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Find the Ideal Nurse Candidate with These Proven Talent Acquisition Strategies


If you’re looking to hire and retain great nurses, you’re not alone. The U.S. is in the middle of a nursing shortage; in fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the U.S. will need an additional 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026.

With fierce competition amongst healthcare employers, nursing talent acquisition managers need to be strategic with their recruiting efforts to ensure they don’t miss out on top candidates who choose to take their talents elsewhere.

As a nursing manager or healthcare talent acquisition partner, you may find it beneficial to use the latest hiring tactics to improve your recruiting process and ultimately build a steady pipeline of talent.

Invest in Employer Branding

No two hospitals or healthcare centers are exactly alike; however, qualified candidates still might have trouble differentiating your healthcare organization from your competitors. If you want to encourage more candidates to apply for open positions at your company, you need to invest in what’s known as employer branding, which means positioning your company as a great place to work.

80% of talent acquisition managers believe that employer branding has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent.

Employer branding may include:

  • The working conditions of your employees
  • The mission behind your organization
  • Advertisements, social media content, and other marketing materials
  • Job descriptions, employee incentives, and other hiring materials
  • Online reviews of your organization, including those on Glassdoor, Healthgrades, Yelp, and Google Reviews

Create a cohesive message for your employer branding materials so candidates understand what your organization is all about. Every hospital or organization is looking to help people, so get creative with your messaging. Are you looking to eradicate cancer, help families in need, or reduce the child mortality rate in your community? Use this message to attract candidates who share your values and beliefs.

Focus on the Needs of Your Existing Employees

You can’t hire and retain great nurses if your existing employees are unsatisfied in their current positions. The way you treat your workers will inevitably affect your standing with potential candidates as word of mouth spreads throughout the local healthcare community. If one of your employees quits in a huff or gets fired for reasons they see as unfair, they may post about your company on Glassdoor or social media, which gives potential candidates less incentive to apply for a job at your company.

Talk to your employees and try to meet their needs to the best of your abilities. Some of your employees may complain about working long hours or being understaffed. As you try to recruit new nurses, create a sense of community in your workplace by giving back to your employees. Thank them for their hard work. Invest in employee education, development, and advocacy to give your employees more of a voice in the workplace. Developing their skills will also improve your retention rates.

If you create a productive, respectful work environment for your employees, more candidates will want to work for your organization.

Reach Out to Passive Job Seekers

As competition for nurses continues to heat up for employers, consider reaching out to passive job seekers. You can find all kinds of nursing candidates on social media and other professional networking tools like LinkedIn.

80% of employers say social recruiting helps them find passive candidates.

Many of these candidates may not live in your immediate area, but you can always sweeten the deal by walking them through the multistate nurse licensing process, offering relocation assistance, or by talking about the benefits of working for your organization.

Even if these candidates aren’t looking for new jobs, many of them will be looking to advance their careers. Talk about the opportunities to be had by working for your organization, such as career assistance, professional development, and nursing specialization.

It may take months or even years to develop these connections, so get to know these candidates as individuals rather than sending out generic recruiting messages.

Improve the Candidate Experience 

You can also improve the candidate experience by making it easier for candidates to apply for a job at your organization or by changing the nature of the application process.

Instead of forcing applicants to copy and paste their resumes, ask more meaningful questions throughout the application process, covering topics that include why they got into nursing in the first place, how they plan to give back to the local community, and how they’ve learned from their experiences as a nurse, for example.

Candidates should be able to apply for a job at your organization in 30 minutes or less. Use an applicant tracking system to make sure applicants are finding their way through the process and help if they abandon their applications half-way through. Simplify this process as much as possible to encourage more candidates to apply.

The days of simply posting a job description and hoping for the best are long gone. With record-low unemployment, healthcare organizations need to go out of their way when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent. Use these talent acquisition tactics to find the best candidates for your organization.

For more information about talent acquisition, head over to The Acquirer.


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