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"Must Love Dogs and Healthcare IT" - Why Effective Job Postings Resemble Personal Ads

August 26, 2010
by Gwen Darling
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Perhaps you’re in the exciting position of just getting your EMR implementation “project” off the ground. Maybe you’ve already rolled up your sleeves, rallied the troops, planned your work and are working the plan. Or alternatively, you may be in the envious position of basking in the light at the end of the tunnel (but is there ever really an end to this tunnel?). No matter where you are in the process, of one thing I’m certain: At some point you will need to hire additional help to make it all meaningful.

So before you launch a search for the next Mr. /Ms. “IT,” let me share a secret with you. Since I have access to the backend analytics over at Healthcare IT Central, I can see how many candidates view, and then respond to, each of our client’s job postings, and I’m here to report – the most effective job postings are the ones that don’t just inform candidates, but court them. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You are asking a potential candidate to consider leaving their current situation/comfort zone (even if they are unemployed), and jump into a new and unknown role, team, and culture. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps people up at night, even the most confident and seasoned professionals. Keeping that in mind, then, are you really expecting to attract the quantity and quality of candidates you seek with a quick and dirty posting like this (hypothetical but based on actual events) one?


In this role you will be planning, structuring and monitoring system implementation. You will be responsible for managing a team and overseeing project assignments. Candidate must be Epic ASAP certified and have 4 to 6 years of healthcare experience. Previous management experience is also a necessity.

As a candidate, this is my very first impression of your organization (be it your hospital or the search firm hired to help you). And I’m here to tell you, it’s not a good one. Especially if I’m Epic certified (or certified in any of the other major vendor applications), because let’s face it – I am in demand – big time. The bottom line is, if all you can manage to eek out is four sentences to attract a new team member, you are demonstrating a lack of respect for the candidate from the onset. Not good. And clearly not effective, because remember, I have the stats to prove it!

Am I suggesting that your job posting rival “Moby Dick” in length, and “The Notebook” in sentiment? No – but in addition to the regular job posting bullet points, I do recommend adding the following information to help “woo” potential candidates:

1. Make the job titles as descriptive as possible, so they know who you’re looking for.

Although job seekers visiting a Healthcare IT niche job board might assume that a “Software Sales Manager” position involved selling Healthcare IT – related software, a job seeker visiting Indeed.com would be forced to read the job description to determine the industry. Make your position easy to find by adding keywords to your job title, and while you’re at it, indicate the level of experience required. Hence:

“Software Sales Manager” becomes “Senior Level EMR Software Sales Manager”

“CIO” becomes “Hospital Chief Information Officer”

“Analyst” becomes “Senior Epic Resolute Hospital Billing Systems Analyst”

2. Be specific about what else you expect from this new team member.

Will the job require travel, significant overtime, top-notch presentation skills, the ability to multi-task like no one’s business, relocation? Is it a high visibility position? Will the candidate be working mostly independently, or in teams? Paint the picture!

3. Excitedly brag about what you have to offer.

Talk about your unique company culture, a bit about your retention programs, your benefits, and in general, what makes your organization stand out from the competition. Do you have casual Fridays, childcare on site, a gym, a generous relocation package? All of these benefits demonstrate a focus on employee satisfaction, which is what we all want, right? And while you’re at it, sound passionate about it – candidates will pick up on your enthusiasm, and get excited about learning more.

I’ve shared with you the bad example; here are a few great examples to follow:

Sanford Rose Associates – Charleston: Tim Tolan and his team know how to write a job posting – click on any of his current opportunities to see how it’s done.

Concorde Career Colleges: Concorde just posted a great example of how a job posting can be short and to the point, but passionate and descriptive.

St. Francis Medical Center: Another super example of the short, descriptive, passionate approach.

If this all sounds like a lot of work, well . . . it is. But once you’ve create one robust posting, you can use it as a template for subsequent postings. And again, it doesn’t have to be a novel – just approachable, inviting, and leaving the candidate wanting to learn more – just like a good personal ad!

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