"How do you manage the recruiting of such a diverse and highly skilled employee population?"
"A recruiter with 80 - 90 - 100 open reqs cannot be consultative. They're always going to be reactive. So one thing that we've been able to do (at Inova) is do things to really decrease the workload from an administrative standpoint from our recruiters so they can be more strategic."
"We have centralized our recruiting function in that we have recruiters responsible for different areas of the business; in terms of nursing, allied health, physical therapy, so on and so forth. So we segment the recruiters by specialty and we provide the recruiters with support from an administrative standpoint to allow them to be client-facing to our customers which, again, leads to a better quality of hire."
Christopher Jackson is director of recruitment for Inova, Northern Virginia's leading not-for-profit healthcare provider. Inova serves more than 1 million people each year throughout Northern Virginia and the Washington D.C. metro area. With more than 16,000 employees and 450 job categories, Inova has many job openings for health and medial professionals, as well as IT and Engineering careers
Peter Clayton, producer/host of TPR met Chris at the ASHER Talent Alliance dinner in DC during the SHRM Talent Management Conference. We're happy to have him contribute to our Talent Acquisition Channel here on TotalPicture Radio.
Chris Jackson TotalPicture Radio Talent Acquisition Channel Transcript
Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio, brought to you by Riviera Advisors, a premier global human resources consulting firm helping organizations develop stronger internal recruiting and staffing capabilities. To learn how your organization can benefit from Riviera Advisors' real world experience and expertise, visit rivieraadvisors.com or call 800-635-9063.
Christopher Jackson is director of recruitment for Inova, Northern Virginia's leading not-for-profit healthcare provider. Inova serves more than 1 million people each year throughout Northern Virginia and the Washington D.C. metro area. With more than 16,000 employees and 450 job categories, Inova has many job openings for healthcare and medical professionals, as well as IT and engineering careers.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chris at the ASHER Talent Alliance dinner in DC during the SHRM Talent Management. I'm happy to have him contribute to our Talent Acquisition Channel here on TotalPicture Radio.
Chris, thanks for speaking with us today.
Chris: Thank you.
Chris: First of all, it's not easy but one of the things that we try to do is to provide the recruiters with the right amount of resources for them to be effective in their jobs. For example, we have centralized our recruiting function in that we have recruiters responsible for different areas of the business, in terms of nursing, allied health, physical therapy, so on and so forth. So we segment the recruiters by specialty and we provide the recruiters with support from an administrative standpoint to allow them to be client-facing to our customers which, again, leads to a better quality of hire.
Peter: Is that something new as far as segmenting to your recruiters to specific types of jobs, or have you done that traditionally?
Chris: This is new. This is a new concept for Inova. Obviously when you go through a transition such as this, there are growing pains because you have managers who are used to having one recruiter for every position in the hospital. We went to this model because it gives us (A) the ability to have more focused recruiters in terms of skill sets for different areas of the business, different skill sets. (B) It allows the candidates to be able to have a full view of all openings within our healthcare system which, again, it allows us to be able to hire the person for the best possible fit in the organization.
Peter: How have the recruiters responded to this?
Chris: Initially it was some challenges because the recruiters were so used to being in their comfort zones, but as we went through this process, the recruiters have actually really embraced it because (A) it gives them the opportunity to learn more about the organization and also gives them the opportunity to really progress in their careers. I have recruiters who were recruiting for positions from food service all the way up to OR nursing and from that standpoint, you really can't be focused if your skill set is that varied. By having recruiters focus on different areas, it allows them to really have more intimate knowledge of the different groups or different skill sets which, again, leads to a better of quality of hire and satisfaction.
Peter: Tell us a little bit about the profile of your recruiters.
Chris: We look for recruiters who, again, have the customer service competency from a customer service mindset in terms of dealing with the candidates and also with the hiring managers. In terms of healthcare you want to make sure that you really present the best possible face of the organization because you have individuals who cannot only be potential candidates but could be potential patients as well. So we want people to really have that customer service, that compassion, but also have the ability to really be client faced and to be able to ask the tough questions to managers to determine whether or not a person is qualified for the job or not, to be able to be more proactive and have initiative to really look at all aspects of the recruiting process in terms of sourcing, in terms of sourcing, in terms of candidate management, and in terms of the closing process.
