Recruiting During a Crisis: How to Source Healthcare Workers

Time to Read: 4.9 minutes

Updated: October 6, 2022

How is the Process for Placing Healthcare Workers Unique and How is it Altered During a Crisis?

There is a generally accepted procedure for talent acquisition companies when it comes to healthcare recruiting. We source for candidates, both active and passive; follow recruiting procedures and best practices for screening and engaging with qualified talent, and then transition candidates to begin working with the hiring party. All of which hopefully lead up to a new working relationship.

With healthcare talent, the procedure is different, because the type of talent being pursued needs to meet very specific criteria and qualifications before even being considered. When in crisis mode, we may use interview techniques on an accelerated timeline. But even when there is an urgent need for placements, there are certain processes that can never be overlooked, or corners cut, in order to save time. The Pierpoint recruiting team breaks down some of these differences, especially in relation to a stringent interview process.

Gustavo Morales, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Univar Solutions

While all recruits can expect some form of the interview when applying for a position, healthcare workers are subjected to a different type of interview evaluation. We of course interview for skill-sets, experience, and knowledge, but we weigh heavily on the behavioral and ethical aspects of the process. Just because of the nature of the job, medical facilities require a certain cultural match for individuals who are providing care to other individuals, especially in critical life or death situations.

Behavioral interviews are conducted in various formats. In some instances, candidates are required to fill out a long, in-depth questionnaire that provides descriptive insight into how they would manage situational scenarios, particularly with patient care. Oftentimes, the recruiter may conduct this interview face to face, or in this age of social distancing, opting for a phone, or better yet, a live video interview. The recruiter would record answers in extreme detail, and often base conclusions on candidate reactions. If a video session is recorded, it would be provided to the hiring manager for the down-selecting process.

Paula Corna, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Pierpoint International

Interviews in the healthcare industry aren’t necessarily about yes or no answers. These interviews are about how a medical professional would react in real-life situations. If we were doing long-form questionnaires, copious notes would be taken and then shared with the hiring manager; pre-recorded videos, where the candidate is given questions and then answers them in a recorded session, expedite the process with the added value of a visual of their reaction.

We also base many decisions on the ethical portion of the interviews. For instance, in the field of Healthcare IT, our questions are not heavily focused on behavioral, as much as we focus on technical skill-sets; however, because many workers in this role have access to extremely sensitive personal data, the ethical portion of the interview process and how they answer questions, is often a deciding factor.

Gustavo Morales, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Univar Solutions

Yes, the ethical portion of the interview is often the most important aspect and the litmus for moving forward. For example, a particular question could be: Tell me about a time when a patient under duress asked you to do something that was against regulation, how did you react? The candidate is expected to expound on that question in detail, even if they didn’t have a patient example per se. A candidate might indicate an issue with a co-worker or supervisor or would at least have to explain how they would handle a particular situation.

The process is also different because of the credential and certification requirements for healthcare workers. There have been news stories that refer to unlicensed medical professionals still practicing. Or worse yet, a patient was harmed, and after an investigation, it is revealed that the worker lied about their credentials. It is a delicate situation and requires extreme due diligence for selecting, hiring, and placing someone in healthcare.

Rommy Romero, Sr. Recruiter at Quest Diagnostics 

Generally, we have found that when working with healthcare candidates, such as nurses, we have mandatory disclaimers that they need to fill out affirming their credentials and understanding that there will be strict background checks and record-checking.

However, those actions are usually performed by the hiring company once they are making an offer to hire. They run checks through the registration channels, etc.

Alyssa Thach, President & CEO at Pierpoint International 

Credential checking is also something that is sensitive and can be more involved than in some other industries. And it’s important that they are done at the appropriate time, which is usually once the candidate has been through the interview process and an offer is going to make.

We have to be cognizant to not perform any premature checking, lest risk being accused of discriminatory practices, for example, we checked a background database, and a decision against hiring was made based on something that was immaterial to the position. In most instances, if something questionable comes up in a background check, the hiring managers usually need to give the candidate the opportunity to explain what may have been found.

Gustavo Morales, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Univar Solutions 

It’s also important as we interview and place candidates that we identify unique points in a resume, such as languages are spoken and cultural familiarity. Those skills can demonstrate another level of patient care because of improved communication in some locations.

But aside from the technical portions of the recruiting and hiring process – credentialing, background checks, skills, references, etc. – we are searching for a good fit. We are recognizing the candidates that demonstrate a passion for what they do and who will add value to patient care. It circles back to the notion that healthcare professionals are answering a calling, and our recruiting and interviewing process is certainly searching for that trait.

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Kelly Graham

Kelly Graham is a marketing professional with 20 years of experience in healthcare, recruitment and IT marketing helping businesses create their brand presence and achieve their marketing and business goals.

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