The Future of Healthcare Hiring 2023

5 opportunities for healthcare professionals to recruit and hire better in 2023 and beyond


In November of 2022, Hireology surveyed 360 recruiters, hiring managers, and HR leaders specifically in the healthcare industry. We asked questions about the entire hiring process, from the best sources of applicants and eventual hires to the top challenges facing the industry, along with what their goals are for the year ahead.

One key finding from these results? Over 94% of respondents said they raised compensation ranges over the past year to remain competitive — but even that did not help ease the hiring burden. For those looking to hire in the healthcare industry, this tells us that while pay is still a deciding factor in accepting a new role, there are other ways to gain a competitive edge when recruiting. 

The results of this survey have highlighted 5 people-focused opportunities for hiring professionals in the healthcare industry to capitalize on in 2023 and beyond. Read on to learn how to stand out from the crowd and achieve your hiring and HR goals in the year ahead by being one of the first to make the right changes to your recruitment and hiring practices.

Meet (or exceed!) new job seeker expectations

Key finding: 50% of respondents say the greatest challenge in 2023 is low talent supply

For the last few years, it seems like there simply haven’t been enough workers to meet the demands of the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, these much needed workers aren’t going to appear out of thin air, meaning you will continue to face stiff competition for this limited commodity. As we mentioned earlier, over 94% of respondents indicated that they had raised compensation ranges in an attempt to attract talent during healthcare recruiting, but even that isn’t enough to make the hires needed. The modern applicant expects to be compensated more simply because of the state of the economy; you really need to sweeten the deal in order to convert them to your newest hire.

The good news: there are other ways your organization can stand out during healthcare recruiting that might mean more to applicants than just a higher pay range. We’ve identified three underutilized benefits you can offer in 2023 to stand apart from your competitors and put the right people in the right seats. For starters, consider offering a signing bonus to new hires. Our data showed that only 21% of respondents used this financial incentive as a means of attracting new talent, which would certainly appeal to some applicants. You could also offer paid higher learning opportunities to your healthcare staff, along with mapping out realistic career paths that they could follow in the industry. Since these two strategies are also not well used in the healthcare industry as reflected by the rates of our respondents at 22% and 23% respectively, they could make a drastic difference in not only the talent you recruit today, but the leaders you have tomorrow.

Finding the right fit can take time

Key finding: 80% of respondents have hired someone for a role other than one they were previously a candidate for

In the business world, sometimes just getting your foot in the door is the best thing you can do — and applicants know this too! Oftentimes, you’ll receive applications from candidates who may not have all of the required skills or education necessary for a certain position, but they would be perfect in another role due to their existing work history or personality. Finding the right fit in your healthcare organization for candidates can take time, which is why it is so important to maintain a database of former applicants. You can access this database when you have a new role open up and invite them to reapply, especially if you thought they would be a great addition to your team.

You could also use an ongoing database to reach out to former employees who sought green pastures elsewhere. As they say, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side — and former employees know this better than anyone else. In this latest study, respondents indicated that 91% have rehired a former employee after they left. If you simply keep records of the previous employees’ work history and performance and create a plan for reaching out to them periodically, you could recapture some of your best talent should they find themselves displeased with where they landed after leaving the company.

Think hyperlocal to fill open roles

Key finding: School partnerships drive the most hires for 19% of respondents with job fairs closely behind at 18%

Simply put: there’s no better place to find top talent than in your own community. By fostering relationships with institutions where the talent you’re searching for learns the skills of the healthcare industry, you remain top of mind for recent and future graduates when seeking employment. Don’t let the internet scare you from posting your open roles online, but realize that there are still opportunities to effectively recruit in your community first that can help fill your vacant roles. In fact, when it comes to the amount of quality hires made, job fairs brought in 19% while school partnerships earned 17%. 

These results should come as no surprise to seasoned healthcare hiring professionals, however. The data indicated that nearly 44% of respondents already go to job fairs, while 40% have school partnerships in place. If your organization hasn’t added one of these tactics to your healthcare recruiting strategy yet, 2023 is the perfect time to level the playing field with your local competitors by doing so. 

Employee referrals drive more ROI than any other applicant source

Key finding: The highest amount of quality hires (25%) came from employee referrals

In addition, our data found that employee referrals were the second most commonly used healthcare recruiting method for our respondents. Of those that use this recruitment strategy, 41% make 21-40% of their new hires through referrals from their current employees. That’s nearly half of their new staff, all vetted by existing workers!

Employee referral programs have come a long way — have you updated how you communicate the existing benefits to your team recently? If not, you could be losing out on one of the best drivers for new hires simply because your staff doesn’t know about it. According to our results, 37% of healthcare organizations don’t communicate their existing employee referral programs at all! 

If you do have a communication strategy in place, does it reflect modern communication channels or is still stuck in the 2000’s? For instance, 39% of respondents indicated that they still use emails to advertise their employee referral program, while only 27% send text messages. Instead of making employees wade through overcrowded inboxes for an email they may or may not see, why not send them a text directly to their phone to up the odds that they’ll read it? This strategy is a win/win for everyone involved, especially if you provide bonuses or other incentives to encourage participation.

Supply vs. demand in healthcare hiring

Key finding: While 88% of healthcare organizations have tried to speed up their hiring processes, 35% still take 15 - 21 days from application to offer

With half of the survey respondents indicating that low talent supply is the crux of their hiring issues, it makes sense that healthcare organizations need to move quickly with interested (and qualified) applicants. The race is on, especially when you consider that your business is not the only one that these candidates submitted applications to. While a little over a third of respondents (36%) had whittled down their interview process to just two interviews, that timeframe can still be long enough for your competitor to act faster. Perhaps these spans of time could help account for the high rates of ghosting in the community. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, ghosting refers to when an applicant simply ceases to communicate with your company, no matter where they are in the process. According to participants, 91% had been ghosted for an interview while 83% had a candidate ghost an offer.

While completely eliminating interviews wouldn’t be prudent for your hiring process, there is one area in general where organizations can pick up the pace: in turnaround times. Participants in our study showed that 38% took 3-4 days for initial responses. Those days, however, are opportunities for other companies to reply faster and get their foot in the door with the candidate — all before you’ve even opened their application! The best way to do this is to set company-wide expectations and to regularly ensure that hiring managers are meeting these communication guidelines. With the supply of healthcare professionals greatly below the current demand, speed is the name of the game.

Looking ahead

There are only a handful of constants in life — and one of the most important is that people will always need healthcare professionals. Overall, most employment levels have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, but most of you in the healthcare industry have still struggled sourcing the talent you need. You continue to face difficulties attracting the right people to fill your open roles in an ever shrinking talent pool and to retain them, which ultimately impacts your patients’ experiences and overall care. 

Making the right hires in 2023 requires that you stand out from the crowd of potential employers in both your job offerings and hiring processes. To do this, you need to seriously consider where the five opportunities we discussed in this report can be implemented at your organization. Keep in mind: leading healthcare organizations won’t simply stop with the suggestions we’ve covered here, so be prepared for bigger and better thinking surrounding recruiting as we head into the post-pandemic era with a new definition of work.