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Part 2: Easy Reference Checks? Check. Plus Development, Sourcing, & Analytics

As part of transforming talent acquisition at St. Joseph’s Health, our first step was to consolidate all the recruiting professionals into one team, and to automate manual and transactional tasks. We’ve seen some significant results in time savings, especially in the area of reference checking for Physicians, Nurses, and our non-nursing staff. Now, we’re entering Phase 2 of a plan to fully optimize our hiring efforts for long term success.

Implementing SkillSurvey Reference and its Pre-Hire 360® workflow to facilitate online reference checks has been a critical move in terms of both automation and insights. My previous article highlighted the automation benefits, and this one will highlight the strategic impacts.

When we send reference requests to a candidate’s colleagues at all levels, we have been receiving (quickly) a great deal of information back. Feedback has been much more comprehensive and honest than we ever received from the traditional phone-based (and sometimes tedious) phone tag method of years past. But the new process also poses several significant opportunities for the team.

1. Candidate placement. For Nursing positions especially, where we need as many qualified applicants as we can get, we can now be very smart about taking full advantage of the great applicants we do have who may not be the best fit for the role they applied for, but would be excellent for another. Using insight from online reference checks, we have that extra insight to pinpoint the best match for each person; this might be based on skills and expertise, personality of staff, shift or clinical needs, etc. So for us, the Pre-Hire 360 process in SkillSurvey Reference is not just a screening tool, it’s also a placement tool. Matching based on insights should increase satisfaction in the long term on both sides, as well as foster a more optimized applicant pool.

2. Employee Development. At the conclusion of reference checks, we get back to hiring managers with more insight than ever before into a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. This obviously helps in the selection of the final candidate(s), but it can also now influence onboarding, training, and development plans. If hiring managers are more prepared for the specific professional joining the team, they are better able to set that person up to be successful. So far we have two Medical Directors who are actively using information gathered through SkillSurvey to put together action plans and goals for new employees.

3. Sourcing. Finding new candidates is a key component to a recruiter’s job. Our Physician Recruiter John Cerniglia, for example, is very diligent about his sourcing efforts and commits several hours every day to finding new prospects. A big benefit from the online reference check tool is that the references themselves become a passive source of talent for us to mine. “Having all these Physicians who have had introductory exposure to our organization through the reference process and/or their colleague’s interest is great for me. I reach out to them to assess their interest in a potential move – and to ask if they have contacts who might be interested. So it’s a pool of immediate contacts connected to a larger pool of potential contacts,” John explains. All of the recruiters are now working through this new lead source and determining the best way to take advantage for their hiring area.

4. Reporting & Predictive Data. As we continue to leverage the insights and contacts we now have access to, we will be monitoring various metrics to see how our predictions and actions impact the business. We will be looking specifically at 90 Day Quality of Hire, Performance Management at 12 months, and Staff Satisfaction over time. We will assess retention and satisfaction. Our reporting will now be combined across recruiting areas; we are creating useful scorecards for executive use.

So what’s next for us? will be turning our analytics more towards the future and really thinking about predictive hiring and how that can take us to the next level. Additionally, while our focus as a team now is on full time, permanent employees, we are examining ways to redefine our workforce to spread the impact of our technology and expertise even further. This could include contractors, part time employees, volunteers and more. Anyone who has a hand in our patient experience and patient care is important to us as an organization and we want to make sure we have the very best employees delivering that experience.

Check out our full case study on St. Joseph’s Health here.

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