Best Methods to Recruiting Staff in the 21st Century

December 1, 2015

By: Steph Weber Finding qualified staff, particularly on a limited budget, is challenging and time-consuming. Here is how to recruit employees in the 21st century.

Old recruiting methods are becoming largely obsolete, in part because job-seekers are flocking to online job boards like Indeed and Craigslist. Regardless of the position you’re filling, limited HR budgets have increased the pressure to make the hiring process as efficient as possible.

Here are the best methods for small-budget recruiting in the 21st century.

Create a talent acquisition strategy.

Before the search begins, develop a talent acquisition strategy to standardize recruiting efforts.

Stephanie H. Nelson, certified in healthcare human resources and the founder and CEO of BlueFire HR Consulting in Chicago, explains the key aspects. “Setting your talent acquisition strategy is easy,” she said. “[Developing] appropriate job descriptions and interview processes, [including] selecting the right team members to [conduct] interviews is where you need to start.”

Also, establish an onboarding manual to help retain new hires and ease them into the position. The manual should outline specific objectives to be achieved during the employee’s initial 90 days with the practice.

Start with who you know.

Because of the small hiring budget most independent medical practices are faced with, starting with who you know can be a real budget-saver.

Steven Peltz, founder of New York-based Peltz Practice Management & Consulting Services, LLC, and a member of the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants, encourages this tactic. “If possible, it is better to [hire] someone who is known either by the practice or a colleague,” he said. “Speak to the local hospital HR department about resumes they have not used or staff they have to lay off.”

Connecting with local colleges and schools that have healthcare training programs can be beneficial too. These programs often have an intern placement program, which allows the practice a trial run with a candidate before offering a paid, long-term position.

Other options, like employee and patient referral programs, can bring prospective candidates directly to you. “Employee referral programs can be great for any culture, and there are so many patients that come in and out of the practice [who] may know the ideal candidate,” said Nelson. “If you’re on a small budget, incentives can be as small as $25 gift cards.”

Remember, the “finder fee” incentives should be paid only to those who refer successful candidates - meaning those who pass their introductory period of employment, generally the first 90 days.

Go social.

Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives and these outlets are ideal for reaching job-seekers on a small budget.

Gary Rosenbaum, a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon practicing in Miami Beach, Fla., has found quality talent this way. “In our practice, we have been successful recruiting staff through online job boards, such as Indeed and Craigslist,” he said.

Many job ads can be placed for free. For the others, you’ll need to have a budget in mind. Peltz recommends that practices decide if they want to pay for ads, and if so, determine their budget in advance. Look for websites and social media platforms that serve your local area also. Many times advertising is free or inexpensive.

Then there are the larger platforms. “Posting jobs on Twitter, Facebook, and anything in between can get your name out there and show that your practice is welcoming new talent,” said Nelson. “It can save you time and money.”

Additionally, she likes LinkedIn because it’s “a space for virtual living resumes,” where the information is usually deemed more reliable because of its public nature.

Select an in-office point person.

Small practices don’t need to outsource their HR. Instead, they’re better-served to select an in-office point person. For example, in Rosenbaum’s office, the employee who handles billing and collections also handles HR.   

Don’t make selecting an internal HR representative too complicated though. “It could be clinical or administrative staff, [but] whoever appears to have the most common sense should be given the responsibility,” said Peltz. “That person will need basic training, [usually] available through the local hospital's HR department, the local or state medical society, or a number of online programs.”

Don’t forget these tips.

Always ask for references and if your state allows it, Peltz suggests requiring a drug screen and background check for all new hires. The person will have access to a wide range of pharmaceuticals, so they should be screened thoroughly.

Make the most of each new hire. “Whatever the position is, always try to hire higher,” said Peltz. “That means you want someone who will not only be able to fulfill the [current] position, but also be able to grow.”

And lastly, remember that traits often trump skills. “Key traits to look for in candidates are integrity, initiative, perseverance, self-confidence, personality, and commitment,” Rosenbaum said. “Skills can be taught.”

Steph Weber is a freelance writer hailing from the Midwest. She writes about healthcare, finance, and small business, but finds her passion for the medical field growing in sync with the ever-changing healthcare laws.