In the early years of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, users enjoyed the social media platforms for their ability to connect with friends and colleagues. Today, social media has moved beyond simple entertainment value to essential recruiting and hiring tools in all fields, including nursing.
Amid a nursing shortage that is expected to spiral in the coming years, nurse recruiters are hastening efforts to hire the best and brightest to improve their institutions’ human capital. At the same time, millennials, who are digital natives, have been entering the nursing field at record rates. Healthcare recruitment experts say social media has become the best way to attract millennial nurses.
“Today’s healthcare workers are using social media as a job search tool, and healthcare organizations must ensure that they have a social presence to appeal to potential candidates,” said Meghan Doherty, a content marketing specialist at HealthcareSource recruiting firm. “In order to remain competitive in the talent pool, healthcare organizations must adapt to the changing habits of their future workforce to attract top talent to their organization.”
With such fierce competition to recruit the best nurses, nurse leaders who are in the position to hire, including those who have earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, must think creatively. Undoubtedly, a fundamental element of being an effective nurse manager is mastering social media use for hiring.
Benefits of Digital Recruitment in Nursing
For years, nursing leadership resisted social media use, mainly because it was not considered a priority. Early on, leaders also thought social media would be a liability due to privacy concerns, said Shea Jennings, from the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network.
As healthcare institutions and nursing leadership began embracing social media, many began to see the advantages of using it for recruitment and hiring. Studies have now linked the benefits of social media to successful hiring practices. In 2017, researchers in Belgium examined the connection between one hospital’s use of LinkedIn and Facebook to promote itself and the institution’s appeal as an employer to registered nurses (RNs) and student nurses.
The results were indisputable, researchers said in “Recruiting nurses through social media: Effects on employer brand and attractiveness,” which was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Researchers found the hospital’s social media page positively affected the nurses’ opinion of the employer.
“This study indicates that hospitals’ investments in social media can be justifiable because they can have a positive effect on potential applicants’ organizational attractiveness and employer brand perception,” researchers said. “In addition, we found that in the context of social media, social presence plays an important role in influencing potential applicants’ perceptions.”
Indeed, Doherty, from Healthcare Source, said social media provides recruiters with a direct link to a pool of both active and passive job candidates. In addition, nurses using social media for recruitment also see other benefits, including:
Social media allows nurse recruiters to reach out to candidates they may not otherwise be able to reach. Social media posts and hashtags can be tailored to meet individual job requirements.
Organizations can eliminate third-party recruiters by using their social media sites to promote jobs for free. In some cases, recruiters may also choose to pay to promote their social posts, but often word-of-mouth is enough.
Social media allows recruiters to interact directly with specific candidates and write personalized messages. Through one-on-one interactions, candidates can get a better sense of the organization and vice versa.
In addition, Glassdoor.com said nurse leaders and health systems should use their social media to engage candidates beyond job postings. Recruiters should post quality content that showcases the institution’s culture and core values, Glassdoor writer Sam Holzman said in “5 Social Recruiting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.”
“The truth is candidates use social media for far more than finding relevant job postings. They want to learn about employers, access useful information and engage with companies who they believe might be a good fit. If you post nothing but job descriptions, you’ll struggle to build a following on social media or grab the attention of ideal candidates,” Holzman said.
When trying to build an audience, nurse leaders should look to experts who understand the complexities of social media audiences and demographics.
Tips for Recruiting Nurses Using Social Media
One of the advantages of building social media recruiting campaigns for nurses is the ability to tailor the effort to specific needs. In doing so, recruiters should consider these suggestions and tips:
Identify ideal candidates before beginning the search
Before starting any recruitment efforts, consider the qualifications needed in an ideal candidate. Holzman, with Glassdoor, recommends that recruiters create candidate personas, or fictitious representations of the typical job candidate. The candidate persona helps recruiters identify target job applicants and construct a social media strategy to fit those preferences.
A successful social recruiting campaign involves interacting with the talent pool in meaningful ways. While constant engagement takes time, the return creates a network of people who can apply for jobs, suggest candidates and share job openings.
Candidates know when they receive generic responses to outreach messages, so each dispatch should be tailored to the individuals. Spend time researching the candidate to include specific information in the introductory comments.
Overall, the most effective nurse managers who are in hiring positions focus on growing their social media presence to build relationships with current and future job applicants. Many of the same nurse managers have earned DNP degrees, which provide them with an opportunity to shape the future of healthcare. A DNP education not only helps students develop academic and clinical skills for success, it also helps them improve skills for innovation in healthcare.
At Duquesne University, RNs learn the essential aspects of nursing leadership, including refining organizational systems and transforming healthcare systems, through the online DNP program.
About Duquesne University’s Online DNP Program
At Duquesne University, online DNP program students also learn methods and approaches to healthcare policy and finance that may support improvements to health systems nationwide. DNP students have the option to focus their graduate education in one of three areas of study: Transcultural Nursing, Forensic Nursing or Nursing Education.
Duquesne University is repeatedly recognized as a leader in nursing education, most recently as a “Best Online Graduate Nursing Program” by U.S. News & World Report. The university’s online DNP program provides one-on-one faculty mentorships and a 100% online curriculum. For more information, contact Duquesne University now.
Nursing Shortage Still Afflicting Healthcare: Lippincott Solutions
Millennials flock to nursing at twice the rate of baby boomers, staving off shortage: IndyStar
Why Social Media Should be Part of your Recruitment Strategy: HealthcareSource
Empowering Nurse Leaders to Embrace Social Media: Mayo Clinic
Recruiting nurses through social media: Effects on employer brand and attractiveness: Journal of Advanced Nursing
5 Social Recruiting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them: Glassdoor.com