By Kelli Mulloy, The Inline Group
My father is a remarkable man. His career as a professor of political science spans six decades on many continents, with 15 books and hundreds of published articles to his credit. When he retired, the University of Beijing received his extensive library as a donation for its political science program. My father still reads voraciously but today his iPad resides next to his chair. At 80, he made the jump to digital, and though texting is still not his first choice, don’t think for a minute that technology left him behind.
The mobile revolution knows no age, gender or race. Our addiction to technology keeps us online, expecting --- demanding--- instant access to our people and our information. Spoiled by the gold-standard “1-Click” experience created by Amazon.com, we give failing grades to other vendors if their sites take longer than three seconds to load.
According to AMD News, physicians rank among the strongest adopters of technology, with 95 percent owning a smartphone, 70 percent reading email and 63 percent looking for job opportunities on their mobile device. In the past, a candidate’s first interaction with your facility was typically a phone call from you; today that may not be true. These mobile savvy consumers connect with your organization online through research, connecting with other physicians or candidates and making assessments, long before they pick up the phone to have a call with the physician recruiter.
In theory, we can all agree that technology is important; yet, in practice, we find a very different perception. ADP Staffing reports that 46 percent of recruiters believe their [recruitment] processes work while only 16 percent of candidates agree. As recruiters, we know that recruitment is about the relationship. However, if a candidate is lost in your technology before they make it to that first phone call, then the relationship never has a chance. Are you hiring from all the best candidates or only the best you have access to?
So, what do candidates want? Surveys indicate ease of use, access to information, and the ability to initiate contact with the facility regardless of time or location. This is particularly critical for providers who are already employed, but interested in testing the water for a change. A TMP Worldwide survey reported that for every mouse click required to get to critical information, 20 percent of candidates will abandon the search. Hospital websites that typically bury employment data in their site can easily frustrate candidates with the 4-5 clicks necessary to reveal what may be only vague information.
“Going mobile” starts with a device-friendly (responsive) Web presence. Candidates should be able to easily access your site to educate themselves about your jobs and to initiate contact with you. Access should be obtainable via a mobile phone and tablet with the Android, Windows or IOS operating systems. Your technology must query the user’s device to determine what view to provide to the candidate. Providing automated responses to a candidate’s connections regardless of date and time, will help set expectations for candidates as well as make you appear to be accessible even when you are not. Expanding your mobile strategy includes scheduled emails to candidates and process work-flows that help the candidate feel connected and informed.
The initial “must have” is a responsive Web presence. This can be accomplished two ways. The first is simply to include code in your website to auto-query the device being used by the candidate. Once identified, the site view adapts to fill the appropriate screen size. Regardless of the computer or phone used by the candidate, the site must be easy to navigate and read. You can test your current site’s responsiveness by opening it on a variety of mobile devices. If tiny navigation buttons and impossible finger resizing is required, you are not mobile ready.
The second option is to build an app to accommodate mobile pads or phones, reserving your website for desktop/laptop users. Like other apps, the technology is delivered to the user via download from either the iTunes or the Google Play stores. The stand-alone app is only financially feasible if your organization needs hundreds of providers and can accommodate the development costs and marketing efforts required to roll out an app. Opting for an app still requires your recruiting website to be candidate friendly with fewer clicks and candidate-centric data (this could mean two separate information technology projects).
While the responsive website is typically the better choice, both solutions require Information Technology (IT) resources, whether for development or support. The programming or creation of the site can be performed internally or externally. You may find that your internal IT resources are buried in EMR implementation and support, or they may not have all the capabilities required. If so, external vendors may be the way to go. The requirements for the site are not complicated but must include the following:
- Candidate-centric content (not patient)
- A demonstrated responsiveness to all smart devices including iOS, Windows and Android
- The ability to apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics
- Contact information and/or clear directions on how to reach you as well as an auto response
- Social media linksWebsite analytics e.g., “Google Analytics”
It is possible to purchase a website template that is already optimized for mobile platforms. These responsive templates can be purchased from sites such as www.wordpress.com or www.Web.com and allow you to add content, photos and links in predefined fields. Unfortunately, they are not entirely plug-and-play. There is almost always customization required. Customization, as well as hosting, can be provided by an external service, at an additional cost. However, if your internal IT department provides support and consulting, you may find considerable time and cost savings.
Hiring freelance programmers to custom create a site or an app is another option. Outsource firms such as www.elance.com and www.freelancer.com will match a developer to your project. This option allows you to get exactly what you want, but is usually more expensive. Again, all other services such as hosting and integration must be outsourced or will require internal IT support.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not for the faint of heart. Proper SEO bumps your page to the top of the list when candidates perform an online job search. Google, the most popular search engine, changes its criteria without warning, which makes keeping up very difficult. Regardless of the engine, content is king in the SEO battle. Choose keywords providers would use when conducting a search and remember to change your content frequently. Responsive sites always rank higher than non-responsive sites. Companies like www.orangesoda.com can help with SEO (for a price).
Having a responsive site is step one. Tracking visitors is step two. Adding an analytics package such as “Google Analytics” to your site provides invaluable data. Analytics can tell you who visited your site and when, as well as which links were clicked once inside your site. Adding analytics while in development is advisable.
I would be remiss to discuss mobile recruitment and not mention social media; however, a full length article cannot even fully address the topic. Statistically, Google Research tells us that 31 percent of recruiters believe the use of social media is crucial to bringing in talent and 63 percent believe it is essential to building brand loyalty. Interestingly, only 17 percent of candidates agree that social media plays a part in which job they take. A social media presence alone is not a mobile recruitment solution. However, consistency across all platforms is a must. Provide links on your responsive site to your social media pages and be very sure a consistent message plays to your audience.
Finally, a mobile strategy requires driving candidates to your responsive, candidate-friendly site or app. Email automation can be performed internally or externally, each having pros and cons. The most significant pro of automating emails from within your facility’s existing email system is the lower cost. The con is the possibility of getting the entire hospital’s email blacklisted due to spamming regulations. Blacklisting can be a very time consuming issue to resolve and involves C-suite conversations that can often be unpleasant.
Using an external email tool like those available at www.campaigner.com or www.constantcontact.com, eliminates the spam risk to the hospital. Emails are delivered through these sites and not from your facility’s servers. These services also include tracking data and automation tools. The con, in this case, is cost. Costs are incurred based on quantity of emails sent. Pros include the automation ease, excellent analytics, evaluation metrics and protection from spam blacklisting.
Our future promises fewer candidates and greater competition for them. This means more time will be required to source and recruit each one. Automation and mobilization will not only attract better candidates, but will save you valuable time. Many steps in the recruitment process require the human touch. Automation and mobilization in the sourcing, screening and communication steps can save money and time, while helping put your best foot forward.