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In a Candidate-Driven Market, HIT Hiring Managers Can Still Land Top Talent

August 10, 2017
by Frank Myeroff, President, Direct Consulting Associates
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It’s no secret that the growth in healthcare technology has been outpacing the talent supply. The competition for technical talent is fierce. Hiring managers are scrambling to fill open positions and oftentimes, without success. One big reason is that HIT professionals are getting as many as 20 recruiting calls per day. It’s a candidate-driven market and they have the latitude to be very selective.  Another reason is that your organization’s hiring process may be outdated, and therefore, no longer effective.  Making a few changes to meet these challenges might just be the solution:

Know your needs. Prior to announcing your open HIT opportunity or interviewing candidates, you need to develop a job description with selection criteria. The job description should provide a clear understanding of the job’s duties and minimal requirements. For example, if you’re looking for a software implementation specialist, you may need a candidate to have 3-plus years of experience in implementing software in a healthcare setting with 3-plus years configuration experience on Facets, HealthRules, Trizetto, Diamond, Amisys advance, or similar system. In addition, you need to make sure the job’s duties align with your organization’s vision. Time spent on creating a concise picture of the hard and soft skills, education, and IT experience required of a candidate and how they will fit best into your environment will have a pay-off; namely that you and the candidate will be on the same page, leaving no room for ambiguity. You don’t want to lose your shot at choice talent due to a misunderstanding over job related functions and requirements.

Speed up the hiring process. In the overall tech sector, unemployment is currently less than 2 percent, meaning the number of American technology professionals actively seeking employment is extremely low. For healthcare tech-related jobs, there aren't enough qualified candidates to fill the growing number of positions.  So, it’s not surprising that when a passive or active HIT professional is ready to make a job change, they get snatched up quickly. In fact, they are often off the market within 10 days. Therefore, your organization needs to move quickly. It’s time to rethink the length of their hiring process. The mindset that a longer hiring process is helpful because it ensures they have adequate time to compare candidates and ensure that they are hiring the right person for the position, is so yesterday.A longer hiring process will only cause an organization to completely miss out on nearly every in-demand HIT candidate.

Offer attractive compensation. In a candidate-driven market, you’re at risk of losing top candidates by offering a mediocre compensation package. Therefore, before you even start interviewing for a position, you need to do your due diligence and come up with the best and appropriate combinations of salary, annual incentives, long-term incentives and benefits. You may find that generous, even outrageous, offers are being made for qualified HIT candidates, including large base salaries, bonuses, stock options and many other perks.  Payscale.com is a good resource since it provides up-to-date information on the salary for healthcare IT professionals. Remember, candidates don’t just look for a reasonable paycheck. They want a package with different types of compensation.

Provide great candidate experience. A great candidate experience has become an integral part of the hiring process for every industry and organization including those in HIT. Don’t underestimate the importance of it. The experience begins even before a candidate walks through your door with such things as a full explanation of the job, frequent contact, and rundown of your specific hiring process. Even little things mean a lot to candidates especially when arriving for the interview including a greeter, tour of the facility, introduction to future co-workers, and technology resources, etc.  Regardless whether you make the candidate an offer or not, they will tell others about you. If you treat them with respect, they’ll be your advocate. If you don’t, they may rant to friends and family and post on social media which could prevent top talent from looking your way.

Establish personal connection. According to CNN, the average American adult devotes about 10 hours and 39 minutes every day in front of tablets, smartphones, personal computers, multimedia devices, video games, radios, DVDs, DVRs and TVs. It’s no surprise then that in today’s always-on world, job candidates are hearing back from employers via text messages. However, one of the top wishes of all candidates is being able to talk to a human during the recruiting and interviewing process.  A personal call will go a long way with a candidate and in establishing that vital personal connection. Even a brief chat can create a positive feeling about you and the organization.

Don’t overlook current employees. Because candidates are at a premium and you probably already employ some of the best HIT professionals, why not promote from within. Many organizations that are filling vacancies from their existing HIT workforce, found definite advantages besides a quick fix. For example, an existing employee already understands how the organization operates, knows the technology, fits the culture, has an existing relationship with the hiring manager, may need very little training, and most likely feels motivated by their career progression. Giving employees a career runway also helps with retention.

Be adaptable. This is no time to be inflexible. In fact, you probably will need to compromise since holding out for that one in a million HIT professional may not work.  This doesn’t mean you should settle for a bad hire. It simply means that you must be flexible in a market where IT talent is highly sought after. Therefore, if you have a list of 10 skills sets required, you may have to figure out what five are most important. Place more emphasis on hiring a person who is willing to learn, shows enthusiasm, and fits the culture.

Frank Myeroff is the president and co-founder of Direct Consulting Associates (DCA). He has built a reputation for understanding and solving client needs in the IT consulting industry for over 30 years. Frank is PMP certified and an active member of PMI. Frank can be reached at 440-996-0051 / fmyeroff@dc-associates.com.   

 


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Why A.I. Will Never Replace Recruiters

September 12, 2018
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AI can be a great tool, but recruiters aren’t going away

I remember fear settling in like a big dark cloud when I opened my search practice in 2005 with all the dire predictions of how the Internet and all the online hiring websites were going to put recruiters out of business. Many articles were written on the demise of the recruiter as Monster.com would literally scare us out of business.

Then came other job opening aggregators like Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter and a whole host of other websites chasing HR gold as if there was a switch they could simply flip to eliminate the human touch that recruiters bring to the table with engaging candidates, only to be replaced by a text message alert or an email notification of all the new jobs that were now open. The only thing they were missing were qualified applicants.

