20 Secrets Healthcare Recruiters Don’t Want You to Know
In Job Search
March 5, 2019
Healthcare recruitment is in the middle of an interesting dilemma as increased demand, salaries, and benefits clash with decreased hiring rates and recruitment budgets.
Recruitment in healthcare this year, and going forward, is going to center around efficiency and applicant quality. While this might seem like it doesn’t relate to you, the truth to the matter is that it puts more power in the hands of job seekers than ever before. There are so many different things that you can do to increase your chances of securing a job and landing the healthcare job of your dreams. The secrets we’re going to cover in this article will help you increase the chances of landing that hospital job. There are plenty of negotiation and job search secrets that healthcare recruiters don’t want you to know, which can ultimately improve your chances of landing that job. With the increased costs involved with high turnover rates, the physician and nursing shortages, and slow budget growth, job seekers should take the following points into account when searching for their next position.
1. Job applicants per position are stagnating
While the overall number of jobs in the healthcare industry have consistently grown over the past several years, recruitment has become stagnant and increased the time it takes to fill a position. Employers are looking for more qualified applicants to fit their positions to combat increasing turnover rates as well.
Job seekers in this market would be wise to tailor their resume and cover letters for individual job postings or jobs of a specific category, ensuring that their experiences and qualifications match as closely as possible while avoiding manufactured information.
As the number of job applicants per position are stagnating due to the competitive employment realm, job seekers have an increased chance of landing the jobs that they are applying for. The reason for the decreased number of job seekers or job applicants per open position is because the unemployment rate is steadily declining across the country. Compound this with the healthcare industry where the unemployment rate is even lower than the rest of the country because of the constantly-expanding healthcare industry.
Even though the number of applicants per position is stagnating or declining, it doesn’t mean that it’s any less competitive. Instead, you just know from a negotiation standpoint that you potentially have more leverage than they believe you have. In some cases, the competition ramps up because there are fewer candidates to choose from, and each candidate needs to truly stand out amongst the thinner competition to be seen as the ideal candidate. If you’re seen as the ideal candidate to them, and you are asking for a little bit more over the course of the negotiation – you have more leverage than the recruiter because they don’t have many other solid candidates to turn you down for.
Use the reduced number of candidates per application to secure your footing in the negotiation room with healthcare recruiters.
2. Salaries are increasing
With the increase in demand for qualified healthcare professionals, salary and benefits packages are on the rise in an effort to attract new this new talent. The impending physician and nursing shortage have highlighted the demand for these positions, and employers are looking for new ways to incentivize potential employees.
Add in the murkiness created by the current administration’s never-ending discussion of healthcare reform, without producing anything solid to replace the current system, and its easy to see why employers may be hesitant to go on major hiring sprees. Employers want to hire solid employees who fit well into their positions and aren’t looking elsewhere any time soon.
This means that healthcare recruiters, employers, hiring managers, healthcare facilities, and hospitals are willing to pay a higher salary to ensure that they can attract and retain the best talent who will stay with the organization for the foreseeable future. On average, healthcare professionals earn significantly more than their peers in other industries when comparing their work experience and education. To learn more about potential salaries that you can earn or negotiate for when conducting a healthcare job search, take a look at our comprehensive Job Salary Trends for over 100 healthcare jobs and healthcare careers.
3. Hiring budgets are stagnating
Although the total number of job openings has increased, budgets for hiring professionals have become stagnant or only increase slightly. In an effort by employers to decrease turnover rates by ensuring that the employee is a match for the position and decreasing long-term costs of hiring, human resource officers are being asked to do more with tighter budgets.
Struggling between increased demand and trying to decrease turnover, employers are trying to make every dime count when it comes to their recruitment efforts. In other words, healthcare recruiters don’t have the excess budget they used to have in the past where they can drag out their recruiting efforts for a long period of time. This means that they have less time to find the ideal candidate than ever before.
