The importance of healthcare
Within the global discourse on development, one of the most rigorously talked about issues is health and well-being. Every growth indicator is considered a good measure only if it satisfactorily incorporates the rubric of good health. International organizations such as the United Nations, in their Development Programmes, have given utmost importance to a decent and healthy standard of living. It’s inclusion in the 2000-2015 and 2015-2030 Millennium Development Goals further highlights the need to provide premium healthcare and how it should be a priority of every nation in its attainment of development.
Barring the international view, a disease free, healthy life is a basic individual right of every human being. At a micro level, it affects a person’s productivity, emotional well-being and determines their prospects in life. In a state of perpetual ill health, it becomes very difficult to remain happy or even optimistic, and it tends to take a toll on your mental health primarily. No amount of reiteration of the old adage ‘health is wealth’ can sufficiently emphasize the need and practice of providing adequate and appropriate health care facilities to each and every citizen everywhere.
Why do the healthcare institutions need to perform a greater role?
The crux of the issue is that with the population exploding in exponential numbers, the existing healthcare infrastructure gets more and more thinly distributed among the people. Over the years, we have seen the doctor-patient ratio decline. India, for example, will need 2.07 million more doctors by 2030 and the current doctor-patient ratio is clearly not very promising in this regard. The promise of the government to open new medical colleges and increase the number of qualifying seats for medical students appearing for the common medical exam is a solution albeit not a good one. What is to ensure quality professionals in the absence of no provisions for constant checks? All this will do is produce hoards of healthcare specialists without ensuring if they are even fit to be one.
Keeping this aside, what constitutes the need of the hour is for the healthcare institutions to assume a greater role which goes beyond that of a service provider and urges them to become a filtering screen. The onus now on the healthcare outlets is to screen the talent while they are hiring new recruits in order to ensure that they are not compromising on quality. Quite naturally, in a scenario where loads of applications are floating in, the screening process does become tedious. Also in a scenario where you want to cherry pick the best candidates only, you must be equipped with a certain strategy or tool for optimization during your selection process.
Tips which will come in handy
Healthcare industry in itself contains a wide spectrum of roles and responsibilities. It is unique because even though the jobs are service oriented, they are also well paying. With 10 years of education or just one, you can find a suitable position matching your merit in this industry. You can look for job openings for a medical assistant, a certified nurse, physician, therapist, and several kinds of portfolios under that of a technician, dentist, pharmacist and what not. While recruiting for all these posts and every other that comes in between, what can come in handy is a list of tips that you can further curate to suit your needs and find and hire the best healthcare talent from the expansive pool. Healthcare Recruitment Consultants also use similar strategies when helping out their clients.
- Staying in-tune with the candidates: Continuous correspondence between your institution and the candidate can help you keep track of all who are actively and passively seeking employment in the respective industry. This will also ensure that your pipeline of talent remains fresh and ripe. With constant correspondence, you can also come to understand their needs, and it will enable you to pinpoint opportunities to them which serve them and you the best. In this way, you can also keep a check on who is most suitable for filling urgent niche positions.
- Advertising your company: Who gets attracted to lousy advertisement? Naturally, lousy candidates. The secret ingredient to the recipe of attracting a talented pool of candidates is how well you are able to position your institution. When looking for a new job, the candidates don’t just want to repeat the routine of the past job; they are looking for a better, newer experience. In essence, they are shopping for their next recruiter. You need to get the candidate excited about the work profile. You must try to craft your advertisements in a way that reflect the work culture and work ethics that is embodied by your institution.
- Comprehend your clients: Your institution is a link between the healthcare professionals and the clients who procure the healthcare services. Before investing your effort and resources in search of good candidates, you need to turn your attention to your clients. A basic understanding of what your clients are seeking out of your institution will give you a lot of clarity in terms of what kind of professionals you need to hire. Say, in your specific locality a certain kind of ailment due to a certain kind of lifestyle is the most prevalent issue in reportage. Naturally, you will have to hire professionals who are well trained in dealing with this specific issue. This strategy will help you in cutting down on unnecessary searches and interviews as you can, from the beginning, narrow down on your priorities.
- Deeper understanding: With a blind eye to the trends and developments in the pattern of employment in the healthcare industry, you will most likely miss out on crucial information which can potentially help you select the most talented among everyone else. Doing your background research is always uber beneficial as it projects you as an expert recruiter and makes you demeaning in the sense that your candidates will take your words seriously. This will automatically lead to the non-diligent ones to quit leaving the dedicated ones behind. Also, the closer understanding you will have of your candidate pool in terms of their struggles and temperaments, the better candidates you will select for your clients.