These predictions never came true and all the prognosticators simply forgot what recruiters actually do every day that their technologies will never replace. CIOs need to remember the critical nature of hiring leaders and team members for key roles in their organization. Candidates need to be vetted and coached to listen to an opportunity to join your team when we call the candidates. You have to remember:

  • We talk with people. Yes, we use a cell phone, or now a VOIP phone, and actually engage in a dialogue with candidates about opportunities. It’s a novel approach—I get it.
  • We engage with people that will never look on those job posting sites because they are not looking for a new job. Period.
  • We contact passive candidates that up until our call were never going to leave their job because they are so focused on the now that they don’t even think about looking on a website for a job they are not even interested in.
  • We help clients and candidates come together on the right offer and provide two-way communication during the hiring process, so each party has a deep understanding of the other party’s point of view. Online sites—well you get the picture…
  • We hammer out the details of relocation packages with our clients and the candidates and their families to make sure the move is done smoothly to allow the family to begin their transition to a new city. It’s the personal touch that matters here because we are dealing with people’s lives.

Fast forward: The next wave of artificial intelligence (AI) products for hiring are cropping up everywhere and we are hearing similar calls for recruiters to give up and retreat as the latest algorithm and data analytics tools are able to speed up the hiring process supplanting recruiters. Within seconds, these tools are touting they can determine who the perfect candidates are based on the analytics and machine learning tools designed for hiring. Guess what? It won’t happen.

AI can be a great tool, but it falls dreadfully short of meeting hiring managers' expectations. It won’t wave a magic wand suddenly making hiring enjoyable and much quicker with the same quality as the work performed by most search firms. I’ve been in technology in some form or fashion for a very long time. I love technology and what technology can do to speed up productivity and actionable data I can use every day in the work we do. It’s awesome!

But to be clear, I’m not going away. I have seen this movie before and I am fairly certain I can tell you how it ends. The work recruiters do to find and recruit great talent is something humans must do.

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Cerner President Zane Burke to Step Down This Fall

September 10, 2018
by Heather Landi, Associate Editor
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Cerner president Zane Burke, who first joined the company in 1996, will step down November2, the Kansas City, Mo-based electronic health record (EHR) company announced today.

“Cerner has been a disruptive force of positive change across health care throughout its history, and I’m pleased with the accomplishments we’ve achieved together with our clients and the broader industry community,” Burke said in a statement. “Complex and evolving challenges remain, and Cerner is uniquely positioned to continue innovating for the good of consumers and health care providers.”

 “We thank Zane for his contributions to Cerner across more than two decades,” Cerner Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer said in a statement. “Zane leaves the company with a strong client focus and commitment to continued innovation, partnership and sustainable growth deeply engrained in our culture and leadership philosophy. I am very confident in the capabilities of Cerner’s strong and experienced leadership team.”

John Peterzalek, executive vice president of worldwide client relationships, will assume Burke’s responsibilities and the title of Chief Client Officer.

Since joining Cerner in 1996, Burke had a range of executive positions across sales, implementation, support and finance. He was named President in 2013 after leading Cerner’s client organization. Burke came to Cerner in 1996 from the consultant KPMG, and has held a number of positions in the company, including president of Cerner west from 2003 to 2011, and, more recently, executive vice president of Cerner's client organization.

During his five years as president, Burke has been involved in a number of significant deals, including playing an instrumental role in Cerner winning two massive EHR modernization contracts, first with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in 2015, a $4.3 billion contract, and then just this past May, with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in a $10 billion contract.

During Burke’s tenure, Cerner also completed one of the biggest deals in healthcare IT history with the acquisition of Siemens healthcare IT business for $1.3 billion in 2014.

The Kansas City Business Journal reported on September 4 that Burke had exercised option to sell nearly $10 million in stock.

 

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Leadership Changes at HHS as CIO Transferred to New Role

August 21, 2018
by Heather Landi, Associate Editor
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Beth Killoran is stepping out of the role of CIO at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is moving over to a new role at the Office of the Surgeon General, within HHS.

The news was first reported by Federal News Radio. In an email, a HHS official confirmed that Killoran, who stepped up to the HHS CIO role in July 2016, has joined the Office of the Surgeon General at HHS to develop a "comprehensive information systems strategic plan for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.”

The HHS official also confirmed that Ed Simcox, the HHS Chief Technology Officer, will take on the added role of serving as the HHS Acting CIO, until a permanent selection is made. “Simcox has led multiple, large IT transformation efforts, both as an industry executive and consultant. As HHS’s CTO, he leads HHS’s efforts on enterprise data management, data sharing, technology-related healthcare innovation, and public-private partnerships,” the official said via email.

Simcox started as the HHS CTO in July after serving as acting CTO starting in May and deputy CTO since July 2017, according to Federal News Radio.

Killoran began working at HHS in October 2014, moving over from the Department of Homeland Security. At HHS, she has served as the acting Deputy Chief Information Officer and as the Executive Director for the Office of IT Strategy, Policy and Governance. The HHS official stated that Killoran has served in a number of high-level information technology positions at HHS, “providing leadership on a number of high priority projects.” Killoran also worked for the Department of the Treasury, where she provided IT infrastructure support and operations for over 20,000 employees across 1,500 locations.  During her tenure, she provided IT operational support in response to the 9/11 and Oklahoma City bombing events, the HHS official said.

Federal News Radio reporter Jason Miller reported that, during her time as HHS CIO, Killoran tried to move the agency forward in a number of areas through an updated strategic plan and a more aggressive approach to cloud adoption. “Recently, Killoran led a reorganization of the CIO’s office, naming Todd Simpson as the first chief product officer and promoting innovation,” Miller wrote.

Killoran becomes the fourth major agency CIO to be reassigned during the Trump administration, joining former Treasury Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia, former Agriculture Department CIO Jonathan Alboum and FEMA CIO Adrian Gardner, according to Federal News Radio’s reporting.

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