CEO SUMMARY: On the Web, clinical laboratories have a chance to identify potential new hires weeks or months in advance and to interact with potential job candidates in ways that were not possible in the past. An experienced lab recruiter explains how labs can benefit from these new methods of reaching potential staff. In Salt Lake City, ARUP Laboratories has already taken the opportunity to use the Web and social media to create conversations with medical technologists and other potential employees.
ACROSS THE NATION, large numbers of clinical laboratories struggle to recruit and retain enough medical technologists (MTs) and clinical laboratory scientists (CLSs). Now comes news of a more effective way to find and attract top MT and CLS talent.
“Many laboratories fail to meet their staff recruiting goals for a simple reason,” stated Peggy McKee, the CEO for PHC Consulting, a recruiting firm in Celina, Texas, that specializes in finding staff for labs. “Their staff recruiting program relies almost exclusively on placing help wanted ads in newspapers and trade publications.
“This type of MT recruiting campaign overlooks the power of the Web and social media sites to attract qualified candidates for the entire range of positions in a clinical laboratory,” emphasized McKee. “Simply said, clinical labs in a hiring mode should do a better job of using the Internet to put the word out about their job openings and career opportunities.
“Many lab managers still do not recognize how powerful trends have dramatically reshaped staff recruiting,” she continued. “Today there are more niche job boards, more on-line aggregators, and growing use of social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
“Laboratories now have new options for communicating their job openings and career opportunities via the Web,” said McKee. “Labs can use blogs and electronic newsletters to get the word out.
“Both blogs and e-newsletters are ways that laboratories can maintain conversations with the target candidate pool,” she noted. “Then, when there is a job opening, your lab is already a known quantity.”
Internet Changes Everything
McKee’s insights illustrate one important way that the Internet is changing staff recruitment. She recommends that a clinical lab develop a presence on the Web and use that presence to engage ongoing conversations with laboratory professionals. This creates a ready pool of qualified candidates for recruitment efforts.
“This is a new recruiting strategy,” said McKee. “It’s not the cold start of earlier days, when placing a newspaper help-wanted ad would start the process. It’s just the opposite—a warm start, because your lab has kept a conversation going for months and years with lab professionals who represent the wider recruiting pool.
Reading your Lab’s Blogs
“What makes this a doubly-effective recruiting and retention strategy is that you always have a surprisingly large number of people reading your blogs, postings, and e-letters who know your laboratory organization,” added McKee. “They already know lots about your culture, your lab’s goals, and what makes it a good place to work.”
ARUP Laboratories of Salt Lake City, Utah, is one of the first laboratories to develop an ongoing social media program. In recent years, it created one of the lab industry’s first full time positions to manage its social media program.
“ARUP’s Web presence is designed to reach a variety of audiences,” stated Kristen Deem, who holds the unique position of Web Editor and Social Media Specialist at ARUP Laboratories. “We recognize that, just as the lab itself needs to reach a variety of audiences, so too do the lab’s websites. “We serve many different audiences,” continued Deem. “For example, we have a blood bank that provides blood for local hospitals. This activity is supported by our blood services website.
ARUP’s Multiple Websites
“Of course, we have our main corporate website,” she noted. “Another website is called ARUP Consult. It provides information on test selection and interpretation. ARUP Consult is designed to assist doctors as they order tests.
“In addition, we have the child diagnostic site, www.childx.org, which is a non-profit group that’s committed to research and development for pediatric laboratory medicine,” Deem added. “We also have a scientific resource site that’s affiliated with the University of Utah’s academic research.
“Another important way we reach our audiences for recruitment is through an electronic newsletter that we started about 18 months ago,” she said. “The electronic newsletter includes information about what’s happening in the company, awards that ARUP has won, new lab testing departments that have been added, and information on scientific developments and new lab test technologies.
“One goal of this newsletter is to reach former employees who have left ARUP, but who may be eligible to return to jobs we have open,” she said. “As we all know, it takes a lot less to retrain somebody who’s already worked in your laboratory, versus someone who’s brand new to your laboratory organization. We find that our electronic newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with these people.
Recruiting Former Employees
“One way we built the subscriber list is by having our recruiters contact a number of former employees,” stated Deem. “We started with 54 former employees and through the sign-up box on our Careers page, this list has now grown to over 1,000 subscribers who have opted-in to receive our newsletter. From that, we’ve had four recruits who are former employees who wanted to come back to new positions.
“Our Careers page is designed to help anyone interested in working at ARUP Laboratories to find out more about our company,” noted Deem. “For instance, we explain how to get hired here, our dress code, what life in Utah is like, and information on internships. We try to give them as much information as possible. We link to this Career page from our other websites and from other sources on the Internet.”
THE DARK REPORT would like to hear from any clinical lab pathology group currently using social media and engaging the med tech community via its website.