Healthcare IT Employers ~ Are You Hiring Talent or Filling a Job Opening?

As parts of the overall job market are starting to improve (Healthcare IT being one of them of course) I am beginning to see a lot of the same headlines I saw when the economy was coming out of the 2001 recession.  Articles about employment branding (which should never stop even in bad times), the war for talent, etc. are popping up quite a bit.  Estimates are showing that the Healthcare IT industry could be up to 50,000 new positions.

What seems to be different today than in 2001 though, are the titles being used by the people responsible for hiring within companies today.  Recently, I have seen many ads on job boards for Talent Acquisition Consultants, Coordinators, Managers, and Specialists.  New titles alone of course won’t lead to a different way of doing the same job.  Now, I do see some organizations that are creating new staffing roles and are developing innovative ways to get the “best of the best” when it comes to hiring.  But, more often than not, I find that organizations may change the titles in hopes of changing their organizations culture towards hiring. They may also be using the latest hire tools or technology.  But, new titles and tools on top of “old” process (does this sound familiar?) will not obtain new results when it comes to attracting and hiring top talent in the market place. The reality is, with many organizations, overall processes need to be modified.

Hiring managers need to take a look at their teams and determine which “positions” are the most critical to the overall successful performance of the organization.  If these positions are vacant, the leader of the team will feel real pain in accomplishing objectives.  If these positions are not filled quickly, the organization will suffer financial consequences or compromise patient safety.

From what I have seen over last 16 years, what separates top hiring managers from the average ones is that they take responsibility for their own hiring.  I am not talking about simply running ads and screening resumes.  That is what you do when you are filling jobs.  And, I understand that within any organization there are certain policies that have to be followed.

What I am talking about falls into two main, big picture categories (detail will be in later posts).

The first main characteristic of hiring managers that excel in hiring talent is that they are always on the lookout for the ideal person who can step into one of those key roles should they become vacant.

These are people they have met at workshops, conferences; connect with in social network settings or may have responded to previous job postings (ads) etc.   They stay in touch with these people knowing they would be excellent replacements or additions to their team.  Top hiring managers always have 3 – 5 people who they could hire to fill a key position on their team or within their department.

If a key role on your team becomes open, normally you want to fill that position as soon as possible.  If it is not critical that position be filled ASAP, then it really isn’t a critical position.  But if it is a critical position that needs to be filled ASAP, you don’t want to be limited to hiring whoever answers the ad you post within the next 30 – 60 days.  If it is a critical role, you want to then be able to turn to the 3 – 5 people you know who have the right background, knowledge and experience and see if you can get them on your team.

So, the best exercise you can do right now is this…..determine which positions on your team you would consider key (using the criteria mentioned above).   Then ask yourself, if that position became open today, do you have a short list of people you could contact to fill that position.  If you do, then you have talent on your bench.  If you don’t, you are going to begin the process of filling a job!


As a candidate trying to advance your career, you always want to be networking so that you can be on as many “short lists” as possible.  As you can see, top hiring managers are recruiting well before the opening exists.  Have you ever applied for a position thinking your background was perfect for the position yet you never were contacted for an interview?  That’s because in many cases, the hiring manager had their short list in place before the position was posted.  The posting of the ad was either to follow company policy or to make sure there were no other exceptionally better candidates.

Now for the second main category……(coming in the next post!)

About the author


David Kushan

David Kushan is the President of Healthcare IS and has spent the last 18 years of his career working in the Healthcare Information Technology industry assisting over 120 healthcare organizations nationwide. Visit for Dave’s company blog, articles, podcasts and more.

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