Do your 2020 resolutions include recruiting the best nurses for your organization?

Then staying on the cutting edge with the best recruiting trends may be just what the doctor ordered. We spoke with four nurse recruiting experts to discuss the hottest practices expected this year.

John Lidstrom, a seasoned healthcare recruiter and president of the Oregon and Southwest Washington Association for Health Care Recruitment (OSWAHCR), said recruiters face a challenge that can be overcome.

“With the nursing shortage, recruiters will need to be savvier so they can become more competitive within their own market,” he said. “Qualified nurses have a choice of employers right now, so making the hiring process smoother and quicker can create a better candidate experience.”

Two big trends Lidstrom sees with the current nursing shortage are:

  1. Increased offerings of nurse residencies
  2. New graduate programs to help train the next generation of nurses

#1 — Expedite the hiring process

Once you find good candidates, it is important to get them to the hiring manager as soon as possible. Speed matters when it comes to recruiting trends.

“Candidates have many choices in the current competitive environment,” Lidstrom said. “You’ll want to have them visit the unit and meet the manager sooner rather than later.”

Recruiting in areas of the U.S. that don’t have a nursing shortage and have fewer job opportunities is a strategy to consider.

“If you do recruit outside of your area, offering relocation assistance to valued out-of-town candidates can help close the deal,” Lidstrom said. “Once a candidate is hired, making the onboarding process as smooth as possible is essential. In addition to monetary assistance, some organizations offer real-estate tours to help new hires find local housing.”

#2 — Transparency is essential

Pay is almost always among the top recruiting trends for candidates, said Tammy Pennington, product manager at Nurse.com.

In addition to salary, candidates usually want to know if the work culture includes professional development opportunities. Good examples are mentoring and residencies because they can learn from their peers and access simulation labs and tuition reimbursement.

Tuition assistance and sign-on bonuses are definitely being offered more often now in the current competitive environment, she added.

Including a discussion about clinical ladder prospects also can help with recruitment and retention, Pennington said. It’s important to share these opportunities, especially with nurses who wish to:

  • Move into different specialties
  • Expand their knowledge
  • Move up into management positions

Transparency and resources around the overall employee total benefit and compensation package also is vital, said Carlos Fernandez, manager of talent acquisition at Houston Methodist in Texas.

“We’ve dedicated significant resources to increase access to our candidates and employees to an interactive, plug-and-play total rewards portal for both internal and external candidates,” he said. “This provides users an opportunity to see a real-time snapshot of their overall earnings and savings, including their base compensation, medical, dental and retirement contributions.”

#3 — Using technology to meet recruiting trends

One way to achieve a more pleasant candidate experience and increase your chances of hiring top choices is by leveraging technology. This keeps you on top of emerging recruiting trends.

“Conducting virtual interviews for out-of-town candidates provides an opportunity for them to learn more about the position before they have to spend time and money on a trip for an in-person meeting,” Lidstrom said.

Simplifying the application process is also an important strategy. Fernandez said at Houston Methodist they use technology to provide recruiter touch points throughout the hiring process. Some examples of touch points include artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning.

Even though there are several new and existing tech platforms that can drive results, Hernandez said it is critical to have a strong process in place to reinforce the technology.

“Your tech is only as successful as your human intervention,” he said. “The Houston Methodist recruitment chatbot, MIA (Methodist Interactive Assistant), allows us to connect with candidates across the country at all hours of the day. In tandem with MIA, our sourcing team leads direct candidate engagement, which has helped produce over 300 experienced RN hires this year.”

In addition to the MIA platform, Houston Methodist leverages internal and external communication tools to increase referral hires throughout the organization.

“We also use scheduling technology to reduce time in scheduling candidate interviews through a one-touch functionality,” Fernandez said.

#4 — Providing support boosts loyalty and retention

Providing a path for new hires to achieve success builds value in your organization, according to Lidstrom.

“New hires feel increased levels of loyalty and are more likely to stay with the organization if they see you’ve invested in them with training and support,” he said.

Nursing turnover is expensive and negatively impacts staff morale and patient safety, said Katie Stephens, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, director of nursing excellence and Magnet programs at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, Calif.

At Stanford, Stephens’ department and team support several programs to increase nurse retention by promoting engagement, such as:

  • Shared governance
  • Education programs
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Nursing grand rounds
  • High leadership visibility

“We work to help our nurses and staff feel connected to the organization,” she said. “We have over 100 clinics in Northern California, so it could be easy to not feel connected. Our department focuses not only on Magnet and maintaining nursing excellence, but we also focus on inclusiveness and making our nurses feel special.”