicants needed to make one hire?

Time to hire

  • How long does it take you to move an applicant through your hiring process from the moment that they apply to the moment that you hire them?

Cost per hire

  • How much does it cost to hire a new employee?  
  • Formula: (External recruiting costs* + Internal recruiting costs*)/Total number of hires
  • External costs* are items such as agency fees, advertising costs (job boards), technology costs (recruiting software), job fairs, sign-on bonuses, or other recruitment event costs
  • Internal costs* are items such as recruiter salaries, interview costs (if someone other than the recruiter participates in the hiring process), referral bonuses, office space rental, or internet service to host virtual interviews  

Retention rates and turnover

  • How long are employees staying with your organization?
  • Regarding your current employees, why do they stay long-term?
  • For the employees that have left, why did they leave your organization?

Quality of hire

  • How much value has a new hire contributed to your organization’s success?
  • What does high quality job performance look like to you? (i.e. patient satisfaction, billable hours, etc.)
  • Do you have high employee engagement?

Labor costs

  • Are you tracking hours per patient / resident? 
  • What do your employment staffing labor mixes consist of?
  • Do you have a high number of overtime hours?

When you create benchmarks based upon historical data, you allow yourself the opportunity to evaluate current processes and determine if you can improve upon them.  Managing your efforts to these metrics will also let you know of any process bottlenecks and indicate where your valuable time should be spent.      

How to revamp your recruiting process

Process Standardization

There is no one single right way to run your hiring process.  In fact, I would venture to guess that you probably run this process differently for each and every position that you currently recruit for — as you should.  However, there are certain activities within that process that can and should be standardized.  

Pre-screen survey

If you aren’t already using this tool, you should develop and include one for all of your interested candidates to take.  The pre-screen survey is an easy way to weed out candidates that are not a good fit early in your hiring process.  The questions you include should focus on job-specific behaviors or aptitudes you’re looking for in quality candidates.

For example, over the past three years, I have spent much of my time working without hands-on supervision or I typically prefer to work alone on projects rather than working with others.  These statements are very revealing about candidates and provide indications about preferences and work styles.  The beauty of the pre-screen survey is that once you have created one for each position, you can essentially “set it and forget it”, only making changes when the need arises.  The pre-screen survey will save you lots of time and reduce headaches by narrowing the candidate pool to only those that are most qualified, without you having to lift a finger.

Once you’ve identified the candidates with the appropriate survey responses, you can focus your time on them and determine if they are a better fit for your organization.  Hireology has helped healthcare clients pre-screen nearly 575,000 applicants in 2020 and saved clients nearly 50,000 administrative hours in the process.  

Interview guides

Similar to pre-screen surveys, interview guides provide interviewers with time-saving templates to conduct their interviews.  Interview guides allow for a consistent and efficient process for candidate evaluations.  With interview guides in place, you can rest assured that candidates are being evaluated along the same measures because the guesswork for which questions should be asked in an interview has been eliminated.

Once a template has been created for a specific position, that same template can be used repeatedly so as to not reinvent the wheel each time a new position is opened up.  These guides will also help to keep interviewers on track and on message so that interviews aren’t running over on time.  The utilization of these tools is intended to save your interviewers time and provide consistency and efficiency to your hiring process.      

Job fit and hard skills assessments

How are you actually testing for quality during your hiring process today?  Given the sheer number of resources that it takes to make a hire and fill an open role, do you really want to leave the quality of a new hire up to chance?  Implementing quality measurement tools throughout your evaluation process allows you to paint a better picture of each candidate and whether or not they’ll be a good fit for your organization.

Job fit assessments provide you and your team with rich information on position fit that you might not otherwise get through interviews alone.  Hard skills assessments provide concrete feedback on whether candidates can actually perform tasks related to the position that they are applying for.  For example, if you are hiring a skilled clinical position that requires medication dissemination knowledge, providing an assessment that quizzes your candidate on dosages is extremely important.  Giving a patient the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a medication because the employee doesn’t know the difference between a gram (unit of weight) and a milliliter (unit of volume) could be disastrous!  These assessments mitigate the risk of making a poor hire and provide you with the peace of mind that you are conducting your due diligence on each candidate.

These offerings can be provided through the Hireology platform electronically so you don’t have to deal with any paper files.  These assessments are also structured to be mobile-friendly so that candidates can quickly access and complete each assessment from their smartphone.  After a candidate has completed the assessment(s), the results will be auto-populated in the candidate’s profile for your review.  Once you establish a good baseline, you can begin to track minimum score requirements on these assessments to determine the quality of skills that are required to perform each position.          

Reference Checks

Performing reference checks is another opportunity for an employer to get a sense of what kind of employee the interested candidate is.  Throughout the hiring process, the hiring manager wants to build a profile of the candidate to make a final determination of whether or not to extend an offer to a candidate.  Unfortunately, time is not on your side, and if you do not move quickly enough, you could lose a high quality candidate to your competition.

Conducting reference checks can be a very daunting and time consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be.  Reference checks can now be automated, taking the burden off you and your team.  The candidate will select a set number of references (per your choice) and the system will automatically send out a questionnaire to each reference to complete.  Those responses will be compiled and a report will be generated based upon those responses.  Each reference’s responses are fully anonymized in order to preserve the spirit of honest and truthful responses by each respondent.  The ending report will help to inform your decision on whether or not to move a candidate forward.

Hireology customers have seen an average turnaround time of 1.86 days to get their reference check reports back. The industry standard is anywhere from two to four weeks, depending on which channels are leveraged such as email, phone, or text. Now, compare this to your current reference check process, how does this stack up?

Once you have these systems in place, you can start to track and measure how each affects your hiring process and your metrics.  Do you find yourself having to hire more or less frequently because you are more easily identifying the right (or wrong) candidates sooner?  Are your retention numbers improving by implementing these qualification measures in your hiring process?  If not, what else can you tweak to improve your retention rates?  Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure so take some time to establish processes to track these metrics.    

Managing your Human Resources

In healthcare, human labor is the largest expense your business manages.  That’s why there are always topics on automation and reducing costs in order to stay competitive.  Fortunately for the healthcare industry, there aren’t a lot of processes that can be fully automated and human-to-human interaction cannot be replaced by a machine.  So, when tracking your business operations expenses, maintaining excellent records of labor costs is essential to determining appropriate staffing levels.

For example, if you happen to have consistently high incidence of overtime hours then it may make sense to open up a new role to alleviate the need for overtime.  The role doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-time position, but maintaining adequate records to make an informed business decision will make all the difference.

I would like to make one last suggestion that may sound a little crazy, but has merit if you’ll hear me out. Do you share this type of information with your team?  If not, why?  If labor costs are not visible to your team through metrics, how do you expect your team to take ownership in helping you manage costs?

When you share this information with your team, you build trust and empower them to help you manage costs.  Your people want to feel included in the decisions that affect the business, so being transparent about costs and the health of the business is a way to drive involvement and inclusion.  You can display company goals for all to see and reward the team when metrics are met. Additionally, don’t shy away from addressing uncomfortable topics such as time theft, and meet with the team to discuss ways to reduce it.

At the end of the day, a healthy and well-functioning business keeps employees satisfied and gainfully employed so you can continue to provide desperately needed services to our communities.

If you’re interested in seeing how Hireology work to make your hiring process as efficient as possible, you can schedule a demo here.

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