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  • Writer's pictureIlan Fluxman

Hiring in the competitive Behavioral Health market!

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent figures there are 1 272 000 job openings in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry. The second most out of any industry. In that same month only 666 000 people were employed. This means roughly 50% of all jobs are not being filled. That means that half of your vacancies will not be filled unless you do something different.

A quote often attributed to Einstein but more likely to come out of one of the 12 step communities is that “The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” We expect our clients to learn this- so why haven’t we applied it to our recruitment methodologies. Here are a few things you can do differently to ensure greater success in filling your vacancies:

You are not going to find the Purple Squirrel:

A Purple Squirrel is a recruitment industry term for the perfect candidate. This is when the candidate, the job description and the culture fit are a perfect match. The amount of times that this happens though is 0. It never happens, you are expecting the perfect storm that cannot develop. Usually I see this described as “I wish I could have this part of Bruce, that part of Mary and the culture fit of Michael” “Can you find me someone like that?” No- no I can’t- and nor can anyone- they don’t exist. You need to readjust your expectations. Make them more realistic- this is especially true during a tight labor market- but it is something to always bear in mind when filling a hard to fill role. The perfect candidate- or Purple Squirrel is not out there- so don’t waste your time or money looking for them. Determine what is truly important for the role. That is usually only about 60-70% of what is contained in the Job Description and look for people with that and the right attitude.

Make decisions quickly:

When someone is looking for a new position they are often interviewing at a few places. I have found that even when I am working with passive applicants- which is usually the case for me, I tend to plant a seed in their head and they also investigate a few other opportunities while engaging with my clients- it is human nature- we want to hedge our bets and ensure the best possible outcome for ourselves. This being a very competitive market- setting up an interview and then deciding on which candidate to go with quickly will give you an edge over your slower competitors. A good way to do this is to have set interview days and times. Set aside, say Tuesday and Friday Mornings, from 9 to 11 am for interviews. Block out this time in all your hiring managers and people who need to be part of the interview’s calendars. Should no interviews be scheduled- they have time to catch up on some work, let’s face it, we could all use an extra 4 hours a week to do this. But if there are interviews- then everybody is available as soon as a maximum of 3 days’ time. Set up all interviews on the same day or at the very least in the same week so that a decision as to who to go with can be made that same week. This method will greatly enhance your hiring process and will improve your reputation with applicants. In a recent Glassdoor publication- 50% of candidates listed cancelled or postponed interviews as one of their biggest frustrations. 47% of them listed their biggest frustration as a slow response time.

All Onboard!

Onboarding is another way you can stand out from your competitors. According to CareerBuilder, as many as 30% of all staff feel that they are not onboarded, trained or prepared for their new positions adequately and a further 10% of them, leave due to this. The first few months of a new employee’s career with you are their most sensitive. It is the time that losing them is the greatest- so put practices into place to ensure this does not happen. Have a planned onboarding strategy. Meet with them often and find out how they are doing. Ensure they are adequately trained for the job and more so- ensure that they know what is expected of them- don’t assume they know- they most often don’t.

It is not all about you!

Gone are the days when employment was all about the company. Don’t get me wrong- it is still about the company needs and finding the best people for the company- but more and more these days the candidates are in the driving seat. It is what the market demands. You can fight it- to your detriment- or you can embrace it and use this knowledge to your benefit. You can very easily use this knowledge to make your company an employer of choice. People would much rather work for a company they know cares about and listens to them. So, do that- talk to them, ask them what they want and put it into practice. Here are some idea’s as to what today’s employees are looking for- but again- don’t assume this is what they want- ask them- and if it is doable- give it to them: Telecommuting, not possible for all positions all the time, but certainly possible for some positions some of the time. 4 day weeks, again- some positions, some of the time. A big one- a flexible work schedule, where possible- implement it. Money talks- look at retention bonuses, sign on bonuses especially for hard to fill roles. Profit sharing or shares in the company, annual or quarterly bonuses.

Too few companies have recruitment strategies and keep recruitment at the top of their agendas- which is strange- because it is such crucial part of your business. Wherever possible- work with a professional, an expert headhunter who can help you implement the above strategies and work within them. The cost of using a professional is much lower than the potential losses and miss-hire costs of not using one.

About the Author:

Ilan Fluxman, author and CEO of Rocket Science Recruitment, has two decades of experience in professional recruiting. During the past five years, he has directed his focus specifically on behavioral health. Having firsthand experience of working in multiple facets of this industry, he is dedicated to utilizing his recruiting knowledge and expertise in headhunting to better equip businesses find talented team members. He is passionate about helping overcome the challenges in this important field so people's quality of life can be improved on both the professional levels of those working in the behavioral health industry, and for the patients seeking help.

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