Trouble Hiring Nurses? Here’s How You Can Find Them

October 2, 2014 3:30 pm Published by Will Thomson



Nursing shortage is giving hospitals headaches and recruiters fits

Hiring Nurses is a challenge. First of all there is a definite shortage in the United States. Since the recession, the healthcare industry has been an exploding sector for job growth.

With increasing access and demand for healthcare, every major hospital is looking to hire. A hospital never closes, so there is always a need for someone on weekdays, weekends, nights and days and don’t forget holidays. But just because jobs are available, doesn’t mean it’s easy to get hired. Hospitals aren’t just looking to fill open positions with anyone; the talent that they find has to be qualified with relevant prior experience.

Nurses come with all different skill sets. There are nurses who specialize in ER, ICU, obstetrics, neonatal, ambulatory care, surgical services, rehab, oncology, Med-Surg, ortho, cardiac rehab…the list goes on and on for these highly specialized and sought after candidates. Hiring Nurses is a niche and if that is your specialty, and as a recruiter, that is ALL you do.  

Let’s take a Registered Nurse as an example. Why is it so hard to hire a good RN?  The problem is that there is a shortage of experienced RNs. When you are dealing with life and death, there is no room for error. Hospitals are busy places and it is ideal if a candidate can jump into a role quickly. Recent graduates often have difficulty getting their first job in nursing — hospitals are in such need for nurses that they simply don’t have the luxury to train a new nurse for 3-6 months when an experienced candidate can be ready to work immediately with little to no training.

Nurses are also predominately female. According a recent survey, 90% of nurses are female and 60% are married with families. With the recent recession, many females have had job stability while their spouse’s jobs have had uncertainty. Because of this many “breadwinning” nurses have not been looking for other opportunities. 

Hospital censuses continue to grow and more and more nurses are needed. 

So how does a recruiter find and place a Nurse?

The truth is that every hospital is fighting for the same talent. A nurse is often on their feet all day. They are most likely not sitting in front of a computer and many of them haven’t thought about putting a resume together in years.    

Oddly enough, a lot of recruiters get nurses’ mailing addresses and send information via mail about a new hospital opening or a new opening in a different city.

But direct mail won’t cut it today. We have access to technology that allows us to attract, connect with and hire candidates faster (and cheaper) than that. Leveraging the power of social media for hiring can be extremely effective, especially in the healthcare field.

While LinkedIn has a reputation as the “professional social network,” it’s not a relevant channel for many nurses. Some might have profiles on LinkedIn, but even if they do, it is not a social site that they frequent. While recruiters may find luck headhunting individuals on LinkedIn, simply sending an inmail is unlikely grab the candidate’s attention.

Facebook, on the other hand, has a surprisingly large number of healthcare professionals: nearly 1.5 million nurses, 200,000 physical therapists and millions of other healthcare professionals.* Facebook is different than LinkedIn in that the average user spends 55 minutes daily on the social network. Smartphone users are checking their Facebook apps 14x times per day! With this constant activity and significant time spend there is a high potential for engagement and building a relationship with candidates.

Many in-demand Nurses are already employed and aren’t actively looking for job opportunities. Facebook advertising for recruitment is a great solution for reaching passive candidates. You can target specific profiles based on their location, connections, interests, current employment and more. Since the ads are mobile-friendly, it also matches their busy, on-the-go lifestyle and allows you to get in front of candidates without interrupting their day.  

Another way to recruit nurses is through other nurses. Referrals are key because they are more likely to want to work with someone they know. If a nurse is happy with a hospital, it is more likely they will want to work with their friends and colleagues. Nursing is a small and close community. With the average Facebook user having 350 connections, your referral process can also be made easier through social media and allow your job openings to go viral.

Recruiting nurses takes time. It takes patience. It is very competitive. Simply stated, there are not enough great nurses out there.

The one thing that is for sure though is there will always be a need for nurses and it is a fantastic profession to be in. Recruiters have their work cut out for them when finding the talent. 

Have you used social media channels to recruit nurses? Let me know in the comments!


*Based on analysis of Facebook Ad Platform results, targeting users age 22+ 


This post was written by Will Thomson

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