Of Cupcakes and the Candidate Experience of Healthcare Workers

Imagine that you are the owner of a cupcake shop. In addition to having a store with counter help, you also have a website where people can place their cupcake orders. Now imagine that you find out that a third of your customers are having a negative experience, either in-store or online. Further imagine that 88 percent of those with a negative experience will not recommend your cupcakes. As the shop’s owner, you might be a little alarmed.

What does this have to do with the pressures of attracting and hiring healthcare talent? CareerBuilder recently published a report citing that 33 percent of healthcare employees had a negative experience when applying or interviewing for their jobs. We’ve seen other studies that placed that number a lot higher. The CareerBuilder study on healthcare workforce trends further reports that:

  • 88 percent of those with bad experiences are less likely to recommend that organization as a place to work;
  • 60 percent of job seekers quit an online application mid-process because it’s too long and/or too complex; and yet
  • 53 percent of employers think that long applications are good because they weed out unserious and untalented applicants.

The Pressured Healthcare Hiring Environment

Healthcare organizations might be able to “back-burner” candidate experience issues if they are still finding enough candidates in normal order. But, for many organizations the current pressure to find and hire healthcare talent is too high to allow for the potential of writing off a high percentage of candidates. From severe talent shortages to the need to staff new facilities, healthcare recruiters are working in pressured hiring environments that we haven’t seen for a long time. And, we’ve been doing this for a long time!

Our recent project work has included working with healthcare systems needing to find and hire hundreds of workers within the time crunch of just a couple of months. Talent acquisition directors and recruiters are scrambling to set recruitment project goals, strategies and budgets; gather together multidisciplinary teams; and hit the talent market running in a cohesive and coordinated way. All, we might add, within the organizational constraint of tight recruitment budgets and no expansion of resources.

Within this pressured recruiting environment, it is critical to worry about each and every candidate that enters your recruiting funnel. You’re working too hard to let a third or more of your candidates leave with a bad experience. By not addressing a poor candidate experience, you are putting additional pressure on an already pressured process.

Just as every cupcake customer is valued by the cupcake shop owner, every candidate should be valued by those of us focused on attracting and hiring healthcare talent.

What to Do About It

There’s a lot that can be done to improve your candidate experience. We’ve published a few best practices that you can access here. Here are a couple of things you can do today to improve your candidate experience.

  1. Take the time to experience your candidate experience yourself. Look at your career site – site navigation, appealing and not-so-appealing elements of the site, and areas of distinction – as a candidate would. Apply for a job and see how easy or hard it is to start and complete the application. If you have a talent community, think about whether or not a current or future candidate would find value in being a part of that community. Finally, don’t forget to review your candidate experience through your mobile device.
  2. If you’re not already doing it, institute a candidate experience survey or interview process in your onboarding program. This will get you closer to “real time” feedback which will complement your personal investigation.
  3. Review your employer brand attributes and employment selling points with every member of your multidisciplinary recruiting team, including hiring managers. This will help you present a consistent and reinforced employment story to candidates.

About the Author

N. Robert Johnson APR, Practice Leader, Workforce Communications

Bob Johnson has more than 20 years of corporate, agency and internal communications experience. He is currently leading The David Group's Workforce Communications Practice focused on strengthening employer brands, engaging people and cutting the cost of talent.

Email N. Robert

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