It’s no secret that the growth in healthcare technology has been outpacing the talent supply. The competition for technical talent is fierce. Hiring managers are scrambling to fill open positions and oftentimes, without success. One big reason is that HIT professionals are getting as many as 20 recruiting calls per day. It’s a candidate-driven market and they have the latitude to be very selective. Another reason is that your organization’s hiring process may be outdated, and therefore, no longer effective. Making a few changes to meet these challenges might just be the solution:
Know your needs. Prior to announcing your open HIT opportunity or interviewing candidates, you need to develop a job description with selection criteria. The job description should provide a clear understanding of the job’s duties and minimal requirements. For example, if you’re looking for a software implementation specialist, you may need a candidate to have 3-plus years of experience in implementing software in a healthcare setting with 3-plus years configuration experience on Facets, HealthRules, Trizetto, Diamond, Amisys advance, or similar system. In addition, you need to make sure the job’s duties align with your organization’s vision. Time spent on creating a concise picture of the hard and soft skills, education, and IT experience required of a candidate and how they will fit best into your environment will have a pay-off; namely that you and the candidate will be on the same page, leaving no room for ambiguity. You don’t want to lose your shot at choice talent due to a misunderstanding over job related functions and requirements.
Speed up the hiring process. In the overall tech sector, unemployment is currently less than 2 percent, meaning the number of American technology professionals actively seeking employment is extremely low. For healthcare tech-related jobs, there aren't enough qualified candidates to fill the growing number of positions. So, it’s not surprising that when a passive or active HIT professional is ready to make a job change, they get snatched up quickly. In fact, they are often off the market within 10 days. Therefore, your organization needs to move quickly. It’s time to rethink the length of their hiring process. The mindset that a longer hiring process is helpful because it ensures they have adequate time to compare candidates and ensure that they are hiring the right person for the position, is so yesterday.A longer hiring process will only cause an organization to completely miss out on nearly every in-demand HIT candidate.
Offer attractive compensation. In a candidate-driven market, you’re at risk of losing top candidates by offering a mediocre compensation package. Therefore, before you even start interviewing for a position, you need to do your due diligence and come up with the best and appropriate combinations of salary, annual incentives, long-term incentives and benefits. You may find that generous, even outrageous, offers are being made for qualified HIT candidates, including large base salaries, bonuses, stock options and many other perks. Payscale.com is a good resource since it provides up-to-date information on the salary for healthcare IT professionals. Remember, candidates don’t just look for a reasonable paycheck. They want a package with different types of compensation.
Provide great candidate experience. A great candidate experience has become an integral part of the hiring process for every industry and organization including those in HIT. Don’t underestimate the importance of it. The experience begins even before a candidate walks through your door with such things as a full explanation of the job, frequent contact, and rundown of your specific hiring process. Even little things mean a lot to candidates especially when arriving for the interview including a greeter, tour of the facility, introduction to future co-workers, and technology resources, etc. Regardless whether you make the candidate an offer or not, they will tell others about you. If you treat them with respect, they’ll be your advocate. If you don’t, they may rant to friends and family and post on social media which could prevent top talent from looking your way.
Establish personal connection. According to CNN, the average American adult devotes about 10 hours and 39 minutes every day in front of tablets, smartphones, personal computers, multimedia devices, video games, radios, DVDs, DVRs and TVs. It’s no surprise then that in today’s always-on world, job candidates are hearing back from employers via text messages. However, one of the top wishes of all candidates is being able to talk to a human during the recruiting and interviewing process. A personal call will go a long way with a candidate and in establishing that vital personal connection. Even a brief chat can create a positive feeling about you and the organization.
Don’t overlook current employees. Because candidates are at a premium and you probably already employ some of the best HIT professionals, why not promote from within. Many organizations that are filling vacancies from their existing HIT workforce, found definite advantages besides a quick fix. For example, an existing employee already understands how the organization operates, knows the technology, fits the culture, has an existing relationship with the hiring manager, may need very little training, and most likely feels motivated by their career progression. Giving employees a career runway also helps with retention.
Be adaptable. This is no time to be inflexible. In fact, you probably will need to compromise since holding out for that one in a million HIT professional may not work. This doesn’t mean you should settle for a bad hire. It simply means that you must be flexible in a market where IT talent is highly sought after. Therefore, if you have a list of 10 skills sets required, you may have to figure out what five are most important. Place more emphasis on hiring a person who is willing to learn, shows enthusiasm, and fits the culture.
Frank Myeroff is the president and co-founder of Direct Consulting Associates (DCA). He has built a reputation for understanding and solving client needs in the IT consulting industry for over 30 years. Frank is PMP certified and an active member of PMI. Frank can be reached at 440-996-0051 / [email protected].