Healthcare IT Employers - Are You Hiring Talent or Filling a Job Opening?

Aug 2, 2012 9:00:00 PM · by David Kushan

As parts of the overall job market are starting to improve (Healthcare IT being one of them, of course), I’m beginning to see a lot of the same headlines I saw when the economy was coming out of the 2001 recession. Articles about employment branding (which should never stop, even in bad times), the war for talent, etc. are popping up quite a bit. Estimates are showing that the Healthcare IT industry could be up to 50,000 new positions.

What seems to be different today than in 2001, however, are the titles used by the people responsible for hiring within organizations. Recently, I’ve seen many ads on job boards for Talent Acquisition Consultants, Coordinators, Managers, and Specialists. New titles alone won’t lead to a different way of doing the same job. Now, I do see some cases that are creating new staffing roles and are developing innovative ways to get the “best of the best” when it comes to hiring. But more often than not, I find that organizations may change the titles in hopes of changing their attitude toward hiring. They may also be using the latest hire tools or technology. But new titles and tools on top of an “old” process (sound familiar?) will not obtain new results when it comes to attracting and hiring top talent in the marketplace. The reality is, with many organizations, overall processes need to be modified.

Hiring managers need to take a look at their teams and determine which “positions” are the most critical to the successful performance of the organization. If these positions are vacant, the team leader will feel real pain in accomplishing objectives. If these positions are not filled quickly, they run the risk of suffering financial consequences or compromising patient safety.

From what I’ve seen over last 18 years, what separates top hiring managers from average ones is that they take responsibility for their own hiring. I’m not talking about simply running ads and screening résumés. That’s what you do when you’re filling jobs. And I understand that within any organization there are certain policies that have to be followed.

What I’m talking about falls into two main, big-picture categories (detail will be added in later posts).

The first main point of hiring managers who excel at acquiring talent: They’re always on the lookout for the ideal person who can step into one of those key roles, should it become vacant.

These are people they’ve met at workshops and conferences, people with whom they connect in social network settings or who may have responded to previous job postings, etc. They stay in touch with these people, knowing that they would be excellent replacements or additions to their team. Top hiring managers always have three to five people who they could hire to fill a key position on their team or within their department.

If a key role opens on your team, normally you want to fill that position as soon as possible. If it’s not critical that the position be filled ASAP, then it isn’t really a critical position. But if it’s a critical position that needs to be filled ASAP, you don’t want to be limited to hiring whoever answers the ad you post within the next 30-60 days. If it’s a critical role, you want to be able to turn to the three to five people you know who have the right background, knowledge, and experience, and see if you can get them on your team.

So, the best exercise you can do right now is this: determine which positions on your team you’d consider key (using the criteria mentioned above). Then ask yourself, if that position became open today, do you have a shortlist of people you could contact to fill that position. If you do, then you have talent on your bench. If you don’t, you’re going to begin the process of filling a job!


As a candidate trying to advance your career, you always want to be networking so that you can be on as many shortlists as possible. As you can see, top hiring managers are recruiting well before the opening exists. Have you ever applied for a position thinking your background was perfect, yet you were never contacted for an interview? That’s because, in many cases, the hiring manager had his or her shortlist in place before the position was posted. The posting of the ad was either to follow company policy or to make sure there were no other exceptionally better candidates.

(Extra: I originally addressed this topic a couple years back.)

Join us next time for Part II of Are You Hiring Talent or Filling a Job Opening?

You may also like: Are You Hiring Talent or Filling a Job Opening? Part II

General, Hiring, Corporate Culture, Networking, David Kushan


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