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What Contributes to the Lengthy Process of Hiring Medical Professionals in the US?

The US healthcare industry has increasingly long recruitment lead times. While this can be reduced by using a physician staffing company such as (more on this later), the average of 49 days found in a 2017 report is an increase of 10 days compared to the 2001-03 period. This is particularly driven by the long time-to-fill rates of most specialist positions, including up to 250 days to fill certain clinical roles in hospitals. Factors that contribute to this include red tape, and the time it takes to review applications and to check relevant candidate credentials. At the same time, some healthcare roles never get recruited and the industry has one of the lowest fill rates, along with education.

While hiring in the US still takes less time than the averages found in Europe and the United Kingdom, it’s nevertheless important to explore what can be done to improve this process.

Candidate sourcing

According to half of healthcare recruiters, one of the main reasons for the lengthy recruitment process is the time it takes to source the right candidates. This is where the above-mentioned specialist medical recruiters can help. They work with large databases of candidates actively looking for work across all levels and profiles within the healthcare industry. This can help to ameliorate the talent shortage we are seeing in the healthcare sector. Medical recruitment specialists can not only find suitable candidates based on pre-agreed criteria, but they can also help to draw up job descriptions and do the front-end selection through initial assessment and interviews. This means that the healthcare institution only spends time reviewing applications from pre-approved candidates, as opposed to everyone who applies.

Hiring policies and red tape

The hiring policies of healthcare employers can have a big impact on the length of the interview process. Multi-step screening approaches including group panel interviews, candidate presentations, as well as post-interview red tape such as background checks, all contribute to the time-to-fill rates. Long waiting times post-interview can be a source of frustration for candidates, too, who report losing interest in the role if those delays are excessive. Given that multiple employers will be trying to attract the best candidates in the marketplace, it makes sense for all organizations to review their hiring practices and tighten the process where possible. The size of the organization matters too, with surveys showing that the larger the healthcare provider, the longer it typically takes to fill its vacant positions.

A balancing act

For any employer, including those in the healthcare sector, having positions vacant for too long can mean a loss of productivity and possibly a loss of revenue. Patients don’t like healthcare providers which are understaffed and are likely to take their business elsewhere. At the same time, hiring in haste and ending up with a candidate who isn’t right for the role or is a poor fit for the organization can mean an increase in staff turnover and costs of repeated recruitment. This means that all employers face a careful balancing act between managing the length of their recruitment process and protecting the actual outcomes of it.

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