Let’s face it, healthcare recruitment is tough. Really tough. It’ll be no surprise to anyone that vacancy rates among nurses, doctors and other sector professionals are high.

UK think tank, the Kings Fund, says the NHS workforce in England is short of an eye-watering 94,000 people. About 39,000 are in nursing. That’s one in 10 roles unfilled. It’s a similar story in the US.

Globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts a worldwide shortage of 18 million healthcare workers by 2030. But it’s not just recruitment that’s the problem. Retaining people is difficult too. In fact, since 2015, the average US hospital has lost 89 per cent of its workforce. Nursing is a particular issue with turnover as high as 37 per cent.

This costs the sector dearly. Both in terms of missed targets and waiting lists, but also financially. Locums and agency staff don’t come cheap.

Looking for technology solutions in talent acquisition

There’s no silver bullet. And it takes time to train and boost the overall supply of healthcare professionals. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for short-term improvements to make recruitment a bit easier.

For example, using automated conversational messaging between a recruiter and a candidate. This enables teams to take advantage of chatbots operating through SMS and messaging platforms. It means candidates can be dealt with quickly and efficiently at scale, shortening the time to hire.

Historically, recruiters might not have considered informal messaging as the route to better outcomes, but there has never been a better time to implement a solution such as RoboRecruiter. Here’s why.

  1. It’s what candidates prefer: when it comes to one-to-one, private conversations, people use messaging – especially younger generations. Most under the age of 39 (72 per cent) say they prefer texts over phone calls. There are also about two billion active WhatsApp users. That’s a quarter of the world’s population sending 100 billion messages a day. As a business, you’d be crazy not to use it, not to mention all the other messaging apps out there
  2. Healthcare demographics are changing: health and social care workers are getting younger. In 2018, 38 per cent of UK nurses were under 40 – a figure that’s growing . As mentioned above, they’re the ones who prefer to message.
  3. Healthcare has shifted to virtual appointments: before the pandemic, few medical appointments were dealt with over the phone or via a telehealth system. In 2021 that stabilized to about 13 to 17 per cent – an increase of 38 times according to McKinsey. This trend continues and opens a far wider talent pool for recruiters, because healthcare professionals can live and work in different locations. Automated messaging helps to deal with this influx of candidates.
  4. High engagement: engagement rates for messaging are high. Our data shows that 40 per cent of RoboRecruiter users typically receive a candidate response in the first ten minutes of sending a message – and 60 per cent in the first hour.
  5. Immediate connection: maintaining speed of interaction is vital because candidates are more likely to take a role with the most responsive employer. Automated messaging allows this. In fact, when two similar jobs are on the table, a candidate is more likely to take the first. More generally, it’s been shown that 82 per cent of candidates want faster responses.
  6. Allows consistent tone in communications: with RoboRecruiter, brands can appeal to candidates and build trust by having in the right tone and language when messaging. Acacium Group, the healthcare solutions firm, discovered this when using the technology to recruit vaccinators in the COVID-19 pandemic in London. It created personas, with one robot called Robyn, which had the language, approach and warmth to make her recognizable and candidates responded well.

Where’s the evidence?

Good question. Looking at Acacium Group’s experience in a little more detail will answer it. Using RoboRecruiter’s candidate engagement tool to screen applicants, the team was able to process 5,000 people in 24 hours. Within five weeks, it had managed 16,000, and the engagement rate was 87 per cent. Without the solution, it would have taken 40 people three months to do the same work.

But don’t just take our word for it. Listen to Acacium’s head of automation, Dan Lynch, talking about it on this recent webinar. If you’re in any doubt that conversational messaging can make healthcare recruitment simpler, reducing staff shortages, he can explain.

How can we help?

If you’d like to know more about Acacium’s experience and how you can make the most of conversational messaging, let us know. RoboRecruiter can be used for activation, jobs, scheduling, talent, and compliance. Importantly, it works across 30 messaging channels and has helped customers deliver six billion messages per month.

Get in touch today to get a competitive edge in healthcare recruitment. Because we know how tough it can be.