As the saying goes, another year older, another year wiser. We distilled the wisdom gained during our 30 years serving leading healthcare organizations and corporations as a trusted executive search partner, into key takeaways that all hiring organizations.
Insights for Hiring Organizations
- If you want to hire the best candidates, prioritize your candidate experience. We have extensively studied candidate experience, and conducted an in-depth survey to understand how healthcare organizations were performing. When asked to rate their last candidate experience, respondents’ average rating was a ‘C minus.’ This tells us candidate experience is an opportunity area for most organizations, and a key way to set yours apart if you can do it well.
- Job seekers need to hear from you more often. When asked to prioritize how organizations should focus their efforts to improve candidate experience, executive candidates overwhelmingly indicate that increased communication should be organizations’ top priority.
- Craft candidate-focused job postings to help attract the best talent to your position. Your job postings should clearly describe what is great about working for your organization and how it will grow a job seeker’s career (i.e., what is in it for them). All too often, organizations focus too much on the minutia including a laundry list of their requirements rather than “selling” the opportunity to prospective applicants.
- Realistically assess what your organization needs versus wants. For some roles, while an A+ candidate may be desired, it’s simply not feasible or in some cases even necessary. A Honda Accord (or B+ candidate) will still get you from point A to point B; you may not need (or be able to afford) a Mercedes, or A+ candidate.
- Don’t search for “purple squirrels,” or those impossible-to-find combination of skills. There’s a finite number of viable candidates in the market who will be interested in and qualified for your position, and when you layer on an extensive list of qualifications you can whittle down the candidate pool down to next nothing.
- Make it easy for candidates to apply to your open positions. Ideally, applications should be mobile-friendly and integrated with LinkedIn. Streamline your applications to the extent possible, making sure you actually use every piece of information you’re collecting. Make sure you’re compliant with the latest salary history bans as well.
- Shorten and streamline your hiring process so you don’t lose the candidate you want to another opportunity. The best candidates are highly in demand and don’t stay on the market for long. We frequently see organizations miss out on quality candidates when they have a lengthy hiring process, particularly when they don’t inform candidates of their timeline in advance. The ideal process needs to be well-orchestrated and efficient with minimal time in between interview phases.
- Don’t add candidate testing to your process at the last minute and without careful consideration. If you organization doesn’t test all executive candidates and put them through the same process, don’t expect results that will add value to your hiring process.
- Candidates will be reading reviews about your organization, so know how you’re perceived in the market. Look at what people are saying about your organization by reading reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. Review the information and make internal changes as needed.
- Think you’re delivering a great candidate experience? Unless you’re asking candidates, you can’t know for sure. Conduct surveys to find out how candidates viewed their interview experience and develop a plan to address any issues.
- Set up your new hires up for success with a strong onboarding program. Organizations with the highest new hire success rates have a comprehensive onboarding approach, setting the stage before the employee even starts and emphasizing cultural as well as political awareness.
- Let your executive search firm serve as a strategic partner. Sometimes what you actually need can be different from what you want. As part of our executive search process, we invest time to learn about your organization, culture and business goals. This, coupled with our 30 years of healthcare industry experience, allows us to offer valuable recommendations to help you reach your goal.
- If you want top talent, expect to pay more. We’ve seen far too many organizations let great candidates go because they didn’t want to meet (what we believed were) reasonable salary expectations due to concerns about internal equity or other political issues. (In many cases these organizations ultimately end of paying even more to a lower caliber candidate when they should have just raised their compensation in the beginning.)
- Time kills deals. Filling an executive position is a marathon, not a sprint; it’s critical to invest the right effort and resources into your search. That said, we see far too many organizations fail to project manage the hiring process and create a sense of urgency around it. You’re not making a lifetime commitment to the candidate; move quickly and get the best individual you can, knowing you can move on if necessary.
- Embrace differences. It’s natural and expected to want to hire people who are similar to us and are people we want to spend time with, but diversity of skills, personality, experiences and culture should be cultivated within your organization.
Although these insights are important, they’re only half the story. In an upcoming post, we’ll share key pieces of advice for those who seek executive roles.