Ep. 68

Healthcare Recruiting in This New Era w/ Cecilia Clark

In episode 68, we talk with Cecilia Clark about what it’s like recruiting for healthcare roles, how things have changed in recent years, and the best ways to recruit.

Cecilia Clark

HR Business Partner

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that healthcare workers see their jobs. As medical professionals prioritize flexible schedules and work-life balance, competition to hire talent is fierce. But with the right techniques, recruiters in the healthcare industry can still be incredibly successful. On this episode of the HR Mavericks podcast, we sat down with HR business partner Cecilia Clark to talk about what it’s like recruiting for healthcare roles, how things have changed in recent years, and the best ways to recruit. 

We discussed: 

  • How the pandemic has taken a toll on healthcare workers
  • The types of jobs that healthcare workers are most interested in
  • The importance of company culture, values, and brand
  • Why “speed is king” when it comes to recruiting
  • How technology has shortened the hiring process
  • Becoming familiar with the environment you’re recruiting in
  • The importance of networking and building personal relationships

Connect with Cecilia on LinkedIn

Episode 68 Transcript

You’re listening to HR Mavericks, a weekly podcast, featuring leading small business HR professionals who share their experiences and insights to help you know how to turn your HR processes and employee experience into a strategic business advantage. Let’s get into the show. 

[00:00:00] Garrett Jestice: Welcome to the next episode of the HR Mavericks podcast. I’m Garrett Jestice, and today I’m joined by Cici Clark, who is an HR business partner and army vet with over a decade of HR talent acquisition experience. Cici. How are you doing today?

[00:00:17] Cecilia Clark: Oh, I’m doing great, you know, enjoying a wonderful, another wonderful day in 2022. Thank God.

[00:00:24] Garrett Jestice: Right. I know it’s great to have you on the show. We’re super excited to get to know you better and, and dive into this topic. You know, Cici and I were talking at the beginning about what, what should I call her? So if I call her Cecilia today, if I call her Cici, if I just call her by her last name, Clark, just know I’m talking about the same person.

Right? Cici.

[00:00:42] Cecilia Clark: Oh yeah, I know multiple names. It’s all good. I like being multiple things to multiple people. It’s okay. I’m okay with that.

[00:00:49] Garrett Jestice: There we go. Awesome. Well, we’re excited to have you on. Before we jump into our topic, tell our guests, or our listeners a little bit more about your background and your experience, especially in the HR world.

[00:01:00] Cecilia Clark: Yeah, sure. So I’ve been in human resources for over 10 years. I’ve specifically been in some sort of talent acquisition role where I’ve worked at an agency or worked as a talent acquisition manager. And I really love talent acquisition because I, I, I think that it, it takes a special individual to not only, to understand what’s going on. And what I really love about what it is that I do, is for me to be really good and be really lethal…

is it, it, it, there’s two pieces of me. I, I love doing research. I love to read. I love to learn. I like to get to know people and I love technology. I love artificial intelligence and social media. So my kind of passion, almost obsession with both different areas has really, you know, made me pretty successful at what it is that I do.

And it really drives my passion. I mean, just found, just having the opportunity to sit here and speak with you about it makes me super excited so…

[00:02:10] Garrett Jestice: awesome. Well, we are, we are super excited to have you on the show today. Before we jump into our topic, I’m curious about your transition from the Army. You were in the army for almost 10 years, right? And then that transition into HR. Tell us about what, what led you into HR and what that transition was like?

[00:02:29] Cecilia Clark: Oh wow. Okay. So when it comes to, when I was in the, I was in the Army, I was in the Army for, 10 years. I started out as a helicopter mechanic. and then I was selected to go into a retention role because in the military, retention is a big deal. Every single year we, we have a certain number of goals, so the number that we wanna retain and the number that we’re able, we want to go ahead and let go.

So I did that for five years and work with senior leadership. and then the last 12 months, they, they have these transitioning classes, which by the way, I’m not gonna lie, didn’t pay attention to all, any of them except one. The only one that I was like very intrigued about was when they introduced me to LinkedIn. And, that was in 2014. They didn’t tell me much. I signed up, created a profile, and honestly, kind of like my life changed from that moment on because I was introduced to a platform. I was stationed in South Korea at the time, and I knew that I was, I was, I only had about eight months left in my contract and I needed to find a job.

and I knew I wanted to stay in human resources, so then I started reaching out to veterans that I found that were doing something that I wanted to do in human resources, whether that, and then I figured out that my easiest transition in was into talent acquisition because for some reason if you go out there and look for jobs in HR, 80% of it is recruiter.

[00:04:05] Garrett Jestice: Mm-hmm.

[00:04:07] Cecilia Clark: So I reached out, found a couple mentors, and then word of mouth, and I was able to get a job working for an agency. I had an offer six months before I transitioned out. I got pretty lucky, but at the same time, it just shows you that LinkedIn is a powerful tool.

