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Creative approaches help Children's Mercy find best talent now and for the future

Spechelle Day

Just as Children’s Mercy’s mission relies on innovation to improve the health and well-being of children, the Talent Acquisition team is finding and inventing ways to attract top talent — ones you’ll want to share with your circle of contacts.

Considering that Children's Mercy received more than 31,000 job applications for 1,552 positions over the last 12 months (through October), there’s no shortage of interested candidates. But recruiting is not about the numbers — it’s about taking innovative approaches to finding candidates who’ll be the best fit for the organization.

“I’d rather get the right traffic coming to my door than more people I have to say ‘no’ to,” said Molly Weaver, Director of Talent Acquisition.

Getting that right traffic has been accomplished in large part by the following:

On-the-spot conference interviewing

Earlier this month, Talent Acquisition took advantage of the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Mid-year Career Planning Conference at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel to creatively recruit soon-to-be new graduates.

The NSNA conference provided nursing students from across the country the chance to attend career development workshops, learn from nursing leaders and network with health care exhibitors and each other. With as many as 600 students in their senior year of nursing school attending the conference, Talent Acquisition was intent on making the most of these December 2016 and May 2017 nursing program grads being in CM’s “backyard."

While the team has had a booth presence at the mid-year and annual NSNA conferences before, this was the first time Kansas City had hosted an NSNA conference. Talent Acquisition seized the opportunity by reserving a hotel meeting room where recruiters briefly interviewed potential candidates they identified at the CM booth as being a good match for the organization. Those candidates then were offered a tour of the hospital.

“It’s a captive audience of available talent who have been exposed to our city,” Molly said. “Our biggest challenge with recruiting people outside Kansas City is that they’ve never been here.”

Talent Acquisition Manager Angie Richardson added, “Lots of new grads are very mobile and don’t have ties yet. They’re more willing to pick up and move.”

Several Talent Acquisition team members, including Angie, Talent Recruiter Jeni Hill and Lead Clinical Talent Recruiter Tracy Dickens partnered with Talent Discovery and Outreach Manager Curtis Weber to carry out the plan. In all, CM interviewed 20 nursing students and provided hospital tours to 12 of them.

“I think that investing that one-on-one time in students was valuable on a lot of levels,” Tracy said. “It allowed us to represent not only Children’s Mercy but also Kansas City. The students who went on the tour of the hospital were awestruck. These students won’t just consider us for a career opportunity, they will share their experience with their peers, teachers and families. It will go a long way toward putting us on the map as a hospital destination for graduate nurses.”

Chat with Me Now

Another example of Talent Acquisition’s innovative thinking is its use of Chat with Me Now, which allows recruiters to connect in real-time with job seekers. Recruiters can add a Chat with Me Now button on their social media posts or email signature.

If job candidates have questions about a job posting and the recruiter is marked as “active” online, they can press the button to initiate a live chat.

“That’s how millenials think and that’s how they interact with the world,” Molly said, noting that many job seekers have said they didn’t plan to apply until they knew more about the job.

While it’s early yet — staff have only used Chat with Me Now for about a month — Talent Acquisition has already hired its first candidate as a result of the tool.

National online career fair

Leveraging the power of the Internet, CM will partner exclusively with e-Careers — a company that helps students advance their careers by continuing their education online — to host its first national online career fair on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

The online fair, which will be advertised through Linked In, Facebook, QUEsocial (a platform for sharing content with social networks) and other methods, will target nurses from across the country. Registrants will be able to upload their résumé and view available job openings. The online career fair will feature a virtual booth, and attendees will be able to “chat” with CM recruiters.

Introduce Yourself 

Although it’s been about a year-and-a-half since CM launched the video interview option called Introduce Yourself, it remains one of Talent Acquisition’s top accomplishments.

“It’s truly finding a person their right fit instead of making them guess,” Molly said of reversing the job search. “And as recruiters, that’s what we love to do.”

Angie added, “Introduce Yourself gives (job seekers) a voice. They can tell their story. You can’t do that so much on paper.”

Since Introduce Yourself was launched, more than 4,000 job seekers have recorded videos. CM averages about 30 Introduce Yourself videos a day, and to date, has hired nearly 200 candidates who introduced themselves through the video option.

Children’s Mercy has garnered national attention for Introduce Yourself, including recognition from the Wall Street Journal.

Bosses (kids) recruit

Children's Mercy also has turned to kids for help in attracting top talent. Job seekers who visit the Careers page to use Introduce Yourself will notice that the bosses — in this case, kids just like the ones we serve — are the ones asking the questions as part of the video interview process. Feedback from candidates is that they feel more relaxed because the kids are asking the questions.

“We go back to the mission, and it should be all about the kids,” Molly said. “That’s the real reason we decided to use kids in our recruitment marketing. And it’s to differentiate ourselves. If you look at job postings for health care, they’re always simply pictures of clinical staff.”

Future talent

While Talent Acquisition has implemented all these tactics to target the current pool of talent, it’s also thinking about the future of health care. Last spring, Molly and her team sponsored CM’s first High School Counselor Day, inviting counselors from the Kansas City, Missouri, school district to learn more about health care careers, including those you can get with a certification or associate’s degree.

The next High School Counselor Day is planned for spring 2017.

“Health care is going to have a huge shortage of talent, and so I am going after high schools to get the talent for tomorrow,” Molly said. “Because if students don’t enroll in the right classes, we can’t help.

“The high school program plus tuition reimbursement plus Introduce Yourself plus everything else is building us a pipeline of future talent.”