An example of how this is affecting healthcare recruiters is also in the number of recruiting campaigns or recruiting advertisements they can run on different platforms. In the old days, healthcare recruiters could have tens of different recruiting efforts going on at any given time and they could source candidates from a variety of sources. In today’s world, the budgets are so tight that they can’t afford to do that anymore. In addition, they can no longer afford to have a job remain open for 60 or 90 days. With the rapid expansion of the healthcare industry and constant demand for healthcare professionals who can step in and begin functioning immediately, recruiters need to source candidates effectively and hire them quickly. This means that employers need to do all that they can to affordably source candidates using the best techniques that help sift through the spam applicants. Knowing this means that job seekers can leverage their positions more effectively because they know that recruiters have more pressure to select a candidate from the ones that applied instead of dragging it out for a long time.
4. Niche-specific job boards account for 75% of recruitment
Use niche job boards, like HospitalCareers.com, accounts for 75% of healthcare recruitment in 2017. Large job sites like Indeed, Monster, and Careerbuilder are littered with spam and job listings that bear no resemblance to the position you’re seeking. The reason for this is because these large job boards are now making it easier than ever for applicants to apply to jobs with just one click. While this might be great for those job seekers who want to quickly apply for a host of jobs, the problem with this is that this method also produces a lot of spam candidates.
With the industry focused on hiring more highly-qualified candidates, it makes sense that the industry-centric job sites will take precedence over those that are all-purpose. In addition, it makes more sense for recruiters to use these niche job boards that don’t allow one-click apply methods and focus on the quality of candidate. Recruiters are looking for the best bang for their buck moving forward, and sites like HospitalCareers provide that.
This means that as a job seeker, you can ultimately improve your chances of landing a job because more healthcare recruiters are turning to niche job boards to source quality candidates. You don’t have to worry about getting buried underneath spam applications on the other large sites we mentioned above, and instead can increase your chances of landing a job by using tailored industry job board solutions.
5. ATS’s are limiting applicants
No job seeker likes to submit their information on multiple different sites to apply for a few different jobs, which is the exact problem created by the applicant tracking systems used by hospital employers. The problem with modern applicant tracking systems is that they can act like a deterrent for qualified candidates with the new methods that they’re implementing throughout the development of the Applicant Tracking System. It acts as a wall that deters applicants from applying and leads to a smaller pool of potentially qualified applicants. The reason for this is because Applicant Tracking Systems are adding more barriers for each job seeker when they’re filling out their respective jobs.
Healthcare recruiters ought to be searching for solutions to this problem, but many are holding back due to lack of manpower or budgetary restrictions. If the hiring budgets are stagnant, it’s safe to say that the HR department budgets aren’t increasing either.
One such example of this is in how job seekers have to fill out more pages and sections in their applicant tracking system than ever before.
In addition, new technology is helping healthcare recruiters sort through candidates to make their job a little bit easier. One way that candidates are now being evaluated in these applicant tracking systems is through the identification of relevant keywords in the resume, cover letter, and application. If the application, cover letter, or resume don’t match a lot of the same keywords that are listed in the job description, then the candidate automatically gets rejected.
This means that candidates who are extremely qualified for a position might automatically get rejected in the event that the candidate does not meet the exact specifications that the applicant tracking system is checking for. While this is bad news for those candidates who are applying to these applicant tracking system, there is also a way for job seekers to get around these applicant tracking systems and use them to their advantage.
Job seekers should always rewrite their resume and cover letter based on the job that they are applying for to pull some of the keywords or keyword phrases in the job posting to stand out as the ideal candidate. When they do this with an applicant tracking system that pulls from the resume and cover letter of the applicant, they can also get highlighted by the applicant tracking system as being the ideal match.
6. They always lowball the initial offer
An important thing to remember that healthcare recruiters don’t want you to know is that they always lowball the initial offer. It’s important to remember the position that recruiters are in. There are two types of recruiters, 1.) recruiters who work directly for the hiring company, and 2.) recruiters who are working based on a contract to source potential candidates. In the event that you’re interacting with a recruiter who works for the employer, they are going to do all they can to get a better deal for the employer.
This means that from the top down, they’re given guidelines on what salary they could potentially offer to the candidates that they like. Which seems like a better option? “I got the perfect nursing candidate at a reasonable salary,” or “I got a good candidate, but they want a fortune to work here.”
Obviously, the first option is more attractive to hiring executives. Now that you know that an initial offer is always a lowball option, you can counter with more money because you know that if the company truly wants you, they’ll negotiate with you on a more attractive salary and compensation package.
