Healthcare Recruiting: 3 Keys to Finding Talent

Published on Jun 17, 2021

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Haley Yamane Melhart

Healthcare recruiting can be a fierce battle. Currently, there’s a higher demand for nurses than supply of them. This creates a job-seekers’ market, where potential employees can be more picky about which offers they consider. This labor market scenario forces recruiters to be more strategic and creative about how they seek out talent.

The data you need to back your decisions is there, but do you know how to leverage it? To recruit successfully, you need to know your market, who to target, and what your competitors are up to. Let’s break down those three keys to successful healthcare recruiting.

3 keys to healthcare recruiting 

  • Understanding which markets to recruit in 

  • Assessing your competition

  • Targeting diverse colleges and universities

Understanding which markets to recruit in (and which to avoid)

Knowing which markets offer strong healthcare recruiting opportunities before you waste time looking elsewhere is an ideal place to start. Emsi data provides a quick breakdown of the compensation, programs, demographics, and talent supply for any given occupation in any region. How’s that for a good place to start? Data like this helps you accurately prioritize your opportunities (rather than guessing or going off gut feelings).

Emsi data also indicates which markets you should avoid. For example, let’s say you’re a hospital based in Seattle, Washington, with a need for nurses. As a local, you know there are tons of great nursing programs and healthcare centers in the area. Finding a wide pool of candidates should be no issue, right? Not so fast…

By looking at the data, you discover that Seattle has a lower-than-average supply of nurses. This drives up the compensation and creates a highly competitive market, meaning this market may not be as healthy of an opportunity as you thought. So you expand your search. It turns out St. Louis, Missouri shows a promising supply of nurses whose going wages are more aligned with your budget. The best part? Even though the cost of living is far higher in Seattle, our data shows that your new recruits actually still stand to make more money if they relocate. 

Targeting this St. Louis pool not only gives you a solid new strategy, but it also gives you a competitive advantage. It’s unlikely that your Seattle competitors would think to search in St. Louis, but because of data, you know it’s an opportunity worth diving into. 

This is just one example of why data is so valuable in your hiring efforts. Recruiters can take information like that to their hiring managers and make objective cases as to why they should consider candidates outside of local boundaries. 

Assessing your competition

Another key to healthcare recruiting is knowing your competition. Data can point out the “big dogs” in your area and indicate whether or not they’ve already saturated the market. 

How intensely are other companies posting for nurses? How high are the wages they’re offering? Depending on the answer, you might have yet another case for recruiting outside the city limits, rather than spinning your wheels in an unhealthy market. 

On the other hand, if your competitors are paying wages similar to what you can offer, it may be worth targeting their people directly. Maybe you can work with your hiring manager to beef up your offers with non-monetary incentives they’re not currently receiving. Whether it’s work flexibility, mental health benefits, or lifestyle support—it may be just enough for you to snag the talent you need. 

Targeting diverse colleges and universities 

If you have diversity-based hiring goals to hit, data can help you prioritize markets based on how diverse they are. Higher institutions are especially full of talented individuals who have diverse backgrounds and experiences—making those schools perfect markets for you to tap into.

For example, let’s say the hospital you’re recruiting for is developing a pipeline for diverse talent. Emsi’s software will give you a demographic breakdown of nursing graduates across the US.

Take that search deeper by looking at the specific schools and programs that graduate the majority of these students. If you don’t already have dedicated recruiting efforts at those schools (such as career booths, guest presentations, or ambassadors), you should definitely establish some! 

It’s time to use data in your healthcare recruiting

Healthcare recruiting doesn’t come without its challenges: demand and supply are intense. But with proper data at your disposal, you can make your recruiting efforts focused, efficient, and competitive—just like the labor force.


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