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Leading East Coast Healthcare System

A Strategic Approach to Healthcare Recruitment

What if... we could enable a deeper understanding of job seekers and the application experience in order to fill open roles with high-quality candidates?

Our client is a not-for-profit health system with medical centers, emergency rooms, and inpatient and outpatient facilities on the East Coast.

The front of an office building.

Staffing Shortages Left Critical Roles Unfilled

Both community hospitals and the nation’s largest healthcare networks are battling major staffing shortages and unparalleled competition for talent. Our client faced an additional challenge due to its largely rural geography and the false assumption that small town hospitals don’t provide as many advancement opportunities as their larger counterparts.

To address this challenge, the health system had made a significant investment in recruiting, but its programs were still not attracting enough applicants. Our client needed a strategic and comprehensive view of job seekers in order to identify their motivations and inform strategic guidance on recruiting healthcare talent with messages that resonate.

To address our client’s staffing shortages, we conducted a 360-degree assessment program that included:

  • In-depth interviews
  • Job seeker personas
  • Key messaging
  • Employer brand, job application, and social media audits
  • Competitive analysis
  • Quantitative research
Laptop screen showing doctor profiles.

Understanding the Ideal Candidate

The need to fill clinical roles with qualified candidates in a timely matter has a critical impact on the client’s revenue and ability to fulfill its mission. The organization needed to better understand the motivations, interests, and priorities of the candidates it sought, and then identify ways to target and fill open roles with highly-qualified individuals.

We began by conducting a series of one-on-one and small group interviews with recruiters and both clinical and non-clinical staff in manager, director, and VP roles. The goal was to better understand the health system’s current state of recruiting, identify candidate needs and preferences, and uncover opportunities for enhancing the prospective employee experience. We used these insights to inform strategic recommendations for building loyalty with both new recruits and seasoned professionals.

We also identified six recruitment personas within the following areas:

  • Multiple generational cohorts
  • Key demographics
  • Key positions within the organization
  • Groups that represent a unique targeting opportunity based on factors like location

Using the six personas, we built a messaging matrix, outlining the ideal messages and proof points that would most effectively resonate with each persona group.

Filling in the Knowledge Gaps With Experience Audits

Next, we conducted a series of in-depth audits to gain a 360-degree view of the application experience and to identify improvements that could increase conversions and optimize the candidate journey. These audits and analyses included:

  • Employer Brand Audit: We assessed the client’s brand and presence on primary job-seeker sites and then developed a high-level roadmap to improve its branding, messaging, and story on those sites.
  • Job Application Audit: We reviewed each step of the website application journey from the candidate’s perspective to identify experience gaps and inform a roadmap for an optimized, seamless, and compelling experience.
  • Social Media Audit: We evaluated social media recruiting strategies and best practices from multiple healthcare and other industry organizations to convey an authentic, unified story across all our client’s social channels and job boards.
  • Competitive Analysis: We reviewed local and national competitors’ career pages to help inform best practices and opportunities for optimization.
A woman working on a laptop.

Validating Assumptions With a Quantitative National Recruitment Survey

It was important to gather detailed insights into job seekers’ priorities, including tradeoffs they may be willing to make when considering a job, and what programs and messaging the health system could employ in order to attract them to apply for a position.

To accomplish this, we conducted a quantitative geotargeted survey of 300 healthcare workers and used the results to conduct statistical analyses to inform strategic recommendations and confirm what truly matters most to qualified candidates.

Our knowledge of the client’s hospital system and geographic position, combined with a deep understanding of the healthcare industry, uniquely equipped us to dig into the perspective of job seekers and deliver guidance that optimally positions the provider in a highly competitive job market. 


A woman checking her phone.

Designing a Better Candidate Experience 

Enabling a seamless and compelling application experience is key to capturing the full spectrum of prospective employees. Our client is now armed with a comprehensive view of the application experience and candidates’ preferences and can better communicate and meet their needs.

The 360-degree assessment program:

  • Identified experience gaps in the candidate application process
  • Provided an understanding of where job seekers are leaving the application journey funnel
  • Established go-to-market messages for recruiting campaigns, career pages, and job descriptions that will resonate with defined persona groups and better position our client as a choice employer

We’re a longtime strategic partner in helping to transform this health system’s digital consumer experience. Our knowledge of the client’s hospital system and geographic position, combined with a deep understanding of the healthcare industry, uniquely equipped us to dig into the perspective of job seekers and deliver guidance that optimally positions the provider in a highly competitive job market.

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