- Highlight incentives: The healthcare industry also works on the first principles of economics: profits. This induces the healthcare industry to become increasingly competitive with each passing day. In order to have a good pool of candidates reach out to you, you must ensure that the benefits, perks, and incentives accruing to them in your job profile are better than the others. For instance, on several occasions, governments trying to lure good doctors and healthcare specialists to the public sector, provide extremely high annual salary packages and added benefits which give it an edge when compared to the private sector. At LifePoint Hospital, debt relief is the most sought after benefit after salaries. It is advisable for the recruiting institutions to explore newer financial incentives beyond the salary.
- Technology is a boon: As a recruiter, you can overcome the hurdle by using technology to your advantage. Technology has been turning tables in every sector, and it is capable of doing so for the healthcare industry too. Even medicines are now sold online, but studies show that only one-third of the healthcare employers use mobile-optimized career pages and even a lesser fraction indulge in the mobile-friendly application process. Making your application process digital will free you of a lot of paperwork. Especially at a time when everybody is always ‘online’, why isn’t our healthcare industry? Even among those who have initiated online searches for their jobs, aren’t doing it effectively. You need to ensure that you spend wisely on utilizing the digital networking platforms in order to optimize your candidate turnout quality.
- Pipelines are crucial: The young and the determined need to be influenced right from the beginning so that you can create a pipeline that channels the talented to you. It is advised that the healthcare units must partner with local and national organizations, public health departments, communities, and universities. Comprehensive programs must be developed so that you can create your future workforce well before time. Through these programs, you can also impart training specific to your requirements so that you can cut down on on-the-job training time. You must not have a tunnel vision when partnering with other organizations. A diversified approach will bring in a better spectrum of talent.
- Make hiring process flexible: A lot of time, due to the stringency of the hiring process, you may lose out on someone who is talented but is not able to keep up with the hiring process due to his circumstances. You must allow for these possibilities by making sure that hiring processes can be flexible. Interviews can be made asynchronous. You can also facilitate interviews via Skype or any other online platform so that it allows the candidates to stay comfortable and not get worked up. You can also record these interviews and review them as and when you need to. This is especially beneficial for nursing candidates as their schedules end up conflicting so many times. Never let schedule conflicts prevent you from hiring the best.
- Assess the soft skills: As already pointed out, a healthcare job requires a lot of empathy besides immense skills. Hence, the aim of the recruiter should not only be to assess the merit and academic achievements but to also equally evaluate the sensitivity quotient of the candidate. This can be done through a set of behavioral and situational questions which can be posed to the candidate during an interview or discussion.
- Making the most out of group interviews: A lot can be assessed about a candidate when interviewed in a group that is if it is done properly. Allow your candidates to choose a time that suits them the best and then have a structured interview instead of an unstructured one as it gives a level playing field to all. The interviewers must come from a diverse background as that will help in minimizing any biases and allow a just selection.
For a country like India, healthcare constitutes a vital developmental block. Severe lack of affordable and quality healthcare services result in immense losses of life. It is an issue not just in the rural but the urban sectors too. Fraudulent practices and malpractices further push the population in the clutches of ignorance and push the nation several years back on the ladder of development. Extreme malnutrition and undernourishment of children is a glaring reality that we have to live with each day. So many public sector hospitals and pharmaceuticals are vile and in the process of disintegration. There is a major deficiency of therapists, counselors, and physicists who can assist people in need. In no other realm, does the issue of talented healthcare recruits become more pressing than it does in India? Therefore, in no other realm but this one, does the need for a suitable recruitment methodology become more imperative.
With that in mind, all of the above-mentioned tips are just tools which can enhance your selection process. One thing to keep in mind while selecting the candidates is that healthcare is a noble profession and why choosing quality candidates become an important part is that it affects the society at large. You as a recruiter have the onus of building a better, more efficient health care system and you must dole out your responsibilities in the same spirit of dedication. If the task seems overwhelming too much, you can always seek help from a healthcare recruitment consultant. They are responsible for matching candidates to clients and take a salary from the respective parties. And especially in nations like India, these expert recruitment services are of dire importance and urgency.
Kyra is a Hiring Director at Alliance Recruitment Agency – an IT Recruitment Agency. She specializes in helping with international recruiting, staffing in Dubai, hospitality recruitment services, HR services, and Careers advice service for overseas and international businesses.