In addition, recruiters who work as a contract client for sourcing candidates for employers will do all they can to find candidates that are more attractive than some of the other contract clients the employer has to evaluate. At any given time, employers will source multiple different recruiting agencies to hire for open positions. If the position has been open for quite some time, then there might be a bunch of other different third-party competition.
For these recruiters, they typically earn 20% of the salary for the candidates they recruit if the candidate is still employed after 90 days. Even though it behooves them to get you a higher salary because they get a larger cut of your salary if you’re kept on after 90 days, it is still a harder sell for them to recommend you as the ideal candidate when you’re asking for more money.
Because of this, third-party recruiters might even talk you down from asking for more money or asking for better benefits and compensation package. In fact, they might even recommend that you take the lowball initial offer.
7. They Cyberstalk You Before Reaching Out or Interviewing You
Before healthcare recruiters even begin reaching out to you to ask for an interview or push your name forward as a potential candidate for an open position, they do their research and background evaluation. One way that healthcare recruiters increasingly narrow down their potential candidate pool is by perusing your social media profiles and attempting to identify any potential problems or concerns with the candidate. When a healthcare recruiter or any recruiter for that matter potentially recommend a job seeker for a position, they are also putting their own reputation on the line.
Because recruiters and healthcare recruiters use their reputation for future contracts or future hiring recommendations, their reputation is everything. In other words, healthcare recruiters nearly cyberstalk potential candidates to evaluate whether or not the job seeker is a professional candidate, and if the candidate is one that they should recommend.
There are several ways that a healthcare recruiter might cyberstalk you. The first way is to do a Google search on your name and a couple of positions you’ve listed in the past. In doing so, they’re trying to find any news outlets or profiles that you’ve had where you listed those positions. If you’ve ever had a bad story written about you, this will be one of the first ways that healthcare recruiters will be able to find out about it and learn whether or not it seems you’ve been trying to cover it up or hide it from them.
Another way in which healthcare recruiters will cyberstalk you is by searching and reviewing any social media profiles you have. If your profile is public, you can expect them to go through previous posts, images, likes, follows, and more to determine whether or not you could potentially have any issues or if you’re not exactly telling the full truth.
In the event that your profile is private, you should still expect to be cyberstalked when you’re applying for positions — and should immediately clean up your profile of anything that is unfavorable or doesn’t put you in the brightest light possible.
One way that you can spot some potential problems when you’re getting ready to clean your profile is to conduct a Google search and do all of the steps we’ve highlighted above on your own. When you’re cleaning and pruning your profile, you can also make it so that you stand out amongst the other candidates that they cyberstalk in a positive way.
As an example, if you’re applying for Registered Nursing jobs, then you can have some posts on your profile about how much you love being a nurse and how you can’t wait to help more patients the next day, so on and so forth. The trick here is that you don’t want to appear inauthentic or fake. You want to be natural about it and make sure that your focus is on not having anything on your profile which can automatically disqualify yourself from future consideration for any position.
Throughout the course of the cyberstalking, healthcare recruiters might also reach out to prior employers to get a gauge on what kind of employee you were, your attitudes, how long you held the positions, and more. This is them just doing their due diligence in regards to what kind of employee you might make or become if they recommended you for the position that you applied for. Your former companies cannot legally talk badly about you, but they can attest to what kind of employee you were and how long you worked there.
8. Recruiters Might Steer You In One Direction
We’ve all been in a scenario where it feels like the recruiter and you aren’t on the same page. In fact, it tends to happen more often than you realize. The problem for this is that the recruitment industry is incredibly fluid. Positions are opened, filled, or closed due to different circumstances at any given time. The situation can also rapidly change if the healthcare recruiter is being contracted by one of their clients recently, even though the job has been open for quite some time.
This means that the healthcare recruiter might not have been the first outside assistance they’ve sought when trying to fill the position. Even if a healthcare recruiter recently posted a position, by the time they get to interviewing you the position could have already been filled by one of their competitors or someone else on a different team. In the event that happens, healthcare recruiters like to interview potential candidates regardless because they add them to a talent pool. They can then use that talent pool whenever another opening is available and recommend job seekers who they have already reviewed and developed a relationship with.
