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Healthcare Recruiters: It’s Time to Start Asking Questions

Katherine Moody
on April 02, 2018

If you’re a recruiter in the US healthcare industry, my hat’s off to you. You’ve taken on what may be the most daunting recruiting challenge across all markets: A tumultuous employment landscape in which:

  • You’re continuously recruiting the same positions—nurses, genetic counselors, physical therapists, the list goes on.
  • Qualified candidates are scarce, especially those with experience.
  • New graduates get snapped up fast.
  • Boomer retirements are creating a flood of openings.
  • Competition is high both within healthcare and from other industries.
  • Your hiring managers and candidates all have hectic schedules, leaving even less time for recruiting.

To make things worse, organizations and hiring managers tend to overestimate the power of recruiting software—especially systems powered by artificial intelligence—to find the right candidates. In my experience, this overestimation is grounded in a prevailing misperception that recruiting amounts to no more than finding candidates…and then finding more candidates.

So What’s a Healthcare Recruiter To Do?

Believe it or not the answer lies in the power of questions to forge better relationships with hiring managers and get the information you need not just to find candidates, but to fill positions.

It may seem counterintuitive, but asking questions is not only the best way to elicit information, it’s the best way to demonstrate your expertise. It also helps your hiring manager stop multitasking and focus on the conversation. They’re only human, after all, and humans like to talk about themselves---their needs, their opinions, their timelines.

But not just any question will do. You have to ask the right kind, and what you do after posing the question also matters. A lot.

The Anatomy of a Good Question

A good question—one that will move your candidate search and hiring process forward—follows a few key principles:

  • It starts with anything but “why.” Why questions can make people feel cornered. Instead, ask things like who are you looking for, what qualifications are needed, how much time do you need to review these resumes, how many more candidates do you need to see, and when will you be ready to make an offer?
  • It’s short and precise. This is how you adapt to a world in which goldfish can focus longer than humans.
  • It’s followed by silence. Give your hiring manager time to think and answer.
  • It’s also followed by more questions. Don’t end the conversation too soon. Every detail you get will help you find the candidate your hiring manager is looking for.

If you’re thinking it can’t be that easy, you’re not alone. I’ve heard that many times across more than 11 years of coaching recruiters to adopt a consultative approach.

But I assure you it works!

The right questions can help you transform your relationship with hiring managers, enabling you to

  • Get them to stick to time commitments.
  • Turn vague responses like “not a fit” and “I’ll know it when I see it” into actionable feedback
  • Help them understand why a position is challenging to fill
  • Handle surprises that extend your search, like balking at the offer stage or inserting additional interviews.

Learn More

In a recent webinar, I shared specific questions to get healthcare recruiters started on the path to becoming a consultative recruiter. If you’re ready to reboot your hiring manager relationships, and fill reqs faster, watch the recorded webinar and start channeling your inner consultative recruiter today!



Katherine Moody is the author of The Consultative Recruiter and How to Do Small Talk Fearlessly. For the past 27 years, she has been helping companies find great talent and job seekers to find their ideal roles. In addition to managing large virtual recruiting teams, she has worked with companies such as The Cheesecake Factory, The Walt Disney Company, St. Joseph Healthcare, P.F. Changs, Fox Entertainment, and Yahoo.

She has an MBA from the University of Southern California and an Executive MBA from the Peter Drucker Management Center of Claremont University

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