Indianapolis, Indiana-based Community Health Network wanted to up its hiring game. It wanted the best clinical and administrative employees it could find in Indiana.
To help with this goal, the health system turned to a text message-based recruiting platform to find not only nurses but also master-level social workers, housekeepers, security personnel, patient services representatives, cooks, environmental services staff and others.
More and more hospitals are using texting. Secure messaging has even been called the digital health tool of the 21st century. And providers are using texting in a number of ways, such as reminders about medication adherence.
Community Health Network started using the text tool from vendor Canvas on a limited basis in May 2018 and by the end of June it had 22 recruiters trained and using the tool. To date, Community Health Network has contacted nearly 1,800 individual applicants and obtained an 83 percent response rate using the text-based recruiting tool.
Before, using traditional recruitment methods such as e-mail and phone conversations, response rates typically ranged from 45-60 percent, very dependent on the type of position for which they were recruiting. Most recently, several heart and vascular nurses were recruited and hired using Canvas.
Mobility is ubiquitous today, but mobile technology for human resources is not quite as present. Still, vendors in the market selling mobile systems for recruiting include Jobvite, TextRecruit, TigerConnect and Trumpia.
Prior to using the text tool, Community Health Network was experiencing quite a bit of lag time – sometimes as much as 72 hours – from when a job candidate first submitted their resume or application to when the recruiter was able to make the first connection with them, explained Scott Sendelweck, human resources digital marketing manager at Community Health Network.
"We were constantly e-mailing candidates or leaving phone messages and often had a difficult time reaching this busy talent generation," he said. "The candidates we seek, such as nurses, are always on-the-go and aren't typically sitting at a computer all day or glued to a desk, checking their e-mail. Now we are able to connect with job candidates by sending a quick text message via the recruiting and interview platform."
Canvas is an enterprise platform that also is available as an iOS and Android mobile app and Chrome Extension. Once job seekers fill out an application online, one of Community Health Network's 22 recruiters responds to the application with a text via Canvas to begin a conversation. The applicant can text back and answer screening questions from the recruiter with the goal of qualifying that candidate for a phone call or in-person interview.
Recruiters can send out the same message to multiple recipients, saving time. Recruiters also can preload a set of questions posed during recruitment, screening and interviewing. Recruiters can send information such as benefits, culture, schedules and other frequently asked questions.
"We have contacted 1,772 individual applicants, ranging from nurses to customer service representatives, master-level social workers, housekeepers, security professionals, patient services workers, therapists and more," Sendelweck said.
The 83 percent response rate using the text-based recruiting tool has been key to a better recruiting process.
"It's mostly about the speed to market and speed to application," he explained. "We can instantaneously start these important conversations as soon as we get an application. There is no lag time like there is using traditional recruiting techniques. We are showing the candidate that we really care about their experience, time and work/life balance. Every candidate is important – we treat them and the process like gold."
Healthcare is an extremely competitive industry and using this text messaging tool has given Community Health Network a way to stand out to top talent and give its recruiters an edge, he added. Recruiters no longer have to worry about missing a call-back from a candidate if they step away from their desk, and they can even text dozens of candidates at once, he said.
"Community Health Network is adapting to using the text-based platform," he said, "just as candidates have adapted to using text messaging in nearly all walks of their lives."