[00:04:29] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. Amen. That’s great. So helicopter technician to now talent acquisition expert. I love it. Love, love seeing the evolution of, of kind of your story and career there. So I know you spent a lot of time, especially the last few years in talent acquisition and recruiting, especially in the healthcare space.

Is that right?

[00:04:50] Cecilia Clark: Yeah. I mean, yeah.

[00:04:53] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. So, and, and that’s actually what we really wanna talk about today, some of the changes that you’ve seen when it comes to healthcare recruiting and some of the tips that you might have. So, I guess just to start us off, you know, in your experience, what are some of the trends or changes that you have seen when it comes to recruiting, especially in the healthcare space?

[00:05:14] Cecilia Clark: You have to sit down and think about what’s happened in the past three years. I mean, we, we know there’s nothing, there’s nothing else in our mind. Let’s talk about the pandemic. I mean, that hit healthcare like a hurricane. I mean, people were struggling with burnout. Turnover was to the roof. And you know, I have so many nurses right now.

Friends who told me about how devastating it was. I mean, seeing what it was that they saw, you know, dealing with the hardships of, you know, having to see the things that they saw. I, I don’t even want to talk about the things that they told me. But it, it really made an impact on the professionals, especially the ones that were front facing with the patients. I, I think how that’s changed is that now the healthcare professionals, along with everybody else, their priorities have changed. You know, they’re, they really want to work for a company that cares about them. So, you know, we to be able to attract people and keep people, you know, employer branding is everything.

People are focused on wanting to, wanting to work for a company with a good culture. They wanna work for a company with good values, with good benefits. And you know, a lot of, a lot of times companies, you know, we get into like this tug-of-war when it comes to compensation. Like, Hey, I’m gonna offer you $25 an hour, and then here comes me from you know, company C I’m gonna offer you 28. Then it comes all about the money. And then guess what? Regardless, six months later, that one person is gone.

[00:07:01] Garrett Jestice: Mm-hmm.

[00:07:02] Cecilia Clark: So it it, it’s been about making sure that companies have a good value, are not able to meet the, meet their people and be able to satisfy what it is that they really care about now, which at the end of the day, it went from making a lot of money to taking care of their family and having some time off.

[00:07:25] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, that’s a great point. So in, in the healthcare space especially, do you feel like that change has really been driven by just kind of the burnout that so many healthcare professionals have felt over the last three year, few years through the pandemic?

[00:07:42] Cecilia Clark: You know what? I think it is burnout, but, okay. So my sister is a travel nurse. During the pandemic, she was working at a prison and she told me stories where she was, you know, helping prisoners who were young and respirators, and she was like, you have no idea how I felt going in there and holding their hand, trying to, having them tell me how scared they were because they knew they were gonna die and they did.

[00:08:19] Garrett Jestice: Yeah.

[00:08:20] Cecilia Clark: So I honestly think it’s not about the burnout as much as, you know what? My life is short. I don’t know when I’m gonna die. I don’t know if I’m gonna be here tomorrow. So I am going to change my priorities. And that’s why, you know, we’re seeing a lot of employees that used to be full time go from full time to per diem.

They’re going part-time. They’re going into travel nursing positions. They are working six months out of the year, and my sister does that and she loves it.

[00:08:54] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. That’s a great, that’s a great point. I think a lot of healthcare professionals, it’s a, it’s a weighty, it can be a heavy job, right. That can, can wear on you. Right. And can drain, drain you. So that’s a great point. I think the pandemic has definitely accelerated some of that change that we’ve seen in that space.

What other trends or changes that have you seen that have, are really impacting recruiting in healthcare right now?

[00:09:23] Cecilia Clark: Because competition is so high right now, speed is king. Speed is king. I mean, used to be that recruiters can take, you know, weeks and weeks and draw out the recruiting process for a very long time. Right now it seems that the, you have to have a really short process and you have to be able to, you know, go from, you know, application, phone screen, to offer in a very short amount of time.

So you’re, so that way you’re able to, you know, get them onboarded before someone else comes in and makes, maybe offers them an extra 50 cents an hour.

[00:10:02] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, that’s. That’s a great point. I think that a lot of companies, they’re, it’s, it’s partially about how do they streamline their processes and it’s partially about how do they just get more efficient with how they evaluate candidates? Is that right? Is there anything else you would add?

[00:10:19] Cecilia Clark: Well, I mean that’s a lot of the reasons why there’s a lot of applicant tracking systems that are looking about adding artificial intelligence into the process to, of evaluating candidates. And also, there’s a lot of other companies out there that are adding services to where candidates are getting engaged immediately after they are applying. So they feel that they’re, you know, that they’re moving through the process. So it, it, it’s interesting how technology has really shortened that, that number, the number of interviews, for example, it may have taken, you know, five interviews before to go from start to finish when it comes to decision making, but now it’s a lot shorter and with all the changes in technology, it, it has really allowed us to automate a lot of things that we had to do manually.