Peter: It really sounds like in this whole process and in this transition, you've really moved your recruiting department into a much more of a consultative role rather than just being order takers.
Chris: That's absolutely, that's probably the best way to put it. And it's been a work in progress. We've had recruiters who had to really kind of get adapted to this new style in terms of what we expect of them, and also at the same time bringing people in and getting them pretty much acclimated to the organization and to the culture and also, having that proactive kind of mindset from a recruiting standpoint. It is working. Again, we still have growing pains and we still have managers who have to get used to the concept, but I have seen some progress in terms of really when candidates actually come in to the organization and they're applying for different positions, the recruiters are able to give them a full breadth of the experience in terms of the culture, in terms of Inova, and it kind of allows us to make sure we're placing people that's the best fit, not only for the organization but for the candidate as well.
Peter: What is your primary source of hire?
Chris: Our primary source of hire is really word of mouth. We get a tremendous amount of traffic through our website. We are now starting to do more things in terms of social media, in terms of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, job fairs, employee referrals. So we use a whole gamut of methods in order to find candidates. But I would say probably our main source right now is our reputation and that's worked very well for us but again, we want to make sure that we are actively going after the passive candidates, those candidates who aren't necessarily looking but again, those candidates who would be a good fit for the organization.
Peter: Speaking about going out and really staking out a presence in social media, are you working on your marketing and advertising departments in these efforts?
Chris: Absolutely. We actually are going through a rebranding of Inova as we speak, and we're looking to really have a methodology in which our look and feel is the same from the time an individual comes on to interview with us from a candidate standpoint, until when they're employees and they're going through benefits, training, and things of that nature as they complete their tenure as an employee. So most definitely, we want to make sure that everything that we do from an advertising brand is tied into what we're doing from a corporate standpoint.
Peter: Chris, who's driving the social media campaigns you're doing on the social networks; is that someone out of HR or recruiting or marketing? Who's responsible for that?
Chris: They do have a presence on social media. We've since in the last, say, four to five months, we actually have worked very well with our marketing component of our organization to really combine recruiting messages in terms of putting out jobs, putting images out on Facebook, things of that nature to really increase our recruitment presence. We've actually put together within our team a social media initiative that composes of four or five recruiters in our department that their specialty is really establishing how can we be more active and be more present in the social media market. Again, it's something that growing right now but that I feel that we do have a good partnership with our marketing communications group and it's only going to continue to grow.
Peter: Chris, you had mentioned to me before that your recruiters are really going into a different role here in that they're not so much chained to their desks anymore; they all have laptops and you're sending them out into the various departments that they're recruiting for. How is that working out and how are the recruiters responded to that?
Chris: They've responded well to it. One of the things we try to really push is for the recruiters, again, we've armed them with laptops, cell phones and they're expected to be a part of the departmental meetings, to really be client facing, understanding the units, to be mobile because that's only going to lead to a better understanding of them in terms of different units. Again, it will allow us to provide the best top quality candidates. Again, it's been something that has been - it's a switch for not only the recruiters, but the managers as well because they are so used to dealing with one recruiter for all positions, but as move through this we're starting to see some dividends of this in terms of having that one recruiter who understands the entire system and can make sure that we're not only towards them but a person let's say, for example is maybe the top number two candidate for one of our hospitals, that second person could be the top candidate for another hospital based off the need in the department. So we're probably gains some bit of dividends there. But again, everything is a work in progress.
Peter: Chris, what kind of metrics are you currently using to track the quality of hire, your time to fill, those kinds of things.
Chris: We put together what's called a recruitment dashboard in which you measure recruiters on time to fill, ratios, efficiencies for their interview to hire, number of hires per month from a blind standpoint. In terms of quality, that's something again that we're looking really measure the effectiveness of a recruit once we recruit, once we bring them on board how effective is that recruit up to the 90 day mark. We feel that is pretty impactful to ensure that we're providing the right person to the units for hiring managers. The dashboard is just something we implemented this summer. We'll be rolling this out in terms of measuring the recruiters in the fall and then we'll probably go full force with this in January once we - right now we're in the process of changing out our applicant tracking system, so we've got a lot of things going on right now, but in terms of really measuring those key elements, we're starting to do that right now.
Peter: That's huge, changing over to a new applicant tracking system. I'm sure that's taking up a good part of your time.