This way, they can reduce the amount of legwork they have to do when future positions are available. In the event that they really like you or they need to fill another position quickly, they might even steer you to applying or considering that position over the one that you’ve applied to.
Unfortunately, this is a bad tactic that turns off many job seekers from working with recruiters, because they often feel like the recruiter doesn’t have the best interest of the job seeker in mind. In some cases, that’s true. In other cases, healthcare recruiters understand the different roles in the industry and they’ve dealt with enough candidates and job seekers to know who can fit in different positions even if it’s ones they didn’t apply for.
In the event that you feel a healthcare recruiter is steering you to something you don’t want to do, you have to remind yourself that the healthcare recruiter is most likely getting paid based on the number of positions they fill and how fast they fill them. Typically, they only get paid if you achieve that 90-day mark we highlighted earlier. If you’re worried about burning bridges because you don’t want to consider the position they are pushing, just remind them that you would feel more comfortable in similar roles that you applied to — and they would be in line with positions that you felt you were strongest for.
9. There Are Right and Wrong Answers To The Open-Ended Questions They Ask
One common interview technique is to ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are a great way for interviewers, hiring managers, and healthcare recruiters to understand a little bit more about you. Open-ended questions allow job seekers to explain themselves a little bit more, talk about their passions, highlight what interests them in a potential career, and more.
The problem with open-ended questions for job seekers is that it creates potential missteps when answering questions. You might have previously indicated that you’re a very communicative and social individual, but respond in the open-ended questions that you prefer to keep to yourself or that you’d rather do busy work than work together in a team environment. In other words, even though healthcare recruiters might express or previously told you that open-ended questions won’t affect your interview results, ultimately they do impact the consideration they have for you in the position.
Some questions that are designed to trip you up through the interview are questions like these, “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”, “What would you consider your biggest weaknesses?”, “Do you enjoy working in a team environment or working in a cubicle?”, or “What are your biggest strengths?”
It’s important to remember that recruiters are using open-ended questions to evaluate whether or not you’d be a good fit for the position. If you accidentally slip up or fail to say something that the healthcare recruiter was hoping you’d say, you might automatically get disqualified from future consideration or significantly decrease the chances that you’ll get hired for the position.
10. Recruiters Work For The Company First
One thing that we’ve touched on several times throughout our secrets that recruiters don’t want you to know is that recruiters often work for the company first. Healthcare recruiters might make it seem as if they are on your side and that they are working for your best interest. And while that is most certainly true, it’s important to remember that they are also working for the company that they’re being employed by. Whether they are a contracted recruiter or a direct recruiter working in the human resource department of the hospital or healthcare facility that you’re applying through, they are working for the benefit of that company first and foremost.
Healthcare recruiters might make it seem as if they are going to go above and beyond to find you a role and help you get hired. While there are some that will help you get a job, most of them are trying to find the best fit for the position itself. Their role as a recruiter is to identify talent that would help the company meet its objectives. For recruiters, the ultimate goal is to have an employee stay in a position. This might be the 90 days required to get paid for outside contracted recruiters, or much longer for those recruiters who work directly in the human resource department. Just remember that you have to look out for yourself during the recruitment and interview process, and understand that the recruiter has a job that they perform for the company as well.
11. You Should Always Work With Multiple Recruiters
As we’ve just mentioned, working with a recruiter might seem like they’re going to be doing a lot of work on your behalf. In some cases they might mention you for a couple positions and then move on if they haven’t heard any interest for you. In other cases, you could directly pay someone to help you with your job search. The important thing to remember is that the job search process and your job search efforts directly rely on you maximizing your different options. This includes working with a host of different recruiters.
The recruiting industry is filled with recruiters who work for different recruitment companies or on the behalf of several employers. In some cases, multiple companies could be contracted to fill the same positions. This way, multiple recruiters from different companies are actively competing against one another for the same positions. You can use this to your advantage. If you interview with one recruiter and they believe that you’re not the best fit for the position, there might be another recruiter from a competitor who does believe that you’re the best fit for the position.
