Why your “Marketing” people should not make your Recruiting Products

After a decade of being on the pulse of how hospitals recruit and what is necessary to reach and compete for top practitioner talent I have learned a great deal about the types of professionals best suited for it as well as the most efficient and effective technologies and approaches for recruiting.  Especially in hospitals, where recruiting is not just expensive but in the balance are lives of patients, marketing people should not be responsible for designing products and web content for recruiting.

Over the last decade as our culture has migrated to the Internet, it is understandable that marketing has been placed in charge of hospital web content primarily to promote their services and for community relations – after all, somebody had to be placed in charge of it.  But this has been nothing short of a disaster for recruiting, which has totally different requirements which begins with having a selling background, which leads to having a conscious awareness of competition as well as a proactive nature

Marketing professionals don't have backgrounds in recruiting or direct sales, among many reasons why they shouldn't be in charge of producing recruiting products or developing strategies.

toward understanding how jobseekers behave, their needs, the technology tools they use, and recruiting costs.

  • When a company EVP of Human Resources or a hospital administrator has a critical personnel need or opening to fill, they certainly do not think of their marketing director.
  • Instead, they seek out an expert – and this begins to reveal the problem, and who should make recruiting materials for employers – especially web-based material, which I will cover at the end.

Recruiting has become more expensive!  How is this possible?  Today technology solutions clearly suggest it should be far cheaper.  Recruiter firms totally dominate the Internet even though we all knew jobseekers were headed here. 

Who is to blame for employers having no proactive orientation toward harnessing these search engine techniques to acquire candidates for their open jobs, among many ways to attract jobseekers, hospitals exhibiting no compelling web content that positively affects their recruiting outcomes and a decade-long passive approach to web design and technology and products that affect recruiting? 

Marketing professionals were not hired to recruit.  They don’t have the backgrounds to make good recruiters.  And world-class recruiting requires direct sales experience – which marketing people also don’t have, and most people don’t like selling and the rejection that is a part of it. 

Marketing professionals should be allowed to thrive and do the things they truly enjoy and what they were hired to do; instead, place them in a supportive role to experts who produce your recruiting materials.

1) Few Marketing people have any background in professional selling. 

As a former sales professional in a high-turnover tech field and then a sales trainer of stock brokers and other professionals in competitive industries, what stands out the most to me in employer recruiting is the lack of internal people with legitimate experience in competitive, commissioned sales environments.  There is no experience-based awareness of very basic approaches to leverage advantages, or “Sales 101” techniques, to impact as well as shorten what is a long, complex process, and then “close” searches.

One example of how this is revealed is the most common practice for recruiting by hospitals as the sum total of their web content for recruiting, is giving various websites to jobseekers on different topics to apparently compel them.  Today’s jobseekers can find those websites without help.  This “strategy” places the “sale” into the hands of other websites; there’s nothing more charming than to see a hospital list a link to their local newspaper exclaiming “learn about our community” and there was a recent meth bust or homicide in town featured on its home page.  Understanding sales, being proactive, influencing the outcome, is clearly not evident in hospital recruiting materials and content, and the marketing people also didn’t bother to take time to see their competition does the same things – studying the competition is what all sales pros do.  

Does a hospital really want a desirable prospect to base their decision on which hospital’s community has a better newspaper website or schools website, etc?  “Sell yourself by taking your valuable time to sift through these websites, which were not made for recruiting you, but that’s what we want you to do,” is hardly an approach I can applaud.

This orientation continues in how prospects and candidates are handled.  The hospital’s “recruiter” has been watered down to being a person who merely puts together the site visit itinerary.  Generally, the physician candidate dictates the process – not the hospital; another sign there is no professional selling being conducted to influence the outcome in any way (which is incredible to me given the costs and what is at stake).

The result is the position eventually gets filled.   But there is no orientation toward that recruiter or anyone at the hospital being incentivized to improve the process, or punishment delved out for poor results.  In most hospitals no statistics or tracking of placement efforts is done – yet another sign there is no sales orientation.  Nobody is responsible.  But the expenses are extreme – not just the cost of the search effort, but in landing lesser candidates, omissions of getting referrals, little after-the-sale work with the new employee, etc.   Turnover is generally the result of the physician not being educated on the community nor really sold into it to become a part of it and invest in it – this is absolutely the hospital’s fault, or the hospital’s management company.