Chris: Well it is and we have to really look at, in terms of changing our recruitment model, coming up with a system that can best really help us to really provide the best service for candidates and for our hiring managers, so we're confident in the tool that we've selected and again, as you go through the implementation process, obviously there is trials and tribulations that you go through that but we definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to provide the top quality candidates but at the same time to be able to provide top quality reports as you look to really measure the effectiveness of our recruitment team on the individual standpoint but also as a department as well.
Peter: Chris, are you focusing on the candidate experience? Is that part of the reason you're changing over to a new ATS system? As the market is becoming far more competitive, I know a lot of recruiters who are really trying make that candidate experience better.
Chris: Absolutely. That's one of the things that we'll be constantly getting feedback on is when people will apply to jobs and they aren't necessarily getting the follow up and the follow through in terms of if they're a top candidate for the position or not and also the ease of use to be able to apply to a position. So yes, we took that into consideration during our selection process. Also, what we're doing in terms of getting back to the metrics, we are measuring the candidate experience for those individuals who we do bring on board to make sure that we treated the candidate in the best possible manner and if there's ways that we can improve that, that feedback helps us to really make adjustments as we need to.
Peter: I'd like to return to the conversation we were having about hiring managers for a minute. How do you balance negative hiring manager feedback about your services with your support for your team?
Chris: I don't look at anything as negative. I look at things as opportunities, so anytime we get that type of feedback to me is an opportunity for us to be better. From that standpoint, I look at it as a standpoint of understanding the issue, really looking at it from an expectation standpoint because one of the big things I think a lot of support services sometimes forget to do is to really manage expectations up front to know what is expected of us. Once we do that and obviously we get the feedback that we're falling short we'll use it as an opportunity to get better. I know going through this process, going from a decentralized system to a centralized recruiting organization we've had our share of managers asking questions, but as we get changed to a new technology, as the recruiters get more acclimated to this process, and the managers get more acclimated to it, we're only going to see great things from any type of feedback that we get, both negative and positive.
Peter: Prior to joining Inova you were a senior talent acquisition manager for a large defense contractor. What have you found different in recruiting for a nonprofit healthcare provider?
Chris: It's different philosophies in terms of from a recruiting standpoint. As a defense contractor, money is pretty much based on the people that you bring on board because you're providing people for a government contract for a bill rate. From a healthcare standpoint, from a nonprofit standpoint there's definitely more - in terms of the quality, in terms of making sure we provide the best quality person for the position, not necessarily just looking to hire somebody just to bill them, but we need to make sure that (A) that individual is going to represent the organization in a positive way. Because one of the big things that from a healthcare standpoint is the patient care. We need to make sure that from the food service individuals that we hire to environmental services to patient registration all the way up to our CEOs, that we keep in mind that that patient experience has to be a positive one. The customer care, the compassion, the intangible things that makes someone qualified for a job is definitely more of a focus in this type of environment.
Peter: Are you using any job boards for recruiting?
Chris: We subscribe to job boards, some of the main ones - Nurse.com, things of that nature, but we do a lot more of the job aggregators; they seem to work very well for us from a quality and from a volume-hiring standpoint. But yes, we have utilized the major boards and things of that nature to be able to generate candidates.
Peter: In other words, you post a job on your career portal and Indeed and SimplyHired scrape those jobs and then those jobs go viral.
Chris: There you go, exactly. That has worked very well for us.
Peter: So this is a whole new world out there isn't it, Chris, is how you go about recruiting, finding, attracting, motivating and retaining top talent today.
Chris: Absolutely. It's been something. I've been in it now for over two years and it's definitely been a huge transformation for what we've been able to accomplish and the great thing about it is that there is so much more for us to accomplish. But you're right, the initials that we've provided to the organization and some of the changes from a recruiting standpoint has really helped us. For example, right how our hiring is up a 1,000 - we're up a 1,000 hires we were at this point last year. It definitely has increased from a volume standpoint but obviously again, as you're going through a decentralized to a centralized recruiting function there's still some bugs and kinks that needs to be worked out but definitely from a technology standpoint, from a resource standpoint we are getting there and we will get there.
Peter: Chris, where do you go or what resources do personally use to learn more about how to be more effective as a recruiting leader?
