Hiring Extra Shift Workers In Healthcare: 8 Things To Bear In Mind

September 10, 2021
Derek Jones

Derek Jones, VP Enterprise Strategy, Americas at Deputy, explains how healthcare facilities should hire extra shift workers.

To achieve ideal staffing levels, healthcare institutions rely on extra shift workers. Currently, there is a big demand for extra shift workers due to population growth and aging. The Covid-19 pandemic exerted even more pressure and healthcare worker shortages increased. The work of these extra shift workers affects patient outcomes in hospitals, so recruitment managers should follow these eight tips when hiring extra shift workers.

1. Advertise the jobs on niche health boards

Targeted advertising works best in healthcare, especially if compared to open or general advertising. Niche job boards are industry-focused, making it simple to find strong job candidates. This is why you need to place job adverts for extra shift workers on dedicated healthcare job boards -you will reach the appropriate candidates quicker.General job boards reach a wider audience, but many jobs get lost in the shuffle. As a result, many job candidates find them frustrating: they are difficult to navigate so it is better not to use them.

2. Put an orientation program in place before selecting the candidates

Even the most experienced candidates need orientation in a new job. The process enables them to become familiarized with their work environment faster. Orientation programs empower shift workers with confidence to provide excellent patient care.However, for this program to work, you need to design it beforehand.The program structure must be comprehensive enough to cover all aspects of the extra shift workers’ jobs. In addition, program leaders must provide the new employees with feedback and all the necessary support throughout the process.

3. Ask behavioral questions during the interview

Behavioral questions reveal the job candidates` skill set in patient care, as well as their communication skills. Through their answers, you will get to know more about the candidates, making the final hiring decision easier.

Ask them questions like “How do you pacify aggressive patients?” or “How do you respond to unprofessional co-workers?” Such questions target actual behavior on the job. Their responses will help you predict their future job behavior.

4. Background checks are important

It is crucial to conduct thorough background checks when hiring extra shift workers in healthcare. They help to mitigate any risks associated with hiring unfit candidates. Moreover, they assist in upholding the company's reputation and patient safety.

Background checks in healthcare should include identity verification, criminal and sex offense searches. Verify the educational qualifications of the job candidates through the healthcare board. Certain roles need candidates to be board-certified. Drug screening is equally important.

5. Have a panel of experts when selecting extra shift workers

Panel interviews offer a better assessment compared to one-on-one interviews. They present an opportunity for assessing how a candidate manages group dynamics.They also provide different perspectives on the hiring process. On the other hand, job candidates get a feel of the organization's culture through interacting with different people. This familiarity is important because it enables faster candidate integration.

6. Diversity is key in healthcare staffing

Healthcare institutions serve people of various genders, ages, backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. Therefore, representation in healthcare staffing is a must if you want to improve the patient experience. Patients must see themselves within the health workforce. Besides, research suggests that diverse companies outperform those with minimal diversity. This means that healthcare institutions must prioritize diversity - and hiring a team of extra shift workers is no exception.

7. Keep the recruitment process short

The time taken to hire extra shift workers should be as short as possible. Each day wasted affects patient outcomes in healthcare institutions, so streamline the whole process for better efficiencies and better healthcare service delivery.

Long hiring processes have many hidden costs. Furthermore, shift workers in healthcare are in high demand, so you may lose candidates during a lengthy recruitment process. Additionally, slow processes damage candidate experience, and consequently the company image as well.

8. Look out for soft skills

Shift workers in healthcare work with various stakeholders, including patients. Their skill set must include compassion, patience, and emotional intelligence. Good communication and collaboration skills are equally important, because shift work relies on teamwork. Therefore, only hire candidates with a people-centered approach for better patient outcomes, satisfaction, and customer care.

In the same way, shift workers who lack empathy and critical thinking may bring the company into disrepute. Bottom line - avoid hiring job candidates lacking these skills, as they are not a good fit for these roles. Patients prefer healthcare institutions with a good reputation.

Closing remarks

Healthcare institutions need a good recruitment strategy when hiring extra shift workers. If they don’t have one, they may outsource the job to agencies. But regardless of what their recruitment looks like, a reputable employer brand will attract and keep the best talent in healthcare. Approximately 90% of shift workers believe that their work contributes to their company’s success. Healthcare institutions must capitalize on this by providing great employee experiences - and shift workers are the pillar of healthcare.

Derek Jones

Derek spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication. With a focus on healthcare, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.


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