HRO Today: Social Media Savvy

October 28, 2013

By Carol Johnson

Today's clinical job seekers are becoming more sophisticated, engage and targeted in their use of digital, mobile and social media, leveraging tools to more efficiently and effectively manage their job search and connect with others who can help their careers.

A vast number of social and mobile tools provide access to companies, jobs and the ability to network, network, network. Though a variety of healthcare career search options abound, clinicians appear to be using significantly fewer resources in 2013 to look for a job than in prior years; instead, they are taking advantage of social media to connect with companies and making sure their professional persona shines through online. These are among the findings from AMN Healthcare's third annual survey of clinicians' use of social media and mobile for career purposes. Of the clinicians who responded, one-third said they are actively looking for a job right now and two-thirds reported that they searched for jobs in the past two years. This recent study further examines clinicians' job search behaviors and utilization of technology.

The job search methods most popular for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and allied professionals in 2013 include:
Direct contact with an organization (62 percent)
Use of job boards (60 percent)
Referrals (51 percent)
Search engines (49 percent)
Recruitment found me (38 percent)
Healthcare-focused social media sites (30 percent)
General social media sites (21 percent)

While referrals declined precipitously year over year among clinicians, it is still one of the top sources cited for getting hired.  

Other job search methods, which all declined year over year, include open houses, career fairs and print newspaper ads; they were bested this year by healthcare-focused social media sites (30 percent) and general social media sites (21 percent).

How Clinicians Use Social Media 

According to the AMN survey, a striking 85 percent of clinicians use social media in a variety of ways, including to source jobs. While pushing out job postings to candidates isn't a bad idea, employers shouldn't discount the opportunity to share the company's values, culture and purpose via social media as well.

Consider using social media to raise your flag of authenticity through videos, peer-to-peer interaction and directly through the voice of your customer and employees. Begin to establish yourself as an authority in the field by building awareness about a specific career path within an industry.

Take for example, American Mobile (an AMN Healthcare company) and the website TravelNursing.com recently hosting a video contest, The Travelers Journey. It called for nurses to develop videos showcasing why travel nursing is a career opportunity to consider. The program provided real stories, peer-to-peer advice and high interaction. In fact, one of the most popular aspects of the contest included allowing the community to choose the winning video. Some of the videos were also sponsored on Facebook and shared on YouTube, and they remain a popular resource for nurses to learn about the career opportunity.

AMN's survey of social and mobile media also shows that one in four clinicians use social media to research companies, which gives rise to the opportunity to focus on your employment brand. What's more, one-third of healthcare professionals use social media to see if they know someone in a company to make a career connection, and one in five use social media to locate recruiters. 

At Med Travelers (an AMN Healthcare company), allied recruiters are frequently contacted by candidates on their personal and company social sites, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn.

In fact, a recent connection made between a Med Travelers recruitment manager and a candidate resulted in a successful hire and a recommendation on the social site where they connected, which has since led to other career connections.

Social Sites of Choice

Clinicians have fine-tuned where they spend their social time. Most notably, their top career-related social site has shifted from Facebook to LinkedIn. Facebook was the dominant choice among nurses and allied professionals and to a lesser degree among physicians and pharmacists, for the past few years. In 2013, LinkedIn catapulted ahead: 58 percent of clinicians now select it as their preferred site for career purposes. Their second favorite is Facebook (24 percent) and Google+ (10 percent) is a distant third. Twitter is currently favored by only 1 percent of clinicians.

Apparently clinicians are in the right place, as Forrester and Simply Hired reported in June that recruiters are also leaving Facebook behind in favor of LinkedIn.

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals are also taking a look at their professional reputations online. The majority of clinicians surveyed said they enhanced their social profiles online this year. 

It's a smart idea: online image management websites like Trusted ID and Reppler.com are sources recruiters leverage for professional discrepancies and assessing candidates' online images.   

According to AMN's survey, 61 percent of clinicians updated their profiles in 2013. About one-third said they refrained from posting negative/offensive content, 25 percent updated their profiles with a professional image, while 24 percent chose to make their profiles private. In addition, candidates are showing they understand the value of keyword discovery - 14 percent enhanced their profiles with topi9cs relevant to jobs of interest. About 10 percent also used their contacts for professional gain or requested endorsements from connections.

The bottom line? Talent sourcing continues to evolve for organizations. Understanding the candidate's digital, social and technological behaviors is critical to being seen as a trusted career advisor. Tap into the networks where your audience interacts - then listen, learn, engage, experiment and refine. No two solutions are likely to be the same for every company.