Working with multiple recruiters is a great way for you to maximize your chances of landing the position. If you accidentally slip up and tell the recruiter that you’re working with other recruiters or that other companies are trying to help you find a job, don’t feel bad about it. Just reiterate that you’re trying to find employment soon, and that you need to do what’s best for you and your career. Most recruiters will understand this, and will work with you so you can both find a position that meets your skill set.
12. They’ll Only Work With You If They Feel They Can Place You
Throughout this article we’ve highlighted how recruiters are often working for their employer, and for themselves. Another way in which recruiters will often work for themselves is by telling you that they’re going to go head over heels trying to find you a job. They might look for a couple positions and then quickly move on to the next candidate who comes across their desk the next day.
The problem with the modern recruitment industry is that healthcare recruiters showcase some favoritism based on the number of candidates who can actively be placed quickly. The more candidates they place, the more money they ultimately earn.
If you come across as difficult to work with during the interview, or you don’t have many skills that would make you a good fit for several different positions – then they’re going to struggle finding you a job. If they struggle finding you a job or finding employers who might be interested in moving forward with you as a candidate, then their productivity is going to suffer. Healthcare recruiters have to deal with several different recruiting efforts at any given time, which means they are under constant pressure to perform.
If they feel you’re going to be an uphill battle when it comes to finding a job, then they’ll move on to other candidates who they can place faster. One great way to ensure that recruiters do all they can to help you find a job is to demonstrate all the skills you possess, how valuable you can be, and demonstrate how employable you are.
13. Your Personality Is What Matters
The biggest challenge for job seekers is the realization that your personality means a whole lot. Your experience, education, and skills are incredibly valuable – but they can only shine when your personality aligns with them. The professional world, especially the healthcare industry, requires teamwork to maximize productivity. If you come off as abrasive or difficult to work with, then no amount of skills, experience, or education are going to help you land a position or have any recruiter want to work with you in potentially finding a job.
On the contrary, if you are significantly lacking in your skills, experience, or education — your personality can help cover up some of those lesser aspects and help you secure a job that you’re not necessarily qualified for.
The key thing to remember is that recruiters and hiring managers ultimately make their decision based on a gut feeling when they get to know you. That gut feeling is largely in part due to your personality. One question to ask yourself is, “How can I be more likable?” One way that you can be more likeable to the recruiter that you’re working with is to work towards building a relationship with them. Try to build a connection that they can then recall when they’re trying to narrow down their candidate pool.
If you provide a strong impression and develop a relationship with the recruiter, then you can significantly increase your chances of landing that job that you’ve been hoping to land.
14. Recruiters Are Under Constant Pressure To Perform
The recruitment industry is incredibly competitive. Often times recruiting companies will hire more recruiters than they can handle at any give time. The thought behind this is that if they have more recruiters who can potentially source candidates and then ultimately get those candidates placed, they can ultimately increase revenues and then increase their own profits. The problem with this, is that the recruitment industry isn’t always guaranteed.
There isn’t always only one company that does recruitment for an employer – in many cases it’s several different recruiting companies. This means that not only are recruiters potentially competing within their own organization, they are potentially competing with outside organizations fighting to fill the same positions.
This competitive environment can mean that the pressure is always on for healthcare recruiters to fill roles or positions that they have been assigned to. That pressure only ramps up if they have been successfully sourcing candidates, but the candidates they source aren’t staying past 90 days. In some scenarios, recruiters are going to be short with you or be rude, and it’s important to remember that they are under a lot of pressure to perform and that it might not always be directed at you.
It might seem that they’re being rude to you, and you could potentially be considering severing the professional relationship or moving on because the recruiter was rude, but that would be a mistake. Over time recruiters will become accustomed to the pressure and will help you in finding a role where you can succeed.
15. Recruiters Are Sales People
One thing that many recruiters will never tell you, or hope that you find out is that they are actually sales people. Recruiters are in charge of representing you in front of their client or employer. This means that they are going to be tasked with providing reasons as to why the employer or client should consider moving forward with you. Recruiters are trying to make it obvious that they should choose you over some of the other ones that they are considering Does this sound familiar to you?
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s exactly what sales people try and do. Sales people try and point out all the benefits a particular product or service can provide, and why you should move forward in the purchase process. Change a couple words and the same thing can apply to recruiters in the employment industry. The recruiter is in charge of selling you as the best candidate for the position to their client or their employer.