I have met hospital administrators who exclaim “I don’t believe in selling” when it comes to recruiting – which is astonishing, especially when hospitals deal with lives of people!  Smarter administrators must understand that in order to deliver better service, make more money, and limit mistakes means landing the better candidates over their many career choices – recruiting is therefore competitive selling. 

  • Would hospital leaders who ultimately oversee recruiting decisions rather pay expensive third party recruiters to do the work and be willing to deal with high costs and poor long term recruiting results such as poor turnover, simply because they don’t like to sell and or be rejected?  “Selling” and being rejected is a powerful and debilitating fear; yes, that fear is often more powerful than a hospital getting motivated to go after the very best candidates, even to save money or develop a process that improves things (if it involves any form of direct selling).

2)  Marketing people have no recruiting experience, either.  (Neither do website designers so put these two together and it’s no wonder hospital websites are void of compelling recruiting content).

The approach of making recruiting products or web content by marketing professionals is not from one of experience and the understanding that every candidate needs to have indelible information for many relocating needs, and they are considering other options.  And details about the employer need to be clearly provided because they have so much to remember and numerous employers and locations going through their minds.  On top of that, jobseekers should be educated so the new hire can be sustained instead of the spouse or the couple learning incompatible things after they accept the job and make the expensive move, only to see them, so they never make a true commitment to the new career position and the area. 

Marketing people don’t know the costs of recruiting such as lost time, mistakes, and omissions, and don’t have the orientation to see what new products and technologies would be helpful to make their hospital stand apart. 

They also cost the hospital by not having the mindset to be on the lookout for ways to make their recruiting process more efficient.  There is a reason hospitals need as many as three interview trips to close a physician and then have a poor turnover rate because the physician was sold on compensation and not on a career.  

3) Recruiting is not the marketing person’s primary job

They were hired to promote the hospital’s services and ultimately generate new business as well as for community relations.  Again, they aren’t salespeople. 

  • Recruiting is not just selling, but competitive direct selling, and few people like to “sell,” or what they think as being pushy when the reality is people don’t like to be told “no” or get rejected. 

As a result, the orientation of marketing people when it comes to recruiting is to not make it their priority (so they perceive a great deal of their time devoted to recruiting is rushed and considered an inconvenience) and they are passive about it – this again explains why candidates often dictate the interviews (instead of being led on the interview which is what all good sales people and recruiters do). 

Instead, the mindset of marketing people in recruiting is to be reactive and wait to be instructed to, or react to a need vs. anticipating one or attempting to steer the process so it is more efficient.  They aren’t wired to design things to positively influence recruiting outcomes.

4) Marketing people are not on the pulse of technology regarding recruiting. 

Because their orientation is to generally promote their hospital and not “one on one” sales to anyone, unlike a sales professional, the marketing person never studies or takes time to research and understand the latest tools jobseekers are using and the challenges of reaching them. 

For example, most corporations are PC-based. With the federal government requiring the movement to electronic records and evidence-based medicine, there is a growth of the use of the IPad by physicians.  But marketing people and their website makers design their websites on the PC platform and as a result their videos and many images are not compatible with the IPad that physicians use during career search. 

  • Marketing people also don’t understand how jobseekers look for careers.  One of the biggest tragedies resulting from hospitals placing their recruiting content into the hands of marketing has been how the recruiting industry is a generation ahead of them in search engine optimization and results. When a jobseeker types into a Google search “physician jobs in Ohio” almost all the results are recruiter firms.  This is because marketing people aren’t from that competitive background and didn’t think one step ahead for ways to get to those professionals; they didn’t proactively think and then seek to learn about this technology or how jobseekers behave in order to reach them. On the other hand, people with a sales background who automatically have a proactive and competitive streak, see this clear as a bell that hospitals were asleep at the wheel as the jobseeker was changing.

5) Marketing professionals don’t make their recruiting materials to last.

Because marketing people are generally not responsible for the budget for recruiting materials, so there is not a focus on making recruiting products that have a long, quality life.

Regarding products or web information designed for recruiting, 90% of the time marketing people label what is being featured in the number of years it has been in use or number of years an employee has been at the hospital. Instead, they simply placed dates, such as “Joe Smith has been at our hospital since 2005,” then they wouldn’t have such high maintenance materials and content that needs annual adjustments because “Joe Smith has been at our hospital for seven years,” etc. 

