Opinion

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Skills Exchange

Recruitment health: Hiring for keeps

By Lee-Martin Seymour

We have all experienced “the one that got away.” You have found the ideal candidate, spent weeks convincing him or her to join you, and invested in training and professional development—only to find that 12 months later the employee has left you for a bigger pay packet, a better office or just a change of scenery.

You feel cheated and let down, frustrated that your investment has come to nothing and, worst of all, you are back to square one—sorting through resumes, interviewing candidates and checking references—and maybe paying recruiters all over again.

Lives are at stake
In an environment in which resources are limited and poor hiring outcomes mean more than just lost revenue, finding the right candidates for the right roles is critical. Health care organizations are people-based, meaning the commitment and quality of the employees is a key factor in an organization’s success.

Furthermore, health recruitment is mor
e time intensive and costly than recruitment in other sectors, requiring increased rigour in reference checking and additional levels of security throughout the recruitment process. At the end of the day, lives are at stake.

It is important that staff are confident they are investing in people with the skills, integrity and personality to fit the role and the organization. That is why once you have a great team, retention is as important as recruitment. However, many organizations are not retaining staff as efficiently as they should, meaning they are missing out on the best talent and experiencing higher-than-necessary turnover as badly vetted candidates become inappropriate hires.

Recruitment helps drive retention
Retention is important to any organization, and it rests upon one key factor—great recruitment. Hiring top, and appropriate, talent will massively reduce longer-term HR issues, and help to retain the best people.

The first srccm-hire2tep in good retention is recruiting extremely good talent. You should seek candidates who add “extreme value” to the organization. By this, I mean people who go beyond ticking the required boxes on the application—they need to be passionate about working in the organization and committed to learning. Their skills, attitude and experience should fit the role perfectly and add value to the team’s existing skill mix.

Second, ensure cultural fit. A candidate’s ability to work effectively within your culture—and your organization’s ability to make that individual happy and productive—is every bit as important as skills and experience. When selling a job to a candidate, you should be selling the story of the organization and its culture, not just the day-to-day tasks. You must thoroughly understand a candidate’s personality to ensure he or she is going to want to stay.

Third, check references effectively and efficiently. This is an important step that many hiring managers and recruiters neglect. Yet, it is critical in ensuring your understanding of the candidate is accurate and that the assertions that person made in the interviews are true. Without great referencing, you cannot successfully complete the first two parts of this process—and without fast, efficient referencing, great candidates will be snapped up before you make a job offer, and you will lose access to the cream of the crop.

Checking references
But reference checking is a simple process, right? Wrong. The current system of checking references is slow, resource-heavy and fraught with risk. When checking references over the phone, how do you know you are talking to the right person, and how do you record and use the information provided? The information gathered in this process is often inconsistent, immeasurable and occasionally simply irrelevant. I know many organizations that have made misguided recruitment decisions based on hand-scribbled notes instead of solid data.

People lie. Recent research with job-seekers showed that 71 per cent of candidates are willing to lie to potential employers, including exaggerating experience and qualifications, employment dates and job titles, and asking referees to lie for them.

It is slow—resulting in lost candidates. Often recruiters can take up to two weeks to compete a reference check—especially in the under-resourced not-for-profit sector. Research has shown that 84 per cent of candidates apply to more than one employer at a time, and 42 per cent have abandoned applications due to delays in reference checking.

It is risky. Reference checking leaves organizations open to risk through unwitting discriminatory questions (or fraudulent candidates). Health care providers and not-for-profit organizations cannot afford to sustain the reputational damage caused by fraudulent candidates. Almost one-third (29 per cent) of referees are asked for inappropriate details about a candidate, such as the candidate’s age, marital status or sexual orientation.

Can an automated solution help with retention?
As I say to my clients almost every day, great recruitment makes for better retention. There are a variety of ways that a faster, more consistent data-collection tool can help you recruit and retain great talent.

Speed: The best hiring decisions are based on solid data that allows them to be made quickly and with confidence. Efficient decision-making means no lost talent as you wait weeks for a reference check.

Better hiring decisions: Automated reference checking offers employers better-quality, more consistent data to make educated hiring decisions, more quickly and more often.

Better governance: Fraudulent references are unfortunately more common than many think. Solutions that include multiple automated checks and balances can help catch fraudulent candidates before they are hired.

Happier hires: Better data and insights on candidates from the outset helps employers to manage employees more effectively over time, and ultimately improves the retention of great talent.

Happier HR staff: Reference checking is a significant pain point for HR professionals and recruiters. Automating the process allows them to add value to other areas of their role, such as candidate selection or identifying potentially passive hires. This will, in turn, aid in retaining these key staff members.

Recruitment is the critical success factor in retention. Get it right, and you solve many of your HR problems before they begin. Get it wrong, and you expose yourself to avoidable costs and unnecessary risks.

With consistent and accurate data on candidates, it is no longer necessary to make hiring decisions based on instinct or gut feeling. Health care is on the cutting edge of innovation in so many ways—it is time health care HR became part of that trendsetting journey.

Lee-Martin Seymour is the CEO and co-founder of Xref. He is known for his passion for pioneering positive change in the employment sector.

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