Finding quality clinical talent in today’s hospital workplace is becoming increasingly difficult. Across the country, hospitals are struggling to find enough quality candidates to fill their open roles, and the slow nature of these recruitment processes is costing each hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars. In this two-part blog series, we are going to explore the issues contributing to the hiring struggles hospitals are experiencing, as well as a few solutions industry leaders can utilize to get hospital recruitment under control and fill open roles more effectively.

Within the hospital industry, there are several main roadblocks hiring managers face when sourcing for their open roles. As a result, most people within this field who are tasked with hiring are feeling the heat.

1) Candidate Shortage

The main industry concern is lack of candidates. This is a problem across the board, regardless of open role or hospital size. A survey conducted by Leaders For Today found that 31% of respondents cited the inability to find enough candidates as their main barrier to hiring at their hospital. PeopleScout also found that 60% of respondents quoted low applicant numbers as their largest roadblock in filling their open roles. In addition to surveys and anecdotal responses, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) calculated that in 15 years, the US will have to contend with a physician deficient totaling up to 159,300 physicians.

The healthcare talent shortage is not only a concern for open physician roles, the nursing industry is also feeling the pain. According to the Labor Department, “…the RN workforce is also expected to grow by 16 percent by 2024…,” while at the same time the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is struggling with lack of capacity to educate enough nurses to staff this boom. Consequently, 64,000 applicants were rejected from nursing schools in 2016 as a result of dwindling budget and resources, all while the industry continued to grow.

Openings in rural or inner-city areas are doubly affected by the physician shortage. These areas are consistently underserved and bringing candidates in for these openings is costly for the hospitals, with low retention rate once they get them in the door.

And not only are recruiting teams struggling to find candidates for their roles, the candidates they are coming across are not qualified. This particular barrier opens the door to other concerns regarding the potential for medical practices to hire under-qualified candidates for these positions, creating the risk for poor patient care.

Buried in all these numbers is a disturbing trend that the industry is already feeling the pain from: people are not able to find enough candidates to fill their open roles today, and it will only get worse.

2) Lethargic Recruiting 

Coupled with the lack of candidates is the general slow pace of hospital recruiting. The challenge of finding qualified candidates slows down the recruiting process, leading to increased costs and subsequent decreased hospital revenue. Not only does the search itself cost the hospital money, but the lack of business resulting from the missing role (i.e. there is no physician in that role to see patients and bring more money in for the hospital) causes the company to lose more potential revenue.

This slow pace has led to an average time to fill for leadership roles of longer than 3 months, with just under 25% taking 3 months, and another 30% taking 7 or more months to fill roles. This slow pace of recruiting is clearly frustrating for HR leaders, with only 8.2% of survey respondents stating they were pleased with the state of their current recruiting processes.

Not only is the (lack of) speed exasperating, it’s expensive. The average cost per hire for leadership positions is creeping up to $30,000, couple that with the average cost of $1 million per lost physician, and any wasted time during the process is money down the drain. These recruiting funds also take away from available funds for medical care, leading to potential patient care gaps.

3) Frantic Searches

All these factors combined leave hospital recruiters with a sense of urgency that can turn frantic after months of fruitless searching. Two out of three respondents rated their company’s ability to find quality talent as “poor” or “not very good,” indicating that something needs to change.

In some cases, the answer could lie in hiring more recruiting talent for their organizations, but even larger hospitals with more recruiters are often short on time for their searches, a result of shouldering 10+ searches at a time. Considering many of these roles are leadership roles and require extra time to source candidates, this only adds to the desperate nature of the search. Most hospitals only reach out to staffing agencies after 4+ months of unproductive searching, wasting tens of thousands of dollars in the process.


All of these statistics and surveys boil down to one major problem; the recruiting system within hospitals is broken. There are many reasons the system has become ineffective, between high rates of turnover, fewer rising doctors in the industry, as well as rapid industry growth. But have faith, there are alternatives to the pain this industry is experiencing! Part two of this short blog series will explore the factors that created these struggles, as well as alternatives that you can utilize to turn this problem around for your company.

If you’re curious about immediate solutions, check out Happie! Our industry experts paired with our tech enabled recruiting service can help you fill your candidate pipeline for hires now, as well as for roles down the road. Click here to schedule a consultation, and check back soon for our second installment!


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