In December 2010, I was at the ASHP’s (American Society for Health Systems Pharmacists) midyear meeting in Anaheim, CA. Over the years, their track relating to Pharmacy IT and Informatics has really expanded.
Between sessions, I was engaged in a conversation with a Director of Pharmacy and a Manager of Pharmacy Informatics. Both were talking about the technology initiatives their organizations had in place related to pharmacy and the medication management process. Once the discussion evolved into specific project plans and go-live dates, it turned toward having the right people in place — both full-time employees and consultants. Of course, it doesn’t seem like you can have a conversation about hiring Healthcare IT employees without someone saying how hard it is to find the right people. So, when they started telling me how hard it’s been for them to find the right people, they were both a little shocked by my response: “Good people are easy to find.” I paused for effect and when they both stared at me like I was crazy, I added, “Good people are easy to find — they’re just very hard to get hired.”
They both laughed as if I was making some sort of a joke, but after I elaborated, they both realized that they fell into a bucket into which many organizations are currently falling. Both of them had interviewed these “hard to find” people, which means that they were able to “find” potential candidates. But neither of them was able to get these candidates hired.
What these two hiring managers are beginning to realize is that there are plenty of good people willing to look at their positions — but those good people have options. As we’ve all heard, time and time again, there’s a shortage of experienced people in the Healthcare IT marketplace. There are predictions that the industry will need up to an additional 50,000 people for the work projected to take place over the next five years.
Due to the many options Healthcare IT employees have today, organizations that truly want to compete for experienced candidates must have a plan. The first part of that plan is to create a job that candidates are going to find appealing. Most organizations create a job based upon the skill and experience that’s necessary to get tasks accomplished within a certain role. Along with this, thought and design must be given to making the position appealing for the people you’re trying to attract.
If your organization is interviewing people only to discover that they’re accepting offers from other companies, your organization is not doing as good a job as the others.
Generally speaking, when making career decisions, candidates evaluate opportunities in six broad categories:
Challenge: This is the degree to which the candidate will feel challenged in the position. The question here becomes, “How do you find someone who’s qualified to do the job without having them do the same job they’ve been doing for an extended period of time?”
Location: The position’s location can range from whether or not someone is willing to relocate to daily commute length.
Advancement: This comes in two forms: 1) the ability to advance into positions within an organization, 2) increasing one’s overall knowledge and experience within the same position.
Money: This is different for everyone, but it covers salary, bonus potential, and the variety of benefits that can be offered.
People: This includes organization culture, but more specifically with whom the candidate will be working and for whom they’ll be working. Studies have shown that the likelihood of candidates accepting a position is directly proportionate to how they anticipate their relationship with the person for whom they’ll be working.
Security: This is directly tied to the stability of the organization as well as the position. Given the number of layoffs that have taken place over the last two years, this is an important factor in today’s marketplace.
The next time your organization has a critical position to fill, review the six categories above and decide where you can offer something that other organizations cannot and, if necessary, make adjustments so that your opportunities will stand out. By looking at these areas and making adjustments prior to beginning your interview process, you can turn very average looking positions into positions that will be very appealing!
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