One of my most memorable hospital experiences is the birth of my daughter. Of course, this experience is significant because she is my first born — and my labor and delivery happened to last for nearly 12 hours, so it would be a pretty hard event to forget. It was hands-down the most difficult and most rewarding day of my life, and when I reflect on each person who contributed to my experience, there is a particular person who stands out– the labor and delivery nurse. Not only did she stay with me when her shift changed, she also coached me, she comforted me, she made me laugh (even though I was in excruciating pain), she tracked down the anesthesiologist when I couldn’t last a minute longer without an epidural, and she was there to celebrate the birth of my daughter. Now, some may say this the job of a nurse, but, to me, this nurse went above and beyond. She was incredible. And she was just one of the several nurses that made my experience exceptional. These nurses are the reason why I have referred this hospital to so many people.
Knowing how significant of an impact a nurse can make to the overall patient experience is why the recruitment of a nurse is so important to a hospital. So, how does a hospital find qualified nurse candidates? Well, they launch a recruitment campaign.
First, a hospital must determine the candidate they are looking for, the type of nurse, number of years of experience, geographic location, salary range, benefit packages, etc. These are the details that create the job description and define the candidate search. The next step is a given, spread the word. And as we all know, the days of a job posting on a cafeteria bulletin board or a simple ad in a newspaper are over. The recruitment process will likely involve the hiring of a recruiter, attendance of college job fairs, hosting of private events, and, of course, posting on job sites such as Indeed.com or Linkedin.com, or on industry specific sites like Nurse.com and Nursingjobs.com. Now for many hospitals, this is where the unwarranted pause occurs. Hospitals believe that, because the line has been cast, all that’s left to do is wait for candidates to apply. Sure, you can choose to wait – but the longer you wait, the more likely the ad is to appear stale. Candidates may wonder why a position could be left open for so long? Quickly the sizzle dies, and the interest from top-tier candidates drops.
Hospitals, just like any company need to take the extra steps to generate response and genuine interest from potential candidates. What we know about nurse candidates is that they are in high demand (especially in large metro areas), and in my experience of interviewing nurses, the salary and benefits are often a given. The motivator for many nurses lies within the culture and reputation of a hospital. And these are the pieces of recruiting that will likely not shine through a job description, no matter how well-written it is.
For a hospital to share this type of information with potential candidates, the recruitment campaign needs to be paired with smart marketing and advertising tactics. Consistent advertising nurtures a hospital’s reputation and keeps the hospital name top-of-mind. This often matters to employees and potential employees just as much as it does to a patient. These audiences want to see how a hospital values their brand. This form of brand and service line advertising is what garners awareness.
The next layer is targeted marketing. When recruiting, there is a clearly defined audience target, which is often quite simple to reach with tactics such like social media, email, online advertising or direct mail. For example, a nurse target profile could be:
1. Location: California, Oregon, Arizona
2. Sex: Male and Female
3. RN License: Licensed since 2000 (which translates into years of experience)
4. Level of education: Master’s degree
5. Employed: Yes (could prove beneficial if the strategy is to attract nurses who are already employed)
These are all behavioral traits that can be assigned to a targeted marketing campaign, ensuring that every dollar is spent reaching candidates who meet the necessary job requirements. When you know you have the attention of the “right” candidate, messaging can be more specific and creative can demonstrate a more direct call to action. Offering more direct and thorough marketing capabilities, targeted campaigns give hospitals the chance to stand out among the competition.
Private events also provide a unique opportunity to attract qualified talent. Events are designed for potential candidates to meet peers, directors or even doctors, tour the hospital and ask questions. An event is a great way for a hospital to expedite the interview process and witness first-hand whether a potential candidate responds positively to the company culture.
Sure, this can sound like a lot of effort, and, to some, a lot of unanticipated advertising and marketing dollars. But the reality is that targeted response marketing has pushed the boundaries of recruitment for all industries, forcing employers to get creative with the tactics, strategies and messaging that go into finding the right candidates for the job. And when you are a hospital, and rely on your nurses to make a positive difference every day, the value of hiring the right candidate is huge. And if there’s one thing I learned from my own experiences, there is a clear difference between an OK nurse and an amazing nurse, and this is why the recruitment efforts of a hospital should be nothing short of amazing.