[00:11:13] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. Amen. And I, I would especially echo that because I know so many of our listeners are from small businesses where maybe they don’t even have an applicant tracking system or maybe it’s they’re using their first one. Right. And again, like you mentioned, one of the values of that specifically is helping streamline that process.

It’s helping automate some of that communication. It’s helping move people through the process, help you stay organized while doing that, and so that you can make those offers quicker, because if you don’t, you’re just missing out to the competition. Right?

[00:11:43] Cecilia Clark: Yeah, you’re a hundred percent right and that’s why it’s very important to to know people sometimes, and it’s okay to reach out through LinkedIn, like I don’t mind if somebody wants an app, needs advice on what applicant tracking system is currently using artificial intelligence. I know one at least that is currently working on that.

I mean that’s what’s the great thing about, you know, being a part of HR Mavericks for example, somebody has a question, Hey I want an applicant tracking system for a comp, for a small company. I’m like, well, I know like four. Like let’s do it. Why not?

[00:12:18] Garrett Jestice: Mm-hmm. Yep. It’s awesome. Love it. So, next question I have for you is, what, what strategies are you currently using that are helping you to find good talent, especially in the healthcare space? Like, what’s working for you?

[00:12:37] Cecilia Clark: Okay. So there’s definitely different, different, different things. Right now what’s been working for me is I spend a lot of time doing research and paying attention. Understanding what is going on in the healthcare industry. Like for example, I’m registered to Backer Hospital Review, and what I really love about that, it gets delivered automatically into my inbox.

And you can choose and pick what you’re interested in and you get to, you get to see, for example, you get information on like what hospitals are going through restructure. What companies are laying off, who’s growing, who is coming into a new city. You know, understanding what it is that is the, the environment that you’re, that you’re recruiting in is going to help you make decisions as to you know, who you’re gonna reach out to.

Who you’re gonna spend your time and where it is that you’re gonna spend your money on. 

[00:13:36] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, that’s such a, that’s such a great point. I just wanted to add, I think that, you know, so often we kind of jump into, you know, like just the nuts and bolts of recruiting and like all, all the ins and outs, but understanding the context of the landscape, you know, and making sure that you have good resources, like you mentioned, that can kind of keep you up to speed on the rapid changes in the spaces where you are recruiting is just so key.

[00:14:01] Cecilia Clark: Yeah, you’re a hundred percent right and you know, that’s why it’s great. People who are very invested and very passionate about the industry that they’re in. Because I didn’t learn about healthcare because I’ve only been here for six months. Like I grew up in healthcare, I’ve always been around physicians and scientists cause my dad’s a scientist and, and an MDA.

And my sister’s a nurse. My mom is a research coordinator. So like, I’ve been hearing about this since I was a little girl, so I understand exactly, you know, what it’s like being in healthcare and what it takes to keep ’em around.

[00:14:42] Garrett Jestice: Awesome. Yeah. So that, so that industry knowledge, that context is key. What, what else is working for you? Recruiting, finding talent in the healthcare space.

Definitely networking, spending time. Reaching out to other people within the, for, like, for example, I specialize in fertility, so I reach out, I go on LinkedIn, I literally put fertility and there I go connect with every single person that has fertility on their account. I don’t care. And then every so often I’m like, Oh, you know, they, and then they start sharing things on, on social media and I connect with them that way.

[00:15:18] Cecilia Clark: And then we just start random conversations over the phone. Get them on the phone, find out, get to know them. I mean, that’s what, how recruitment is actually done. That’s how executive search recruiters do their jobs.

[00:15:32] Garrett Jestice: Mm.

[00:15:33] Cecilia Clark: They create relationships. You can’t be pushy anymore. That whole, the whole mentality that as a recruiter, you have to be salesy and almost like a car salesman.

That doesn’t work, especially nowaday.

[00:15:48] Garrett Jestice: it’s the key is building relationships with people before the need arises, right? So that when there is an opening that you’re looking for, you already have a couple people in mind. Is that right?

[00:15:58] Cecilia Clark: Yeah, that’s a hundred percent the way it is. I mean, I’m currently recruiting in a certain city in North Carolina, and I was like, Oh, okay. Well I have like four people that I know that’s over there right now. Like let’s go ahead and call that. So it, it just, it just helps, especially when you’re working for an organization that’s growing.

It’s important because not only that, when you have good people that you know, and you need help finding someone to fill a certain great position, I mean, the references you get are amazing.

