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3 Mistakes Healthcare Recruiters are Making and What it's Costing Your Business

Published December 21, 2016

The hiring practices that lead to high turnover (aka employees leaving the business) in the healthcare industry are avoidable mistakes.

The healthcare sector experiences four times as much employee turnover as other industries, and wallets are hit hard because of it. If your organization is making these three hiring mistakes, consider revising your approach.

1. Underestimating the value of cultural fit:

Culture is a top-three factor for job satisfaction around the globe, and employees who actually care about their culture have a 31 percent lower turnover rate than those who quit to pursue new opportunities.

However, when healthcare organizations have an opening, many hiring managers just want to get a warm body in the door so their exhausted nurses can take a day off.

But even if the organization had more time to fill the position, managers often haven't been trained to take culture into account when interviewing candidates in the first place.

A recent survey done by travel nursing company RNnetwork found that almost half of the nurses they asked were considering leaving the profession.  Nearly 27 percent feel like they are overworked and 41 percent say they are not treated properly from managers or administrators. (Not good for the environment of the healthcare business --- let alone any business.)

To prevent a hiring mistake, healthcare organizations must prioritize more than just hard skills and a résumé when making hiring decisions. Job interviews should include questions designed to determine how well candidates will fit in with the team. Ask them to describe their ideal work environment and management style, for instance, or find out what they loved and hated about their last position.

2. Only reaching out to active candidates:

The candidates who respond to job postings are highly motivated because they're:

  • Unemployed
  • Dissatisfied with their current position
  • Looking for better-paying work

That motivation is good — but the candidate pool shouldn't end with this bunch.

The reinforcements hospitals rely on when too many nurses quit or hospitals can't fill their positions quickly come at a high cost. Labor costs cut into healthcare organizations' revenues by about 60 percent and is the greatest driver of operating expenses.  However, most providers will pay for premium labor to avoid having to turn away patients or close units due to being understaffed.

Organizations should also be recruiting high-quality passive candidates: individuals who are employed and aren't thinking about leaving their current positions but embody the qualities you're looking for. Online sourcing, cold calls, email blasts, and résumé mining are great ways to connect with them. Even if they don't apply immediately, you'll be top of mind if they want to make a move in the future.

3. Not considering long-term needs:

Don't forget that there's a real person behind each résumé. Never leave your applicants in limbo. Call all applicants back, whether you plan to hire them or not. It takes time for a candidate to apply  for a job and they most likely are looking forward to that interview and the opportunity for a job.

Candidates remember the companies that follow up, and that effort inspires them to refer other people to your company or apply for other positions in the future.

HR often fails to consider the long-term implications of its hiring practices. Just because someone is not right for one position doesn't mean you won't want to hire him in another capacity a year from now.

As nurses reach their breaking points and leave their jobs, expenses increase even more.


True cost of a bad hire is $211,000


The hiring mistakes in the healthcare field become a vicious cycle.

Without an effective way of quickly recruiting and onboarding high-quality replacements, patients ultimately suffer and healthcare providers find themselves in dire circumstances.  

Stray away from the common hiring mistakes and focus on the value of cultural fit, connecting with the right candidates and long-term needs of the employee to build a strong healthcare sector for the longevity of your business. To learn even more about recruitment and what it might be costing your business check out our blog on employee turnover.


  • Topics: 
  • Healthcare,
  • Recruitment Strategy