It’s a new year with new goals, and for a majority of healthcare recruiters, improving candidate quality is a top priority. With all of the recent regulatory changes in the healthcare environment, that link between candidate quality and quality of patient care has jumped from business-as-usual to central focus for hospitals and health practices. Progressive organizations are tracing quality care and patient satisfaction back to their logical origin: the quality of professionals hired to provide care.

If you’re a healthcare recruiter under pressure to elevate the standards of your healthcare talent as part of a quality of care initiative, the following strategies are for you:

1. Target Tech-Savvy Talent

The primary differentiator for today’s healthcare providers is their level of comfort with technology. They communicate primarily on mobile phones and tablets through text, email, and video, and many of them use tablets all day as part of their jobs to reference and enter patient data. To better connect with these candidates, use their preferred medium and provide 24/7 options for submitting credentials and responding to questions.

2. Screen for Success

To raise standards and attain a higher quality of candidate, look to improve your sourcing and screening. Healthcare organizations doing a good job in these areas have applied the following best practices:

- Electronic “Knock Out” Questions to Address Minimum Qualifications: Some candidates still apply even though they don’t meet the qualifications. A good online screening process that quickly identifies unqualified candidates is a valuable tool.

- Passive Candidate Sourcing: Many of the best candidates are already employed, but according to CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior Study, three in four full-time employed workers are open to or actively looking for a new job. Proactively pursue these individuals and keep an eye on your competitor’s best talent to gain access to these top performers.

Table- Video Interviewing/Screening: The reach, speed, convenience, and cost savings of screening via on-demand video interviews is unparalleled. Video enables the hiring team and the candidate to connect and allows hiring managers to better evaluate each candidate’s presence, speaking style, and interpersonal communication skills earlier in the process.

- Behavioral-Based Interviews: The best predictor of future performance is past performance, which is the root of behavioral-based interviewing. Training your interviewers to choose the right behavioral interview questions and to listen for the right triggers will help separate the candidates who should be fast-tracked from the rest.

3. Profile for Performance

With the intense competition for healthcare talent today, profiling and predictive analytics are gaining traction in hiring. The profiling process involves capturing, tracking, and analyzing all of the characteristics of a successful hire so that a predictive instrument can be developed. There are many software tools on the market for this, but if you just want to test the waters, start in these areas:

- Predictive Insight: Organizations that measure and track which employees get up to speed faster are able to better inform the selection process. Research indicates employees who connect with their company at the beginning of their employment stay with the company significantly longer.

- High-Performance Benchmarking: Profiling high performers enables an organization to understand and define the model of right-fit talent so that recruiters can be confident in their selections. Be sure to track things like where high performers have come from (what schools and what organizations); what characteristics and credentials they typically possess; how they answer behavior-based and cultural-fit questions; and what experience they have had in their careers.

4. Closing the Deal

According to our research at Montage, 68 percent of active job seekers agree that “When applying for a job at a healthcare company, I have higher expectations about how I will be treated during the hiring process.” Healthcare organizations must respond to this double standard. Your company can that by ensuring the interview experience engages candidates in the following critical ways:

Handshake- Utilize a technology platform that keeps your entire organization consistent and compliant and ensures that your hiring team delivers the right messaging across all levels.

- Communicate your unique culture to distinguish your organization from competitors.

- Sell your “career promise” by illustrating the positive work environment you offer.

- Keep the pace of the hiring process appropriately quick and responsive so that every candidate is moved through it efficiently and with respect.

Remember, your interview may be your most impactful competitive advantage in the hiring process. Be sure you have an interview process that delivers a tech-savvy, professional, and personal experience that makes every candidate feel valued by your organization.

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