What does your recruiting process say about your company?

That is a compelling question that employers seeking top talent should ask themselves.

Why? Consider these recent, real-life examples. Then decide if you are paying enough attention to this critical issue, and whether your recruiting process is helping or hurting your company.

An experienced, respected practice manager applies on-line to a major ambulatory care provider which is touting itself as an employer of choice. The candidate, well aware of his value, never hears from the company. Not even the perfunctory automated response. The candidate researches opportunities with a competitor in the same geographic area, interviews and accepts a job. One way he then competes with the “employer of choice” is by partnering with his company’s human resources department to more effectively recruit top talent away from the ambulatory competitor that he contacted first.

An in-house recruiter responds to an excellent candidate’s on-line application. Invites her for a telephone interview and compliments the applicant via email. As requested, the candidate calls the internal recruiter and sends a follow-up email. The recruiter does not return the call. The applicant again follows up via email. The recruiter is never heard from again. The candidate, who is local, moves on to work for the competitor in another market. Months later, the company who advertises itself as patient and employee focused, must spend more than $15,000 in recruiting and relocation expenses to fill the critical position.

Executives submit their resumes, a recruiters call, they talk and then….nothing. Not a thank you. No regrets letter or email explaining why they are not interested. Nothing.
It is what candidates caustically call the “black hole of no action.” It is this lack of consideration and professionalism – difficult job market or not – that they warn other executive and director-level candidates about in the rapidly expanding social networking process.

A company’s recruitment brand communicates its unique image to both employees and candidates. It reflects what the company stands for, why candidates should come to work for it and why they should stay. A company’s recruitment process is the first way it tells prospective employees if it lives up to its promises.

After spending thousands on brand advertising, recruitment tools, and internal and external recruiters, the company produces the opposite effect it desires by acting as if the talent pool is endless. In healthcare, it is not. Yes, for certain positions, the pool of candidates far exceeds the number of jobs, especially at the senior level. But not in nursing, allied health, laboratories, diagnostic imaging or ambulatory care management. How the company treats its candidates and its employees is critical to its recruitment brand and its ability to attract and maintain the best people…in the short and long-term.

One market leading company has such a bad reputation with their candidates and employees that an independent web site was created that is so disparaging of the company and is so negative that it is slowly destroying the organization’s recruiting brand. The CEO and senior management seem oblivious to the assault.

In healthcare, as reimbursements decline, there will be fierce competition for talent. Healthcare organizations with the best employees will have the best and safest care and the lowest costs. Their competitors, with an inconsistent work force and a higher turnover, will have lower quality and higher costs because there IS an established correlation between the two.

Managing your recruiting brand must become an important pillar in your organization’s strategy to hire and retain the best work force. That is why this is so important. That is why healthcare organizations, which will be forced to operate in a new economy of reimbursement, must move this issue into the top-tier of their priorities.

To be an employer of choice, to attract the best and the brightest, your brand must be the best of the best. You must support your brand, you must install and maintain a best-in-breed recruitment process. To get from where you are today, to where you will need to be in the next five years will require an investment in updated web technology and the implementation of best-in-breed recruiting practices. This includes candidate sourcing, consistent communication and screening, and processes that will insure that you take timely action so the best candidates are not swept away by your competitors. If you’re looking to recruit in a competitive market, like truck driving, you may want to consider using quality recruitment software, like that at Tenstreet, to ensure you get the best drivers possible.

You start by finding out where you are today. The big surprise for most hospitals will be that you can solve this problem without breaking your bank.

The cost of human capital is the biggest piece of every organization’s budget.