By Micki Benz
December 18, 2008
“I was impressed with the thoroughness of the process. Saint Mary’s involved many people, not only internal, but also people from the community. It showed me that the organization was serious and careful about finding the right person. It made my decision easier, and in fact caused me to want the job even more.”
These observations come from David Luna, Saint Mary’s Health Care vice president of Multicultural Affairs, as he recounted his experience as a candidate for the position one year ago. He continued, “It was clear to me that Saint Mary’s wanted to find just the right person, and that this wasn’t a cookie cutter process; they were willing to tailor the usual process to assure me that this would be a great fit.”
Placing the right people in the right place at the right time is the Saint Mary’s Health Care recruiting philosophy. “It’s an intense process,” commented Julie MacFarland, Saint Mary’s recruiter. In health care, the national shortage of experienced nurses and other hard-to-recruit positions, such as a senior executive responsible for multicultural affairs, is well documented. To meet the challenge, Saint Mary’s has crafted and honed a variety of techniques to ensure that each recruiting experience fits the candidate best suited for the position. The mutual decision to join the person with the job comes at the end of a personalized, tailored approach.
One of the pitfalls to avoid in recruiting candidates is the length of time it takes from posting the position to filling it. When the process is too long, applicants find their way to other positions in other companies. To facilitate and expedite the process, Saint Mary’s employs paperless technology to assist with tracking job applications and possible openings throughout the hospital. In addition, to accelerate what is traditionally a lengthy process, Saint Mary’s has hired Resource Consultants to source and screen potential applicants through the Internet, searching various Web sites daily so that Saint Mary’s can be in immediate touch with potential candidates. One afternoon each week is devoted to interviewing nurses in order to accelerate the hiring process. The result is more interviews and more hires in a shorter period of time, saving advertising dollars and possible agency costs.
Supported by Resource Consultants, Saint Mary’s staff recruiters are more easily able to identify needs, and to dedicate more time to interview and follow up with candidates and managers and proactively seek out passive candidates. Panel interviews are common for leadership positions, thus giving both the candidate and the work team an opportunity to interact with one another, engage in a more meaningful dialogue, and save time.
Speed, while important, must never override finding the right person. Each applicant for a position at Saint Mary’s participates in a survey that helps determine their level of interest in and ability to deliver customer service and the critical traits that demonstrate the core values of Saint Mary’s. Areas that are assessed include compassion, teamwork, diversity, openness to learning, ability to manage more than one thing at a time, and energy. It’s important to identify, early on, whether the applicant shares the Saint Mary’s philosophy of “Excellence in Action,” the set of service excellence standards that each employee is expected to uphold. Discovering compatibility in these six guiding principles is an important component of the process. When the candidate’s philosophy matches Saint Mary’s, the odds of a successful match increase significantly.
Open and frequent communication, an expedited process, targeted recruiting, compatibility: all are factors that combine to create a successful recruiting process.
Micki Benz is vice president of Development and Public Relations for Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids, an elite winner in the Recruitment and Selection category of 101West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. Saint Mary’s Health Care is an integrated network of health care excellence offering a unique combination of capabilities to deliver a health care experience that is more complete and personally satisfying. Benz may be reached at [email protected].