The only way a recruiter can effectively sell you as the best candidate is if you give them enough information or reason as to why they should sell you as the best candidate. The best way to give them enough to sell to their client or employer is to repeatedly remind them that you’re the best candidate because you have all of the skills needed, you have relevant experience, and you’re likable.
16. Recruiters Have Moved On If They Don’t Contact You
Recruiters often say that they will follow up with you and will recommend future jobs or let you know the status of your application in a couple of days or a week or two. The difficult thing is knowing whether or not the recruiter is still planning on following up with you or still plan on representing you in a couple of weeks if you never hear back from them. This can be quite nerve wracking during the job search process, but there is one way to identify where you stand in the whole situation.
If a recruiter doesn’t follow up with you, you can safely assume that they have moved on and are not going to push your name forward in the application or consideration process. It’s always a good idea to follow up at least once to check on the status, but you don’t want to pester them and annoy them. If they feel like you’re pestering them or annoying them about where you stand, you’ll only hurt your chances in the long run when it comes to earning that position.
17. You Can Negotiate
Another secret that recruiters don’t want you to know when you’re going through the job search process is that you can negotiate. Often times they can pressure you to believing that you only have one offer on the table, and that it is in fact the final offer. This, quite simply, isn’t true. In fact, you should always be willing to negotiate when you finally have an offer or they offer you a chance to move forward in the consideration process.
Recruiters can tell you that you don’t have any negotiating room for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are worried that the negotiation process will mean that you’re going to be disqualified by the employer because your demands are too much, or they are too nervous to negotiate on your behalf with the employer. Regardless of the situation, it’s important to remember that you are negotiating on your behalf, and the only person who has the ability to stand up for yourself and get what you want in your career is you.
18. Recruiters Try To Build Their Own List
As we’ve covered earlier, job postings aren’t always open or available because the job search and fulfillment process is a fluid system. Jobs are opening and closing frequently as new positions become available or are filled by other recruiters. In the event that you’ve applied to a position and learn that the job has been filled, they might push you to pursue another opportunity like we have covered earlier. In the other scenario, the job was posted so the recruiter could collect resumes, applications, and cover letters that they can then use to build up their own list of candidates for potential positions in the future.
In addition, recruiters will use this list of potential candidates to potentially drum up new clients that they can recruit for by saying, “We have this list of applicants who we’ve vetted and established relationships with, we can fill your positions quickly!”
While it can be incredibly disappointing to find out that the job posting you’ve applied to isn’t available now, you shouldn’t automatically disqualify the opportunities in the future. The recruiter could contact you in the future once they do learn of new opportunities or have secured additional recruitment contracts.
19. Credentials and Certifications Still Matter
You might have heard along the way in your job search that certain credentials or certifications aren’t that important anymore. While that might be true in the eyes of an employer, they are still incredibly important in the eyes of a recruiter. Recruiters are looking for candidates who they deem are the best fit for the position. Recruiters are always asking themselves, “Which candidate will give me the best chance to fill this position and get paid?”
Even if credentials, certifications, or additional licenses are no longer needed in the industry – recruiters will look at them and give certain job seekers bonus points if they have them because it’s another thing they could potentially sell to employers or the client that they are representing. If you do have any credentials or certifications that you can include on your resume, cover letter, or application, you should include them for another thing to help you stand out and be seen as the best candidate.
20. Recruiters Quickly Browse Through Resumes
Another important secret that recruiters don’t want you to know is that they quickly browse and evaluate resumes. On the odd chance that they are not directly using an ATS to sort the applications and resumes for them, they will quickly peruse them and then make a split second decision on whether or not to move forward with your application.
Research has shown that the average recruiter will only look at a resume for five to seven seconds before they make a decision on whether or not to advance your application and name in the consideration process. This means that you only have a few crucial seconds to captivate the recruiter and convince them that they should move forward with your name.
The best way to ensure that you stand out in your resume is to use a lot of stats, achievements, and follow the proper format. For more information on what you can do to structure your resume for success, take a look at our comprehensive Resume Guide.
( Article / Content Updated 2019 )