How Has COVID Impacted the Way We Hire Healthcare Providers?

Aug 26, 2020

Healthcare facilities faced one of two hiring problems when the pandemic hit. For those located in hotspots with a large number of cases, hiring needs escalated as the demand for primary care and testing centers increased. For those located in less impacted communities, hiring efforts froze due to a lack of patients. For AltaMed in Los Angeles, the former applies. During our Inline Sessions, we spoke with David Lin, the manager of talent acquisition with AltaMed about the ways COVID impacted their hiring process and what they’ve done to overcome the hurdles associated. 

“With the pandemic...healthcare organizations have to really demonstrate the agility that the organization holds. AltaMed...slowed down (hiring) significantly to focus more on key roles that our frontline...and operational staff needed to be able to keep operations going and continue to serve the community as we have been for the past 50 years.” - David Lin, AltaMed


For AltaMed, COVID-19 created a shift of focus. Their recruiting strategy, approach, interviewing, selection, and pre-employment processes all changed. LA needed physicians for both primary care and testing centers - and AltaMed needed to provide. So what changes took place to meet the needs of the community, the hiring team, and the physicians being hired?


Provide physicians and other providers with peace of mind.

Many providers who’ve recently begun a job search are coming from an environment where they didn’t feel safe, both in job security and health. 21% of doctors have been furloughed or faced a pay cut due to COVID. Then consider that more than 140,000 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19, and their unease makes sense. Your recruiting team now faces the challenge of answering any and all questions providers may have - and they’ll likely be questions you haven’t heard in the past. Taking note of questions you hear during interviews will help you continuously improve your interview process as the pandemic continues.


Let the community know you are still open and hiring.

With physicians searching for reliable facilities to work with, it is necessary to send out messages of reassurance and optimism. As one of the partners that tag team with Los Angeles County, AltaMed converted facilities to testing centers and continued to operate at a steady pace. In order to continue hiring the physicians needed for these needs, AltaMed faced an advertising challenge. By utilizing social media, they let the community know they were open and staffing up to meet the community’s needs. Through network contacts, they generated 30-35% of their applicant pool just in the last six months. 

Embrace the virtual interview process.

With in-person interviews placed on hold for the foreseeable future, finding the right provider may feel more difficult. No more lunches or facility tours. How are you supposed to truly get to know your candidates? At AltaMed, the hiring team simply had to create alignment with executive management about how the staffing model would shift. Team members may push back and say it’s impossible to gauge a candidate virtually. This isn’t true. You just need to adjust your process. Establish what the key roles are and what their key responsibilities are so when you speak with candidates, you have the right conversations and ask the right questions. Just strive to make the best decision with what you have available. (Read More: The In-House Recruiters Guide to Virtual Interviewing)


Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

We are all going through this pandemic together. Because we work in the healthcare industry, it is up to all of us to be there and find a way to help each other. For many healthcare facilities, partnering with The Inline Group and building a pipeline of candidates has been that helping hand. With subscription options for any facility size and budget, our team is equipped to help you both with pandemic-focused and traditional primary care provider needs.


“The Inline Group has been a great partner for me, my team, and for AltaMed...for the last 9 years. Having the right resource to be able to execute your plan is very important. We can’t do this all on our own.”

If you’d like to watch the full webinar with David Lin and learn more about operating and recruiting during the pandemic, click below to gain full access.

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