With an aging population in Canada and the need for a better quality of life and well-being, a growing demand exists to constantly populate the healthcare workforce, making the recruitment process challenging. This further emphasizes the importance of effective and efficient healthcare recruiting and the need to channel greater efforts for employee retention.
In this article, we will explore the 10 biggest recruitment challenges faced by healthcare recruiters and provide tips for improving the recruitment of healthcare professionals.
Healthcare recruitment is important for several reasons, including the need to ensure the delivery of high-quality and timely healthcare services and to ensure the success of a healthcare organization. This also ensures that staff shortages are minimized, as this can lead to negative outcomes like employee burnout, longer wait times for appointments, rushed appointments, inadequate follow-up care, lower patient satisfaction, and decreased quality of care.
Healthcare roles can be difficult to fill, with several factors contributing to this difficulty, including the retirement of baby boomers, a lack of new graduates entering the market, high stakes involved in healthcare, and recruitment challenges faced by organizations. Here are some of the biggest recruitment challenges that hiring managers face in recruiting the best health workers:
One of the major challenges faced by healthcare recruiters is budget constraints that limit their ability to offer competitive compensation packages. Healthcare professionals, especially those with specialized skills, are in high demand, and they have numerous employment options available.
This is especially a problem because of the high degree of autonomy in healthcare professionals, in that these professionals have high qualifications and training and thus have multiple job offers that they can select from. These professionals most probably know their worth, making their best interests their major priority in selecting the best job offer to accept.
Another significant challenge in healthcare recruitment is the shortage of skilled professionals. The demand for healthcare services is increasing due to factors like population growth and aging, while the supply of skilled healthcare professionals is not keeping pace. This shortage is particularly acute in specialized areas such as nursing, radiology, and critical care.
Healthcare organizations face intense competition when it comes to recruiting new and top talent. The demand for skilled professionals often exceeds the available supply, leading to a competitive recruitment landscape. This competition is further intensified by the rising number of healthcare facilities and the expansion of specialized healthcare services.
Achieving diversity and inclusion in healthcare recruitment is a challenge faced by many organizations. With a rapidly globalizing world, an increasing number of immigrants go to Canada per year, which translates to the healthcare industry serving a diverse patient population.
With this, it should be an urgent priority to ensure workforce diversity where the communities they serve are well-represented by the professionals in the healthcare organization. Hiring managers, then, should overcome the biases that they might have and solve other challenges that may hinder the development of an inclusive recruitment process of diverse candidates.
Certain positions in the healthcare industry are notoriously difficult to fill. These positions require highly specialized skills, extensive experience, or advanced certifications. Examples include anesthesia providers, nurse practitioners, and clinical laboratory scientists.
The need for recruiters to weigh in the qualifications and experiences of the jobseekers for these hard-to-fill healthcare positions further poses a significant challenge for healthcare organizations in recruitment as this contributes to the slowing down of the process, especially if the organization has less access to skillful talent acquisition experts.
The healthcare recruitment process often involves multiple stages, including screening, interviewing, and background checks. These processes can be time-consuming and lengthy, leading to delays in filling open positions. Slow recruitment and screening processes not only hinder organizational productivity but also increase the risk of losing top candidates to competitors.
Inconsistent and complicated hiring and onboarding processes can create a negative candidate experience and hinder the recruitment of healthcare professionals. Lengthy paperwork, multiple rounds of interviews, and unclear communication can deter qualified candidates from accepting job offers.
Moreover, since different departments have different needs and qualifications, the hiring process often occurs at the department level where human resources often don't have much influence, making the recruitment process multi-layered and often decentralized and non-uniform.
High turnover is a persistent challenge in the healthcare industry, particularly among frontline healthcare workers. Factors such as burnout, work-related stress, and limited career advancement opportunities contribute to the high turnover rate. A high turnover rate is a big issue that all healthcare organizations must address, as this problem is very costly because of recruitment costs and other indirect consequences like decreased patient care quality and lower employee morale.
Failing to meet candidate expectations can result in a negative perception of the organization and hinder the recruitment process. Candidates often have specific expectations regarding compensation, typical workload per shift, work-life balance, growth opportunities, and organizational culture. Failure to meet these expectations can lead to candidate dropouts or a decline in job offers accepted.
Healthcare recruiters must constantly improve and innovate their strategies, which would include utilizing the available technological advancements to streamline and increase the efficiency of their healthcare recruitment process. The following are suggested solutions for overcoming the recruitment challenges enumerated above, which hiring managers can implement in solving their staff shortages:
Building a strong employer brand is essential for attracting top healthcare professionals. Highlighting the organization's mission, values, and commitment to employee development can differentiate it from competitors and create a positive perception among potential candidates. Utilizing social media platforms, creating engaging content in several channels, including your own website's blog, and showcasing success stories of current employees can help build a strong employer brand in the healthcare industry.
Generic job descriptions often fail to attract the attention of qualified healthcare professionals. To improve recruitment outcomes, healthcare recruiters should create specific and tailor-made job descriptions that clearly outline the responsibilities, qualifications, and opportunities associated with the role. Including keywords relevant to the position can also enhance the visibility of the job posting in online searches.
A positive work environment is a crucial factor for healthcare professionals when considering job opportunities. Healthcare recruiters should emphasize the positive aspects of the work environment, such as teamwork, supportive leadership, and opportunities for collaboration and growth. Sharing testimonials and success stories from current employees can provide valuable insights into the organization's culture and work environment.
Posting job openings on niche job boards can significantly improve the recruitment of healthcare professionals. These specialized job boards cater specifically to the healthcare industry, attracting candidates with relevant skills and experience. Healthcare recruiters should leverage these platforms to reach a targeted audience and increase the chances of finding qualified candidates.
One of the leading job boards in Canada for the healthcare industry is Caring Support, which connects employers to more than 30,000 candidates with whom they can form meaningful connections and add to their talent pool. Our innovative, all-in-one platform offers multiple health-related services that can cater to the needs of every employer, post-secondary institution, or jobseeker in Canada.
Building and maintaining a sustainable talent pool can streamline the recruitment process and reduce time-to-fill for open positions. Healthcare recruiters should focus on building relationships with potential candidates, even when there are no immediate vacancies. Engaging with candidates through networking events, career fairs, and online platforms like Caring Support can help create a pipeline of qualified professionals ready to join the organization when needed.
The shortlisting process is a critical step in healthcare recruitment, and using effective assessment tools can significantly enhance the quality of candidate selection. Healthcare recruiters should leverage technology to implement standardized assessment tools such as behavioural assessments, skills tests, and situational judgment tests. These tools can help identify candidates with the necessary competencies and align with the organization's requirements.
Efficient onboarding is essential for ensuring a smooth transition for new hires and maximizing their productivity. Healthcare recruiters should focus on streamlining the onboarding process by providing clear instructions, necessary resources, and comprehensive orientation programs. Assigning mentors or buddies to new employees can also help facilitate their integration into the organization and promote engagement.
Recruiting healthcare professionals is a complex and challenging task due to various factors such as budget constraints, skill shortages, and intense competition. However, by understanding and addressing these challenges, healthcare recruiters can improve their recruitment strategies and attract top talent.
At Caring Support, we help healthcare organizations streamline their recruitment efforts by connecting them with the best candidates in Canada who can fill the roles they need in their organization. Through our intuitive platform, hiring managers can look at the profiles of qualified professionals, saving them time in their recruitment and screening process.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you overcome your staff shortages and find the right people for your organization.
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