I work at a company that trains healthcare recruiting professionals. We work with business professionals every day who are transitioning from other industries into healthcare recruiting.
The number one misunderstanding is in regards to how healthcare recruiting really works. It tends to be verbalized something like this:
“Do hospitals really use outside recruiters?”
“Why can’t they just find the candidates on their own?”
“There are lots of job openings, can’t a Nurse Practitioner or physician find their own job?”
This common misconception may be due to the common use of the term “recruiter” in a variety of ways and with conflicted meanings throughout the business world. For instance, the term recruiter is commonly used to represent both the internal human resources operation of a company and the very different “external” function of a third-party recruiter (i.e. headhunter).
Confusion is compounded by the limited knowledge the world has as to what headhunters really do. Most in the business community know very little of the operating procedures of an external or “third-party” recruiter.
Like a magician, the headhunter isn’t going to share his secrets. Our business is steeped in secrecy and confidentiality for both clients and candidates. It is the largely covert and clandestine services of a third-party recruiter that contribute significant strategic value.
As business owners themselves, a third-party recruiter has little incentive to share the intellectual property associated with their operation. Many headhunters make $300,000 to $600,000 per year and some bill more than $1,000,000 in revenue with limited overhead. Why would they want to educate the world as to how they do it?
While a mysterious cloud persists over third-party recruiting, everything that an internal “HR” recruiter does is common knowledge. We all know that human resources puts jobs at the company website, places postings at independent job sites and process resumes through an applicant tracking system.
Many business professionals therefore process, incorrectly, that this is what third-party headhunters do. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
If a hospital or any other medical employer can fill a position on their own and be satisfied with the result, without using a headhunter and paying their $15,000 to $25,000 fee, that is precisely what they will do.
It’s when this “internal” human resources function fails to produce an acceptable result that a “third-party” recruiter is needed.
The reason is simple: human resources will never do what a headhunter does, proactively contact a multitude of top-shelf employees, working for competitors and not looking for a job, in an effort to convince the right one to consider quitting their job and taking a new one.
But that is exactly what a headhunter does.
These two very different tactics draw from two very different talent pools or populations anyway. This is commonly overlooked or unrealized due to lack of awareness of this might difference between what HR does and what headhunters do.
Internal recruiters pull from active job seekers, many who are disgruntled, unhappy or at least restless in their current positions. Also in the “active” population are “job hoppers” and the person who is looking to move up. You also have the unemployed, and no matter the circumstances their former employer has made the decision to longer retain them.
This is the talent pool that human resources pulls from and arguably it is the bottom-half.
Headhunters, on the other hand, fish in the top half of the pool.
The talented individuals we target are not even looking for a job, they have one. They are good at what they do and well rewarded. As headhunters, we must contact qualified individuals, lots of them, until we find those that have all the right skills, is a quality fit with the client, and willing to consider making a move.
Don’t confuse what a third-party headhunter does with the activity of an internal HR recruiter. Two different animals, with two totally different results.