The failings of the current transactional recruiting model used by the vast majority of internal and external recruiters are well documented. The most recent studies show that, on average, executives and managers recruited from outside an organization are pushed out, fail, or quit within 18 months. Given the high cost of mis-hires and turnover, this is a rate of success that corporations, particularly health systems, hospitals and other medical providers simply cannot afford.

If “people are our most important asset,” as so many healthcare annual reports proclaim, then why would a company, especially a healthcare organization, want to use a recruiting business model and process that has remained essentially unchanged for more than 50 years and produces such haphazard results?

Transformational recruiting will produce better results and value. For clients this translates into significantly lower talent acquisition and retention costs over the long term.

What is Transformational Recruiting?

It is an approach that is, first and foremost, based on the principles of a Total Onboarding Program (TOP) as outlined by industry thought leader George Bradt and his talented colleagues at
PrimeGenesis , Stamford, CT.

The following statements characterize important elements of the transformational recruiting model that I have developed over 16 years in the search industry with wonderful insights from the aforementioned Mr. Bradt.

  1. Onboarding begins before the start of the search process. This is when you define the job – the scope of responsibility, reporting relationships, and performance deliverables. You identify the appropriate academic and professional credentials and the competencies necessary to achieve success. Obtaining buy-in from the position stakeholders before the recruitment process begins is essential.
  2. Transparency is critical. Organizations must learn to be honest with themselves about themselves. Being honest on the front end is the least embarrassing and least expensive time to make relevant disclosures to candidates. Under the transactional model, failure to be transparent is one of the most common candidate complaints.
  3. Challenge the conventional wisdom. Transformational recruiters are not “yes” consultants. They have the experience and the courage to challenge their bosses or their clients.
  4. Document the issues. In transformational recruiting, the position description is more like a position prospectus, a detailed offering statement that covers all the essential transparency issues. Transparency and full disclosure are absolutely necessary in a best-in-class onboarding program. If the candidate has to wait until a site visit to find this level of detail, the search process is defective and the chances of success are greatly jeopardized. In transactional recruiting, the average position description from external firms is eight to 12 pages. Internal recruiters usually provide less, if anything at all.
  5. Accountability is required. Recruiters, whether internal or from an outside firm, must be held accountable for their performance – meeting deadlines, producing a panel of acceptable recommended candidates, etc. In transformational recruiting this is done with performance penalties and extended placement guarantees. Documentation (#4 above) is part of the accountability process.
  6. Sharing the risk is mandatory. Consultants frequently use the terms “partnership” or “a partnering approach” to emphasize value. However, there can be no partnership without shared risks – shared financial risks. Transformational recruiters use best-in-class detailed candidate screening programs like Topgrading.
  7. Value innovation is a core pillar. In transformational recruiting, expense management is essential. Transformational recruiters will manage costs to a project cap. However, transformational recruiting never shortchanges quality for convenience, the cost of a mis-hire can be too staggeringly expensive. If you are using a comprehensive screening/interviewing system like the highly regarded, but time consuming Topgrading methodology, then offering an extended placement guarantee is more about enhancing value for your client. Transactional recruiting is more about process and saving time than drilling down to a level of certainty. Providing clients a video summary of the final face-to-face interviews with the recruiter will ensure that they are selecting the best two or three candidates for site interviews.
  8. Detailed background checks are now part of the standard operating procedure. For the C-suite, senior level executives, vice presidents, etc., transformational recruiters are reviewing public records, including criminal, civil and municipal court documents in every jurisdiction where the candidate lived or worked. Investigators check CMS OIG records, and credit reviews are necessary to verify patterns of behavior. For former military officers, the DD 214 is an important part of this process. While fewer candidates are fabricating credentials, resume enhancement regarding accomplishments is still a significant issue. Transformational recruiters vet these accomplishments through follow up interviews with references or by using investigators to test the record in face-to-face interviews with former supervisors.
  9. Commit to regular communications with the clients and the candidates. While most recruiters stay close to their clients, another common candidate complaint regarding transactional recruiting is poor to beyond horrible communications from recruiters. Transformational recruiters respect candidates, even those who are clearly unqualified. Ongoing and consistent communication with candidates is a sign of respect. The search process never moves as fast as the candidates would like, but there is no excuse for poor communication, even if it is an email message.

There are many excellent recruiters in the search industry. The vast majority are transactional. Our new economy, healthcare reform and ongoing reductions in reimbursement will produce new economic realities and performance expectations. The time to overhaul our business and recruiting process model is long overdue.

My approach to transformational recruiting model has produced results that are 5 times better than the national average.

So what will be the argument for maintaining the status quo?