Hiring fifty in sixty: How I was able to completely revamp a recruiting system and hire fifty new recruits in sixty days

When I began working at Adventist Healthcare, I came in with more than ten years of nurse recruitment experience. I knew coming into the job that Adventist needed help in streamlining their recruiting process, and I was ready for the challenge.

However, upon arrival, I found out I had sixty days to hire fifty qualified nurse residents and externs. These candidates not only had to meet the basic requirements, but also had to sync with our core values. In short, I had to sift through a large number of people, in a short amount of time, at a company that I had just joined. This was a huge undertaking, especially given my new environment, but with the help of online reference checking and ample experience in the field, I was able to accomplish my goal.

If I had to offer one piece of advice from all of my years in the nurse recruiting space, it would be to think outside the box. One way I have done this is by conducting reference checks on candidates before interviewing them. I have been doing this for years now and it has without a doubt changed my recruiting process for the better.

One of the reasons I started completing reference checks prior to the interview is because I've seen the following scenario one too many times – a manger interviews a candidate and "falls in love" with the applicant. The manager needs this candidate. However, after the interview, we look into the applicant's references and find out that this candidate is not who we thought they were.

This is an age old problem and one I know many recruiting managers have dealt with.

With this very scenario in mind, I sent out the reference check surveys for all of the applicants before any of them began the interview process. Using SkillSurvey, an automated and online reference checking system, the references were returned to me, on average, 2.3 business days later. This was a big improvement over the traditional calling and waiting method.

Many recruiters do everything they can to learn as much as possible about a candidate during the interview process. But the secret is out. It is difficult to get a complete picture of the applicants' true competencies from the applicants themselves. The best way to do this is to get feedback from people other than the candidates. Reference checking can be much more powerful than being to weed people out, but rather to bring great candidates forward.

As a nurse recruiter, my number one priority is the patients. While we may work at a hospital or at a medical services company, our allegiance is always to the patients. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) has made this all the more important. HCAHPS changes the game for reimbursement funding based on performance rather than on services. On the HCAHPS survey, the 21 different questions that patients answer all come down to not just whether they were treated medically, but the way they were treated by the staff and the impact of the environment that staff provided. HCAHPs scores can improve significantly based on who we hire. So perhaps now more than ever, with the behavior of your staff (on top of their performance) being one of the key indicators of hospital success, reference checking is vital to the hiring process.

I successfully met my 60-day hiring goal, hiring bachelors of science in nursing (BSNs) and 13 externs and it was no easy feat. But by going beyond the interview and really looking at a candidate's past performance, through feedback provided by their former, professors, managers and peers, I was able to not only quickly move through the hiring process, but also hire amazing nurse residents.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.​

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