With more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, I’ve witnessed immense change over the years, especially as it relates to recruiting and hiring. And whether your building is hiring direct care staff or executive leadership, being present and standing out from the competition online is critical. 

By doing a quick search on any job board, you’ll find that there are more than 8,500 Director of Nursing (DON) positions open nationwide. As we make our way through 2024, nursing centers will need to expand beyond traditional marketing efforts to attract employees. 

So where do you start? The answer is closer than you think.

When the number of job openings far exceeds the number of job seekers, the key to finding the best talent is incorporating efforts that also focus on passive candidates. According to multiple studies, 70% of the workforce is passively looking for a new job. These individuals aren’t spending time scrolling through job boards each day. However, they are spending time on their phones on their favorite social media platforms.

The average adult spends about 2.5 hours on social media every single day. That adds up to more than 17 hours per week. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok may sound like unconventional ways to generate interest and attract candidates, but studies show that 73% of job seekers ages 18-34 found their last job using social media. If your organization doesn’t have a presence across multiple platforms, you are missing out on a low-cost way of building relationships with your future hires.

Having a presence on these platforms allows you to strengthen your employer brand, showcase your culture, save on recruitment costs, and ultimately get people interested and excited about your open positions. It is a valuable recruitment strategy because of the way it allows you to connect with active and passive candidates in a natural and genuine way. Plus, it’s all happening in real time. If someone comments on your company’s post or sends a private message, you have the ability to respond to them almost immediately.

Building a solid social media recruitment strategy starts with five steps:

1. Determine who will be involved. Determine who will be primarily responsible for posting, and if approval is needed from leadership. We recommend ensuring that at least two people on your team have access to all media platforms – including usernames and passwords in the event someone is on vacation or leaves the organization.

2. Set short-term and long-term goals. These can include increasing the total number of new applicants by X percent and lowering the overall cost per hire. Remember, social media successes come with time. By showing up consistently and genuinely, you’ll begin to build rapport and become more recognizable online.

3. Work with HR or hiring managers to get a list of open positions. Determine which positions to post (and the appropriate platforms for them) as well as messaging that will best resonate with that audience. If you have openings for CNAs and offer daily pay or complimentary meals, talk about it. If you provide career advancement opportunities or tuition reimbursement, talk about it. Make it easy for your audience to see the benefits of working for you. 

If you are unsure what to post, ask your current employees what got them to apply. Remember, what you think is important may not be the same as what is actually important to your specific audience.

4. Decide where to post. Each platform has a different audience. We know that people ages 18-34 make up 60% of Instagram’s audience, and 78% of TikTok users are under 39 years old. Posting direct care, support roles, and even middle management opportunities could be effective for these two platforms. 

One thing to note though – Facebook is king. Facebook remains the leading social media platform. It has been around since 2004 and has special features such as groups dedicated to healthcare jobs, where you can gain access to hundreds of qualified candidates in your area.

5. Create a blend of content. Everything you post shouldn’t be about your open positions. In fact, everything you post shouldn’t be about your company. Think of your online presence like a first date. When you first meet someone, it’s off-putting if all they do is talk about themselves and how spectacular they are. Your organization’s posts should include a mix of entertaining, educating, and promoting. For example, a post that entertains could include resident activities or employee recognition while educational posts can include quick health facts or articles.

Social recruiting works. Your organization’s social media efforts can complement the more traditional ways of reaching potential new hires, but in order for it to work for you, you have to invest the time to develop a plan and remain consistent. Your target audiences are showing up on social media for multiple hours each day. Are you?

Kendra Nicastro is the Director of Business Development and Marketing Strategy for LeaderStat, a national healthcare recruitment and consulting firm. She presented this session at the American Health Care Association (AHCA) Annual Convention and presents at healthcare events across the country on recruitment and retention strategies.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

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