Month: August 2016

Why the Best Candidate is Simply a Grown-up

After 10 years of owning my own retained firm I’ve been lucky to have been mentored and occasionally schooled by several superlative hospital CEO’s and stellar candidates. A CEO of a Top 100 CAH told me when recruiting for his COO; hire on personality and you’ll win every time. That was 2006 and that particular advice from a now Legacy Client is a cornerstone of Hunter Ambrose maintaining 99% retention rates year after year.

A recent placement of a retiring US Army Captain assuming a VP of Nursing position communicated over hours of conversation  with a level of directness and grace I could only describe as verbal ballet. Direct, with purpose, honesty and a sense of appreciation all conveyed  in elegant non-mitigating communication.

Healthcare professionals have enjoyed their golden age of opportunity for over 20 years and it won’t be slowing down anytime soon. You can literally have a job in any state with an income well above a middle-class income. It is a well deserved privilege.

My first glimpse  of the healthcare demand was reading a newspaper advertisement for a Phoenix hospital offering 10k bonuses and new VW bugs to RN’s in 1998. Today, a RN with a 2 year degree can earn $45.00 an hour working in a Level I Trauma Center, Medical Technologists are being offered 10k sign on bonuses and HIM Coders are able to earn $38.00 working remotely. Not to mention hospital CEO’s who earn over a million dollars a year. Yes, healthcare professionals are in demand, are valuable and essential for the economic and physical health of this country.

However, something happens when a person strays from gratitude to entitled. Despite the demand for qualified, compassionate and high-performing healthcare professionals; like any in-demand profession the candidate can quickly jump from strong and qualified to demanding and entitled. And, it only takes a few mis-steps….

A Hunter Ambrose candidate is defined by 5 benchmarks during our vetting process: 

  1. Honesty- Is the candidate honest and self-aware about his/her qualifications and goals? Does the candidate follow through on emails and appointed calls? Hunter Ambrose operates 7 days a week and there is no quicker way to tank your relationship with any firm than not picking up for the 6am Saturday call you requested ). Does the candidate respond honestly regarding experience and able to answer tough questions without getting defensive?  Does the candidate have the strength of character to ask questions representative of his/her true intentions for the job search? Is the candidate saying what he means and means what he says?  In short- Is the candidate a grown-up? 
  2. Motivation– Can the candidate accurately and generously share his/her motivation for looking for a new job? Is it location, money or title/ opportunity? One of these qualities will always outweigh the others and candidates who can’t answer the question or dialogue to a conclusion aren’t ready for a job search.
  3. Self-Awareness– Can the CEO candidate truly navigate mergers and accusations negotiations  with competitors if hired; can the new CNO of a 30 bed hospital cross-train all RN’s to become proficient in LTC, Med-Surg and ER in 12 months;  can the HIM Coder meet the inpatient coding productivity standards set forth by the employer? And, if the candidate can’t meet the qualifications, (which is often not a a reason to be disqualified),  DOES the candidate have a plan to get there?
  4. Walk the path- 90% of HA candidates relocate more than 500 miles. We’re not just talking jobs, we’re talking housing prices, schools, elder care, state taxes and quality of life. HA shares its research, good, bad and interesting with the candidate to ensure this is the right path at the right time for the candidate and the candidates stakeholders. Candidates who don’t follow this course of discovery with the firm aren’t engaged, looking for the wrong reasons or worst of all approach a job search much as they would a new position- With minimal facts, half-hearted research and marginal commitment. A FNP candidate who would be relocating from Florida to a community I actually lived in 20 years ago has shared information about the area that I didn’t even know existed. I’ve received links and articles from her which has enriched our conversations and will hopefully ensure this is the right move for her and her family.
  5. Decisiveness– CEO’s have stakeholders when hiring; some have created democracies where everyone gets a vote. Knowing your stakeholders as a candidate is paramount. Whose career is driving the family income? Does the spouse/ partner have to be guaranteed a job when that spouse’s contribution is less than 30% of the total annual household revenue? Do you have a child who is a piano protege or an adult child who lives with you and needs to attend college to finish his/her degree? When the offer comes; so often the human and emotional stakeholders emerge and can impede or stop the job search. Quite often with a great deal of frustration and resentment from all parties involved.  Knowing who will be making the decision and why is a ,much-needed dinner table conversation before interviewing with a potential employer.

Hunter Ambrose recently celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary. There is a plethora of outstanding recruitment firms in the United States and yet only a handful of retained, women owned firms that have lasted 10 years. Hunter Ambrose would not have achieved this milestone without the trust of our valued clients in 40 states and thousands of truly exceptional candidates. Every conversation, every search has been a worthwhile experience where I hope we have made a positive difference to our clients and candidates and the communities they serve. Thank you.