The recruiting network
Social media sites, tools become increasingly popular on both sides of job search
Healthcare may have found an unlikely ally in the quest to streamline operations and increase efficiency as human resource departments and recruiters are discovering that social media’s sole purpose isn’t just to distract employees during the workday.
Primarily, recruiters rely on social media’s own big three—Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—to search for job candidates. And now more than ever, more healthcare providers are using those networks, according to a study, Social Recruiting in the
USA, by Boston-based recruitment firm Bullhorn. Despite the view shared by many that LinkedIn is the preferred network for professional development and that Facebook is for leisure, healthcare professionals are still quite fond of Facebook. Healthcare ranked No. 4 on the list of industries that most use the social network to share job openings with the public.
Facebook offers healthcare recruiters faster responses compared with other networks, especially in fields such as nursing, says Joe Zeff, director of strategic programs at Bullhorn. Last year, Bullhorn released its new social media recruiting software, Reach. Zeff says the product now counts more than 100,000 users, scattered across 90 countries, mostly in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and India.
“The overarching goal that led us to build this product was that recruiters need to go where their audience is,” Zeff says. “So, for a long time, it was focused on want ads in the newspapers, and then with the Internet explosion in the late ’90s, it was all about job boards.”
Another medium that healthcare HR departments are fond of is Twitter. Healthcare ranked No. 9 on Bullhorn’s list of industries that use the 140-character platform to post job vacancies.
Christina Thielst, vice president at Tower, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based consulting group, is a former chief operating officer for 160-bed Ventura County Medical Center, Ventura, Calif. She calls LinkedIn the best place to build a virtual network, but also acknowledges the popularity of Twitter searches. She uses TweetDeck, an application that allows users to easily filter through Tweets to find subject matter that interests them. The same principle that applies to a user looking for sports news about his favorite team goes for a job candidate looking for a career opportunity in a specific field of expertise.
“You’d be amazed on how many hospitals are searching for patient-experience
“Recruiters need to go where their audience is,” says Joe Zeff of the Bostonbased staff recruitment firm Bullhorn.
coordinators, managers, vice presidents,” Thielst says. “You name the title, and if it’s got ‘patient experience,’ it’s popping up on my TweetDeck, and the hospitals are hiring these people.”
There’s still plenty to be worked out, such as how to handle posting employee recommendations. Many hospitals have policies that require HR to review recommendations, but no written rules about online job searches. Questions about what applies to those online job queries might be one of the biggest factors why some hospital executives are staying away from social media postings: “People are still afraid,” Thielst says.
Thielst remembers when she first dipped her toe into social media in 2005, when she started her first healthcare-oriented blog. The only ones who seemed to want to join her in the blogosphere were physicians and information technology workers. “I couldn’t find one hospital administrator,” she says.
Now, more administrators are onboard and embracing social media with their own accounts. “It will be ubiquitous with the workflow of the healthcare organization; it’s going to be like e-mail and the telephone in healthcare,” she says.
It’s also a marketing tool, as more online content posted by providers— including job openings—boosts the organization’s online search engine rankings, Thielst notes. The increase in activity leads her to disagree with the notion that only entry-level jobs aimed at younger employees are the ones being promoted online.
“Absolutely not—chief medical officer, chief medical information officer— everything’s going out on Twitter,” Thielst says. “And part of it is because it’s more content-driven.”
Likewise, Bullhorn has seen a wide variety of healthcare positions posted online, Zeff says. They range from $9an-hour jobs to ones with annual salaries of more than $600,000.
Technology, such as social media, helps connect job seekers of all levels, especially those with the busiest schedules, says Mike Soisson, senior vice president of Pinstripe Healthcare, a consultancy. Automated online schedulers help Pinstripe connect passive job seekers, those who are working while looking for new employment, to recruiters. It’s a much better way to connect versus trading voice mails, Soisson says.
“When we think and see the need to hire talent a little differently as organizations get paid differently through patient satisfaction
and based on clinical outcomes, organizations need to look at hiring different types of people,” he says.
Pinstripe also implemented a client-tracking system for providers. The system allows recruiters to keep track of job seekers after they have completed the online application process so down the line, if a better job opportunity opens up, they can easily reconnect with the candidate.
Soisson counts SSM Health Care in St. Louis as one of its clients that uses this add-on, but he estimates that only about 10% of Pinstripe’s healthcare clients use it.
“Typically, dollars are—and rightfully so— spent on patient care, new MRIs and new technology to help support patient care,” he says. “Most human resource departments in acute-care hospitals don’t get enough resources from a technology standpoint to provide the systems that can help them.”
The push toward reducing costs and making healthcare more efficient could also drive more providers toward allocating these types of resources to HR, Soisson says. The system is designed to make searches faster, which could free up HR employees for other tasks, he says.
But any successful recruitment strategy, including those that include social media, needs to be tailored specifically to a client, and that includes the cost.
“The cost of these programs will depend on a range of internal and external variables such as geography, size, type of hires and the level of technology the organization already has at its disposal,” Soisson says. “One of the core benefits of identifying a recruitment partner is the inclusion of resources and technical expertise that would otherwise be incremental— and often prohibitive—costs for healthcare organizations.”
That means providers don’t need to spend large amounts of money to reap those benefits, says William Werhane, global managing director of Hay Group Insight, a Chicagobased consulting group. He notes that while networks such as LinkedIn do charge for premium content, the standard, basic membership offers plenty of useful features.
“I wonder how much effort and money people need in delivering and implementing their own system versus using systems that are out there to be able to attract and retain people,” Werhane says.
Bullhorn’s social media recruitment product also comes in different varieties, including a basic free version, and the company intends to always offer the free version, Zeff says. He says he’s already seen the release of many new recruiting applications as software developers flood the marketplace while they figure out what works and what sells.
Experts say social media isn’t just a fad, and will soon become the norm for finding healthcare jobs for all levels of experience. It’s not only for younger people, Werhane says. He brings up his 70-year-old mother, who doesn’t let her status as a senior citizen keep her from using technology: “She uses a Kindle, she e-mails, she Skypes.”
Zeff says there’s no reason to be intimidated by the shift. Social media should be used in concert with existing strategies; the tool is merely a complementary resource. For example, Twitter users don’t need a massive following; Zeff says it takes only 30 to 50 followers to gain traction.
“It’s not that hard of a mountain to climb and to start seeing results,” he says.