6) Numerous mistakes are made by marketing professionals when representing the employer’s service area.

Hospitals are too provincial in how they represent their communities.  Generally speaking, their recruiting content and materials only feature their immediate area.  For example, a hospital will generally not promote features outside of town – whether it be a cool Olympic kayak center, or a colonial village, major shopping centers, a NASCAR racetrack, etc. 

  • With no orientation towards sales and not having a high income level of the professionals they are recruiting, marketing people totally miss how they need to represent in their recruiting content the lifestyle that a well-to-do family will have in their area – which means they aren’t going to stay home every weekend. To expand the quality of life factor out into a community’s region to cover recreation, premier shopping, entertainment venues, wineries, ski resorts, spas, country clubs, theaters, etc., is an example of putting on the prospect’s shoes and identifying with them. And yet this is rarely done by hospital marketing people in charge of making recruiting materials because they don’t understand much less internalize the needs of prospects.

7) Money Motivates.

The best way to motivate those who make recruiting materials as well as internal recruiters to grow their skills is to incentive (and penalize) them.  For instance, if the people making recruiting material were penalized or paid less for every month a job is unfilled, for every third party recruiter fee paid to fill a job, for every wasted interview trip or an additional trip needed because the candidate didn’t learn enough information on the first trip, for poor turnover results, it seems to me they would either start improving or they would quit – and my experience is that many people involved in hospital recruiting should.

The only issue with this strategy is the problem with the learning curve and the time marketing people would be asked to devote to committing to improvement.

Who should make hospital recruiting material if marketing professionals aren’t capable and the learning curve is not practical or financially feasible at the hospital?

Middle school students can make websites now.  And my college interns, many who are geeks and have all day to play with the latest technologies, can run circles around in-house web people.  And website developers – in-house or contracted, are equally inept at understanding the basic needs of employer recruiting, much less their subtleties, and they aren’t salespeople either.

  • Marketing people should stick to what they were primarily hired for:  marketing the hospitals services, and employee and customer relations, making banners, the hospital newsletter, etc.  They aren’t sales people.  They aren’t recruiters.  They don’t even like doing it.
  • Who should produce recruiting materials and web material for hospital companies? The answer is the same for whom hospitals call to fill their jobs, and the same for when they advertise their careers: specialists.

With Online Job Tour®, we bring to a hospital the complete knowledge of the recruiting needs and costs of recruiting – not just the line item costs, but the awareness of the difference in time to fill openings, higher caliber recruits, and better retention numbers, among many things. 

  • I am a former tech sales professional and top producer, and I am a former sales trainer.  I am also a former physician recruiter.
  • On top of that, after my invention of Online Job Tour in 2001 I have used it as a specialty physician recruiter with clients and candidates, and the last seven years we have test marketed it at hospitals using it as their primary recruiting tool.
  • Marketing professionals, directed by their administrators, play a supportive role in the development and then the upkeep of the product after we produce it after a site visit to their hospital and service area.
  • And with my ground zero expertise vs. information sharing that many consultants do, our experience and expertise offer additional value to clients as we can provide them with technology solutions to many of their staffing and recruiting strategies.
  • Online Job Tour is patented, offering a compelling competitive recruiting advantage.

Other options exist in the market to help hospitals with their recruiting, which include traditional companies that can make great glossy brochures, as well as production companies who make lovely streaming recruitment videos. However, these products should be evaluated on an individual basis and also examined should be the people producing them and whether they have the expertise and experience that would promote the products being truly effective investments that help recruiting vs. costs that add to the recruiting budget.

Online Job Tour was invented and refined over a decade to offset their limitations and save time, effort, and money, promote better results, and remove these marketing people from a task they never really wanted or were hired to do, and what they don’t want to do – or they want to do in their marginalized way in order to make it as convenient as possible, but at everyone’s expense.

When a hospital CEO has a desperate need to fill a job and his or her career is on the line, they don’t call their marketing director. They can an expert with proven results.  So why should marketing directors be making the hospital’s recruiting material?  They shouldn’t be.

For more information about Online Job Tour or our significant work especially in healthcare career search, visit www.onlinejobtour.com where you can also find me.


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