[00:16:37] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. Yeah. And the point I wanna make too is, you know, this is a great tip for full-time recruiters, but I also think that it’s really important for anyone who’s gonna be hiring. There’s a lot of hiring managers, especially in small companies where, you know, you might not have a full-time recruiter yet, but if, like you said, if you’re growing and you’re a hiring manager, if you lead a department or a team and you know you’re going to need to be hiring people in the next little bit, some of these same tips work. 

You have to have the, you know, up to speed on the industry and what’s happening. You need to be making connections with people who could, who could be potential fits before your need arises. I mean, these are universal tips that are just really important when it comes to recruiting across any industry. Right.

[00:17:22] Cecilia Clark: Yeah, no, I mean, it, it saves a lot of time too. It saves a lot of frustration and I, I think it is actually a great and fun way of meeting new people…

[00:17:36] Garrett Jestice: Yeah.

[00:17:37] Cecilia Clark: And learning new things. So…

[00:17:38] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, I totally. Yep. So the next question I have for you is really around what happens when you have a role that could be a good fit for someone, but maybe they’re not interested in making a move. Maybe they’re happy with where they’re at. What do you, what do you do? What’s the key to like sparking that interest among those types of people?

[00:17:59] Cecilia Clark: Oh, that’s always a good one. I, what I honestly do is I sit down, I spend a lot of time in getting to know people. I care about their interests, not just the work interests, but their family interests. Like, and that, and I don’t do it because, oh, I’m trying to recruit them. Like I actually care. I actually make an effort in caring about people.

Like, I, I have a couple of friends out are into TikTok. They like making TikTok videos. That’s their thing. Not my thing, but their thing. I respect their thing, you know? And really trying to understand, you know, what it is that they’re really looking for because, and then being honest. And then you also have to be honest with yourself because the last thing that you want as a human being, I’m not calling myself a recruiter, I’m a human being, is for you to take someone from a very good situation and put them in a worse situation. Cause that’s not helping either them or you at all at the end of the day. So I, I, I think it, it’s about making sure that when you do say, Hey, you know, you, you’ve talked about for a long time that you wanted to work at a bigger organization with better benefits. So I have this one thing going on over here.

You know, you might wanna talk to this person about it. Are you open? They’re a lot more likely to say, sure, why not? Than if you like go send them like a very cheesy cookie cutter, hey, I have the best opportunity in the world, and you seem like a perfect fit. Let me tell you how many, how often that works for you?

[00:19:35] Garrett Jestice: Not very often, huh?

[00:19:37] Cecilia Clark: Not really, no. Unless you’re like a ninja recruiter like you see on LinkedIn all the time.

Huh. Yep. Good. Well, what other tips do you have for, you know, successful recruiting, especially in the healthcare space?

[00:19:52] Cecilia Clark: I, I think that we spend a lot of time looking externally for talent. I think that we need to spend a lot of more time as well looking internally. Either, you know, identifying the people that could potentially make a good, HR manager one day, or a good nursing manager one day, or a medical assistant that really wants to be a nurse and well, let’s see if we can help them, you know, get into nursing school and then all of a sudden you have an amazing nurse who absolutely loves you because you help them go to nursing school.

I think that a lot of companies forget that it is actually better and at the end of the day, even more affordable to invest more time and money with you, your own, your own employees, than going out there and shopping externally.

[00:20:46] Garrett Jestice: I love that tip because it’s so true and I think it’s usually, you know, Second nature to look internally first for any openings that you have. And I think that at many companies, that’s where you’re gonna find your best candidates is as some of those internal candidates, right?

[00:21:02] Cecilia Clark: A hundred percent. And then the, I mean, and I think what happens later and when, when you forget about the great people internally, and then all of a sudden they give you a resignation notice and then you’re like, oh my God, I don’t know what happened! Then I’m like, well, maybe you should have paid a little bit more attention.

[00:21:22] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. Writing was on the wall, huh?

[00:21:25] Cecilia Clark: Yeah, it happens.

[00:21:27] Garrett Jestice: Well, Cici, this has been an excellent conversation. I love the tips that you shared. So good, so universal, appreciate you joining and being with us today and sharing your insights. As we wrap up here, I’m just curious if there are listeners that want to get in contact with you, either to pick your brain about recruiting or ask you, you know, follow up questions from the episode today what’s the best way for them to do that?

[00:21:48] Cecilia Clark: LinkedIn, a hundred percent. I am on LinkedIn all the time. Can’t help myself. So if they actually go on LinkedIn and put in Cecilia Clark, I’m almost the first one that pops up. Can’t miss me.

[00:22:01] Garrett Jestice: Perfect, and we’ll drop the link to your LinkedIn profile in the show notes. So if you’re listening, you can find it there too. So Cici, thank you again so much for being with us today. Hope you have a great rest of the day.

[00:22:12] Cecilia Clark: You too. Thanks.

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