Why Quality of Hire in Healthcare is More Important Now More Than Ever and How You Can Solve For It (Part 2)

Michael Drayer
February 27 ․ 8 min read


Digital Content Producer. Senior Data Warehouse Manager. Financial Analyst. Virtualization Engineer. Sales Manager.

If you think these are featured jobs at a hot tech startup in Silicon Valley, think again.

Believe it or not, these jobs are in healthcare.

That’s right. These jobs are currently available at two healthcare clients I work with: Northwell Health in New York, and UCLA Health in Los Angeles. These clients like many others in healthcare are defining what it means to recruit highly qualified employees in very non-traditional areas.

The landscape and meaning of the term “healthcare employer” is transforming in terms of its scope and complexity. In order to align with rapidly shifting business objectives, positions in software development, data security, marketing, and finance (and many others) are falling increasingly into the “critical to fill” category traditionally reserved for roles involving patient care. This challenges healthcare providers to address a growing demand for top talent in non-clinical roles.What’s happening in healthcare right now is unprecedented. For the first time, the focus has shifted from providers to consumers. As services/capabilities expand, and healthcare plans increase and change (and some healthcare organizations themselves become plan providers), consumers are demanding more education, more accurate information, more value-based options, and more transparency.

What that means in today’s market is that healthcare has become similar to a consumer product, where cost and quality of care are the top drivers for consumers looking for a healthcare provider. In fact, according to a healthcare consumer research study conducted by Xerox in 2016, at least 50% of millennials reported the decision to delay treatment because of cost.

This also means that patients expect the same experiences they enjoy as consumers: Accessing and connecting to healthcare providers when, how and where they want – just as they do when they buy clothes, order dinner, or book a flight. As a result, healthcare organizations are adopting retail’s consumer-centric approach. And if you want to emulate a retailer, if you want to innovate, and remain competitive, you must think – and hire talent – in many ways retailers do.

In part 1 of this blog, I wrote about how shortages in core clinical areas can either mean diverting patients until you can staff up, or using temporary help. Neither is ideal. Shortages in non-clinical areas can also have real long-term business consequences and there’s often no backup plan at all. Let’s face it: there aren’t agencies full of temporary Objective-C developers just sitting around with a desire to work on contract until a full-time replacement is hired. This gives added significance to the “quality of hire” issue healthcare organizations are tackling.

These roles are low in applicant volume, and high in their impact on the business. They’re also directly responsible for driving organizational growth and revenue. These jobs are already in high demand, and to make things more challenging, healthcare organizations are often in competition – literally –  with the Amazons and Apples of the world.

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With few exceptions, healthcare organizations don’t have the luxury or name cache of household brands. That’s not to say big brands aren’t challenged with quality-of-hire issues (they are). But at least they don’t have to explain the basics of who they are and what they do – before selling them on the opportunity itself.

The time it takes to sell a top candidate on an organization and a job is ever-so-precious. You’ve got to understand your audience, your competition, and define the space you own. It’s no secret that some of the best and brightest work for companies that are market leaders. As a healthcare organization, that often means you’ll have to outwork Amazon and Apple for top talent. To succeed, you need to understand what drives top candidates in these verticals to choose an employer, what you can leverage, and what your limitations are.

That’s where consumer-centric recruitment strategies come into play (we talk about this all the time at Symphony Talent). You can’t expect to attract top talent in any area without having exceptional insights about who your candidates are and then using this data to your advantage. It means creating omnichannel candidate experiences that rival the best consumer experiences, creating a relationship between your candidates and your brand at every touchpoint.

Good recruiting organizations do this by leveraging data, and using A.I. and machine learning to personalize candidate and recruiter experiences to replicate the decision-making skills of some of the best recruiters at a fraction of the time, at scale. Meanwhile, understanding what your Employer Value Proposition is, what drives your organization, and how they align with potential candidates, you can authentically communicate a compelling message through values-based branding and content.

That’s how you focus on quality. That’s how you’ll get ahead. And how you’ll ensure neither party wastes each other’s time.

I’m looking forward to talking about these challenges and the strategies Northwell Health and UCLA Health are employing to drive candidate quality, at our February 28 webinar. We’ll explore this topic as well as others with two clients who’ll offer unique perspectives from opposite coasts. They’re both challenged with recruiting in hyper-competitive markets, and their experiences and insights are applicable to virtually all healthcare organizations.

I hope you’ll join us!