We continue to read in HIT trade journals and blogs, and even in the general news periodicals, about the HIT labor shortage.

Yet many employers seem to forget or be unaware of this market reality when they court potential hires. They are juggling priorities, and filling a critical role is one of many. These competing priorities trade places from day to day, often resulting in interview schedule changes and delays. Some of this is to be expected as critical opportunities or problems arise.

But sometimes a constant shift in focus is a function of habit or management style. Unfortunately, it can be translated by a candidate as either indifference or incompetence. Neither impression helps lure the desired candidate.

So it’s especially gratifying and enjoyable to watch an executive team that appreciates today’s tight labor market. These are the insightful ones who seem to truly believe the oft-stated platitude: “Our people are our greatest asset.”

I saw this in action with one of our clients several weeks ago. The candidate that was emerging as the favorite was being actively pursued by a few potential employers. If anything, we got to her late in her process. As the mutual intrigue was quickly building, we had to break to go to a conference in the east, and this West Coast-based candidate was not scheduled to attend.

The client, a healthcare consulting firm, had a packed schedule of meeting after meeting from morning to night. The usual routine. In an admirable display of focus, the firm flew the candidate to the conference. Once there, they made time to meet with her three times in two days. A verbal offer was extended during the third meeting, and a written offer was e-mailed to her later than same day. Done deal. Smiles all around. The way it’s supposed to work.

For this client, hiring the right person was a priority. More importantly, it remained a priority until the mission was accomplished. It did not get trumped by any other priority, including a full conference meeting schedule.

Seldom fully appreciated by clients is the goodwill and confidence an interaction like this can generate with new hires. In this case, it proved to the candidate that she was highly valued and the management team was competent enough to make it all happen. In a word, they could focus. And that boded well for her vision of joining their team.

Jim Gibson has been in health care for over 25 years. In 2002 he founded Gibson Consultants after several years in healthcare IT and group health insurance. Gibson Consultants is a national search firm specializing in healthcare IT companies.


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