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(Lots of) Help Wanted

October 24, 2010
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It's time to change HCIT job skill requirements to fill the gaps

Many of us have been writing for months about predictions of a talent shortage. This is not one of those "I told you so" scenarios—this is my own sounding of a (very) loud bullhorn to let you know this ship is now sailing. Cover your ears! The shortage is no longer a myth-it's very real and it's finally here. And in spades!

A recent glance at a few HCIT job boards and my eyes could not believe the number of openings for implementation, help desk, deployment teams and so forth. Incredible! Several of the ads I scanned had 15-20+ open positions in a single facility. Others had even more. Let's face it HCIT is still largely a cottage industry and the talent pool is just not readily available. Maybe one day—but we are not there yet. Not even close. I really believe that CIO's will have to get very creative in the way candidates are profiled, screened and (yes) trained for skills they don't have today to fill the void. There are simply not enough people. period. The math doesn't work. It requires an investmnent and a new way (mindset) for hiring talent. While that in itself is a bit scary—those doing little to NOTHING is even worse! I get calls all of the time from great highly skilled candidates that have solid demonstrative technical abilities. They just don't have HCIT skills. But they certainly can learn—and are willing to do what ever it takes to become part of our industry. That is pretty cool. The challenge is that most organizations have not changed their rigorous demands of skills and experience candidates are required to have to be considered. That old way of thinking must change. And soon. So when I hear from prospectvive clients about the large volume of openings that have—I understand. And I would love to help. Finding purple squirrels in the search business is a challenging feat. No doubt. Looking for talent that does not exist based on supply and demand is a totally different issue. Just wait until the HCIT talent pool discovers their true market value. Their salaries and bonus requirements will go thru the roof. Just wait and see.



Then, if the description isn't enough to keep us from applying, the system filters are set in such a way that many of the otherwise qualified applicants are eliminated before the hiring manager can see them because they don't meet the "keyword" expectations. I would bet that many HCIT hiring managers have little input in how the applications are screened by the HR filters.

I couldn't agree more!! I have over ten years of IS/IT implementation, training, and support experience. However, its been in the broadcast media industry. Id love to shift to HCIT, but I cant even get companies to talk to me. Anyone have a few good suggestions as to how I can make this transition? Any information is greatly appreciated!!

Extremely well said and right on target! The absurd, beyond belief, hyper-bloated job description/requirements with some of the major HCIT firms out there go beyond the pale. Witness a recent opening posted by AthenaHealth (Watertown, MA) for an EMR Implementation Associate: 1689 words (10, 527 characters -spaces not counted).

As you put it so well, "The challenge is that most organizations have not changed their rigorous demands of skills and experience candidates are required to have to be considered." The follow up question might be, "Why have they not changed their required skill/experience sets?". Lack of training infrastructures, etc?

BostonCoach: You nailed it! 1,689 words in the job description? OUCH! My guess is that many of the IDN's across the US will have the same struggles when it comes to finding talent. Most of the target audience they are looking for will stop reading the JD after 300-400 words unless they are gainfully unemployed. Are you kidding me? Makes me tired just thinking about it.