Chris: There's different conferences that I attend - SHRM, different recruiting conferences, the ERE is a good one. We also have from a leadership standpoint within Inova, we have really strong leadership courses that are mandatory for us to go through from a leadership standpoint that are quite helpful as well. So, yes, definitely looking at it from an industry standpoint since we only do healthcare which, for the most part, is fine. Other industries from government contracting, from IT, from banking there's always best practices that you can use to make your recruiting organization stronger. I try to look at it from the standpoint of not looking at it just from a healthcare standpoint but we're looking at our recruiting organization to be best in class from a recruiting standpoint across the board.
Peter: What would you say is the biggest challenge that you're facing for the balance of this year?
Chris: I would say right now we have an initiative, we're implementing Epic right now so it's really looking to...
Peter: What's Epic?
Chris: Epic is an electronic medical record system that we're implementing in all of our hospitals. So maintaining our focus to ensure that we're hiring the right people to support that endeavor will be a major challenge for us. Again, just continuing to work with the recruiters and deal with the volume of hiring that we're doing for the remainder of the year, will be a big focus for us.
Peter: Do you supplement your in-house recruiters with RPOs or with executive search firms?
Chris: Absolutely. What we've also been able to do is come up with what we call our recruitment search team. We have contract recruiters that we bring in for temporary stance to cap out and different facets of the hiring process, whether it be scheduling of interviews, sourcing, backend processing. When we have peak periods of hiring, we do have the ability to bring those recruiters in, have them do parts of the hiring process so that at the same time we're not losing any ground in terms of our hiring.
Peter: And when you have an opening for a fulltime recruiter do, you look for someone who specifically has experience in medical or does that not matter that much.
Chris: It depends on the unit we're looking to staff. For example, for our hard to fill positions for example in the NICU, OR, ED, critical care it's important that the person have some sort of hospital experience. Some of the other positions we have a little bit more latitude with. Ultimately, I do feel a good recruiter who understands the needs of the business or understands the needs of that hiring manager who can effectively sell candidates on positions, can be effective in the industry. I really and truly feel that way. Right now, I'm looking to hire - when we have openings, I want to hire the best recruiter possible and wherever that's person has worked and that person's experience as long as it's translatable to what we do, to me, could be a potential good fit.
Peter: Is there any one or two key attributes that you look for when you're interviewing recruiters?
Chris: I look for initiative. That's one thing in terms of really the proactiveness is what I look for in terms of really dealing with issues and problems before they're presented to the individual. For example, really driving the recruiting process to me is very key. And also, this is very important as well, is the customer service. It's the ability to deal with hiring managers, with candidates and to be able to provide that value-added resource when things are going well and also to be able to also provide solutions when things aren't going well. So definitely the relationship building from a recruitment standpoint with internal and external customers to me is very key. I tell the recruiters all the time when we have our staff meetings, to be effective as a recruiter is not necessarily how many hires you have for a hiring manager, it's if that hiring manager really and truly knows that you understand their requirements and you get to the point where the hiring manager will be able to interview people site unseen from you because they know that you understand their business. Once you get to that point, then you really could establish that strategic partnership.
Peter: I think that's a great perspective. You're so right because traditionally, recruiters is just like fill this job req as fast as you possibly can, right?
Chris: Right, exactly.
Peter: The focus is really changing, which is great.
Peter: Chris, thank you so much for taking time to speak with us today on TotalPicture Radio.
Chris: Thank you.
Peter: Christopher Jackson is director of recruitment for Inova. Remember you'll find a complete transcript of our interview in the Talent Acquisition Channel of TotalPicture Radio. That's totalpicture.com.
This podcast was sponsored by Riviera Advisors. To learn more about how your organization can benefit from Riviera Advisors' internal talent acquisition consulting services, visit rivieraadvisors.com or call 800-635-9063. Be sure to click on the interview tab on TotalPicture Radio's homepage and visit the Insights Amplified Channel, featuring in-depth podcasts with HR leaders and successful talent acquisition practitioners. STARoundtable Press offers RecruitCONSULT! Leadership - The Corporate Talent Acquisition Leader's Field Book written by Jeremy Eskenazi, managing principal of Riviera Advisors. Visit recruitconsult.net to download a free sample chapter from the book. Riviera Advisors is a member of the ASHER Talent Alliance, a global alliance of talent acquisition providers working together to benefit the unique and individual needs of their clients. To learn more about ASHER, visit ashertalent.com.
This is Peter Clayton reporting. Thanks for listening.
About Peter Clayton
Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.