If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that anything can happen. There’s no doubt the last several months have stretched your strategies, time and role beyond what you may typically expect as a recruiter, so when defining your goals for the upcoming year, here are some considerations that may help you tweak your approach for the most success.
Outlining your objectives
Identifying a primary goal can be difficult, especially with the unpredictable nature of 2020 that will likely spill over into 2021. You might ask yourself: What was my biggest recruitment obstacle prompted by the pandemic this year?
Was it communication between recruiters and staff members? Not being able to find the right hires fast enough? Canceled events? Understanding new methods for building connections? New protocols and restrictions for site visits, in-person interviews and other ways to give candidates a glimpse of your community?
It might help to reflect on the month-by-month challenges and victories of 2020 to determine the most promising goals for successful recruiting in 2021. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to start outlining your objectives:
- What was my strategy missing, or what skills did I wish I had developed more when the pandemic first began?
- What knowledge or policies made adjusting to reforms and protocols easier?
- What communication tactics were most effective for keeping connections? Most ineffective?
- What pre-pandemic recruitment strategies remained the same during the shift? Which changed the most drastically?
Selecting the steps
Just as important as setting your goals is how you will measure your successful progression toward them. One way is identifying steps or mini goals that ultimately become stepping stones, or a road map, to your main objective. These mini goals serve as active reminders and provide accountability checkpoints throughout the year.
For instance, if one of your main goals is to fill a specific number of open positions at your organization in 2021, a stepping stone may be more emphasis on branding your organization. The next month, it could be directing attention to your candidate pipeline, then more focus on retention, then drawing more traffic to your job postings and so on. Regardless, it’s a good idea to set a standing appointment with yourself each month to reflect on the steps you’re taking.
So, what are some specific mini goals or steps you can take to better your chances of reaching your larger goals in 2021? You might start with:
- Doubling down on your understanding of virtual networking strategies and best practices for virtual career fairs and events.
- Becoming a resource and gaining new tips, tools and publications to share with prospects.
- Achieving better work/life balance by allowing flexibility to step away from recruiter tasks and recharge.
- Staying in the loop by evolving an understanding of reforms in the wake of COVID-19.
- Increasing job posting views and number of applicants.
- Finding more ways to brand your organization and be identifiable in the industry.
- Learning new practices for retaining physicians and advanced practice providers you’ve hired.
- Adding two (or your chosen number of) new prospects to your pipeline each month.
- Setting a target for how many interviews you’ll conduct each month
Consider prioritizing best (virtual) practices
While the abrupt shift to technology-based recruitment solutions quickly became the norm to work around limits to in-person activities and networking events, it may have also given us an idea of what the future of recruiting could look like in our tech-reliant world.
Even when face-to-face meetings are back in place, some of these virtual tools may be here to stay. That is why it’s a good idea for your goal-reaching steps to include sharpening your understanding of software and virtual programs that best facilitate opportunities for you and your prospects.
What have been your successful practices for virtual interviews or site visits so far? What ways of reaching out have worked well - whether it’s messaging through a recruitment management system, email or talking on the phone? In what areas do you still need to grow? Identifying and prioritizing these components may impact what your main objective looks like, as well as the smaller steps you take to reach it.
Looking back to plan ahead
No matter how well we plan or how seemingly realistic our objectives, sometimes the unexpected occurs. Although it can be a challenge to plan around the information we don’t have, it’s still possible to prepare using the information we do have.
Some ongoing impacts to physician recruitment you might anticipate in the coming year are:
- Continued utilization of tech-based solutions
- Keep seeking virtual events or online networking opportunities that have been most profitable for your strategy so far.
- Enduring complications for site visits and community tours
- Consider creating a site visit video or virtual tour for your employer profile.
- Growing demand for providers and dwindling supply
- Be prepared for shortages and determine your criteria for which candidates - retired physicians or residents and fellows - you’ll pursue when needed.
- Ongoing visa and travel restrictions
- Maintain awareness of these changes so you can answer questions and discuss them with potential hires.
- Further changes to licensing and credentialing requirements
- Stay updated on these shifts and how you’ll determine who can begin practicing when - if obtaining qualifications is delayed.
Do your best to think ahead about which variables are guaranteed, which are uncertain and how they impact your strategy. Doing so may be your best bet at developing pandemic-proof steps that allow you to not only reach, but also exceed your goals in 2021.