How COVID-19 is Transforming Healthcare Recruitment

March 11, 2021 – As health systems recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they face an ever-worsening provider shortage. Last year, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicted the U.S. would see a shortfall of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032. Now, lost revenue due to the pandemic has caused many hospitals to furlough employees and slowed, or completely delayed, recruitment efforts, according to new report by Jordan Search Consultants (JSC). The end result: unprecedented demand for providers unlike what hospitals have ever dealt with before.

Even prior to the pandemic, healthcare leaders had been increasingly worried about their ability to fill key provider positions. According to J.P. Morgan’s 2019 Healthcare Industry Outlook, 97 percent of senior healthcare executives said they were concerned about the provider shortage and 35 percent listed it as one of their top three challenges.

The lack of funding from cancelled elective procedures and high costs associated with treating COVID-19 patients were financially devastating for healthcare systems around the country. In May, the American Hospital Association estimated that hospitals were losing more than $50 billion per month. The U.S. Labor Department reported that 1.4 million healthcare workers lost their jobs in April, the high of the pandemic. Nearly 135,000 of those job losses were in hospitals.

In its report, Jordan Search Consultants outlines some of the changes coming for healthcare recruiting and the ways recruitment firms employ innovative solutions to fill key roles in hospitals and health organizations.

Virtual Recruiting Will Become the Norm

“Some of the biggest challenges for recruiters during this time are travel restrictions and in-person meeting limitations,” Jordan Search Consultants said. “Just as many other industries have turned to virtual meetings, so have healthcare systems and recruiters.”

The firm also said that many health systems have pivoted to an entirely virtual recruitment process, using virtual job fairs and online job sites to identify potential candidates. “If the candidate is deemed a possible fit for the organization, they’ll advance to phone and Zoom video interviews with key decision makers,” the firm said. “Their final interview will take place in-person, with COVID-19 screening and social distancing guidelines.”

The innovation doesn’t end there. “In order to obtain buy-in from a candidate, the health systems offer video tours and photos of the facility they’ll be working in, as well as the opportunity to talk with future colleagues for a more personal look into the organization,” Jordan Search Consultants said. “Recruiters have also partnered with local realtors to provide candidates information on the community and available housing options—all through a virtual screen.”

Health Systems Will Shift Hiring Priorities, Optimize Screening Processes

The healthcare-focused search firm said that there is a staggering amount of provider positions that need to be replaced, and it is going to take an extended period of time to fill these roles. To ensure health systems are providing the best possible care to their patients, they will need to prioritize which key positions are on the top of their list.

This prioritization will also extend to the screening process. “Health systems and recruiters will need to work together to establish which skills and experience are most important in potential candidates,” Jordan Search Consultants said. “As telehealth continues to rise in popularity, possessing a virtual bedside manner will also become essential. Consulting with patients and colleagues through video will require providers to be highly attentive and empathetic. Recruiters will make greater use of behavioral interviewing to ensure candidates possess soft skills and high levels of emotional intelligence.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused major setbacks for health systems that were already contending with provider shortages. “However, they are not alone in their struggle,” Jordan Search Consultants said. “With the help of an experienced recruitment firm, advanced technology and streamlined recruitment practices, hospitals can recoup their losses and find talented individuals to provide the much-needed care our nation needs to heal and move forward.”

O’Fallon, MO-based executive recruiting firm Jordan Search Consultants was founded in 2003 and has a national reputation for providing state-of-the-art healthcare, executive and higher education recruitment solutions, while maintaining the flexibility to work with clients’ unique, evolving staffing needs. The firm ensures access to top candidates, accelerates time-to-fill, maximizes recruitment effectiveness, and enhances retention rates to provide a more streamlined, strategic approach to healthcare, executive and higher education recruitment.

It applies recruiting and placement methods across the full spectrum of healthcare settings including integrated health systems/ hospitals, medical groups, academic institutions, IPAs, ACOs, HMOs, health plans and non-profits (hospice, FQHCs, community health centers).