Is Nurse Recruitment and HR contributing to the Nursing shortage as well as destroying careers?
I've been hearing a lot of rumbling in the past few years, regarding the practices of HR/Recruitment and VMS using some pretty inventive, and quite frankly, disturbing tactics to "hire only the best"...while paying the least, and expecting the most and more.
First off, this question is directed at Nurse Managers. It's you who has relinquished control of hiring the best or brightest or hardest working (whatever it is you are seeking) to some faceless algo or non-nurse and expect to get great resumes on your desk for interviews. Why would you expect that the outcome would not be "someone who looked great on paper" but can't actually do the job or is a horrible fit personality wise?
I've been hearing about black listing RNs because a recruiter "just didn't like" the nurse. This can effect that nurse's ability to get a job in an entire market.
Blackballing is illegal, yet it happens. Every.Single.Day. Recruiters all go to , "workshops" and "conferences" and network around their areas. They exchange information and gossip.
"Hey, Joe from Hospital Across Town...did you see this RN's resume come across your desk? She was just nasty to me on the phone when I called her for an interview. I think she has an attitude problem. Might want to keep an eye out for that one."
And that's innocuous. The smart HR recruiter will say...I'll be the judge of that. I have critical thinking skills and can figure that maybe...just maybe...RN was having a bad day. Or recruiter A called RN at 0800 when RN just got to sleep after her night shift, maybe she was groggy, not nasty.
But there are recruiters and HR Managers, just like in any other profession, who shouldn't be in their position. They're qualified on paper, but in practice...look out. Gossipy, hateful, spiteful and maybe sometimes, not very good at the job they are doing. They are human, after all. Flawlessness isn't reserved for just us "worthy candidates".
That's when the blackballing is just under the radar and might be combated by a persistent and qualified RN.
In comes VMS. Vendor Management Systems. One red (or black? which is it, recruiters? do tell!) flag, because some recruiter somewhere in that system just didn't like this guy or maybe heard something once or called a problem manager without permission or did a Google search...seeing someone with the same name and RN after their name--but got the wrong person...and there goes the RN's chances at employment within that VMS's reach.
There's just a tad bit too much reliance on the internet and electronic correspondence. The internet is the biggest and most comprehensive repository of information....accurate and inaccurate.
It takes critical thinking skills to sift through the detritus to the truth, even when you have a face to face interview. I understand that. It's when VMSs flag a nurse without proof and valid, solid evidence as to why this RN is being flagged.
Yet, these same facilities who use VMS or recruiters that have no workable knowledge of the units/nursing in general are on facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter..begging for RNs. Career Fairs and Open Houses...begging for RNs. Using travelers. Using PRNs. Multiple listings for multiple openings in all units.
But they only want the best! Read: Someone who has never left a job unexpectedly for any reason. Someone who has never made a mistake, ever. Someone who has all RN Managers as references and is adored and loved and supremely cherished by everyone at their former facility. Someone with credentials that would make a CNO blush. Someone who will work garbage shifts, for little compensation...and not give a whiff of an expectation or an attitude.
Let me be the first to say...if I worked at a facility where all of this was true about them an about me...I wouldn't be seeking employment elsewhere.
On to the deceptive job board strategy.
I am referring to Posting a Job that Doesn't Exist or leaving a job on the board that had been filled years ago. The elusive high paying PRN position that "just got filled"...but we have this nights and all weekends position in a unit you'd never work for in a million years available! Yes, it's 40% less than you are making now and half of what was advertised in the job posting, but there is potential here to transfer into something you want later!
Transfer? Transfer? Do HR people actually understand how units work or do they honestly believe that RNs don't? Transferring between units takes an Act of God at times. Needs of the department, and all that.
I've personally had a Recruiter from a well known hospital system call me, I interview well, we agree on a pay package...only to receive the offer letter....and it's wrong.The pay is $12 less than what we agreed!! I call. I now get the voicemail treatment, but I keep getting "reminder" emails to sign the contract!
I finally get frustrated enough to leave a very direct message for HR person to call me, or I won't show at orientation. I get a call saying she "made a mistake" on the payrate....oh!!!....and the shift as well. Turns out, it's not a dayshift position after all. The Nurse Manager's fault, you understand. They changed things last minute.
I declined the offer. Now, even if I wanted to go to that facility as a traveler, I cannot. Because I dared turn down the offer, and that RN had an attitude.
My questions are simple. What is it that recruiters hope to gain by this behavior? The Nurses are suffering with understaffing and burnout. Hospital systems are being avoided because of horrible recruitment practices like these openly deceptive or overbearing recruiters.
There was an article recently about the "10 reasons why you didn't get the job", which stated, as one of the 10 reasons..."Well, the recruiter just didn't ...um...like you" for some reason. Nothing concrete. Maybe it was your hair. Perhaps you had a jacket on with those 80's shoulder pads. Perhaps she didn't have her latte this morning and your appointment was preventing her morning Starbuck's run.
Now you get to suffer the consequences of some recruiter who may and may not even be a Nurse, who probably doesn't have a clue as to what the unit/team actually needs, deciding whether your resume gets to a hiring manager.
You can have stellar references, Level 1 experience and credentials, and the completely-pointless-in-a-code BSN degree---but your hair! And those shoulder pads! How dare you.
Then there is the Calling Former Nurse Managers Without Permission. Another tactic that I personally detest. It's underhanded and is representative of the facility that allows their recruiters to practice this particularly distasteful thing.
Who here hasn't had the Nurse Manager from Hell? Anyone who says otherwise, I call liar liar pants on fire! You didn't ask that manager for a reference for a reason. Yes, maybe you're hiding something. Ok. I get it. But the remainder of your resume would suss the problem being you.
What about the RN Manager being the problem? The malcontent who just clings to the job despite write ups and complaints and having a grudge against anyone younger/smarter/prettier/more handsome/slimmer/fatter/wealthier....and they exist. All over the place. Union protected or seniority or longtime pals with the director. I've seen them, and so have many of us.
What about the RN Manager who is just so darned busy in a huge teaching hospital and can't call back? Or is perturbed because RN didn't tell RN Mgr they were a reference...because they're not.
That recruiter who picks up the phone and calls anyone not on the list of permissible references is one that is contributing to the problems of the facility.
Many of my colleagues are leaving Nursing for just this nonsense. One mistake, whether real or perceived, gets you kicked to the curb. The RN Managers ask...WHY??? Why can't we attract good people?
Have any of you RN Mangers actually looked at the resumes coming in, instead of only the ones deemed "worthy" by a faceless, sometimes clueless recruiter? Unless a facility has a recruiter for each and every unit, there is absolutely no possible way that they could evaluate the "worthiness" of a resume with the exception of hard licensing credentials.
Candidates have ridiculous standards to meet just to be eligible to apply for a nursing job.
They've passed the NCLEX. Some states require such egregious background checks that it takes months to get licensed. I've had to show proof of a birth certificate, passport, driver's license, social security card, fingerprint card, DOJ and FBI search, state criminal search, all past employers, gaps of more than 30 days in employment, expired licenses (some which take months to verify)....pay $$$ to the state, NURSYS, and employers for verification, and on top of all of that..paid extortion amounts for a state license that has to be renewed every year..... all for one, single, non-compact state license and the honor of working for less than the median national average pay as a Nurse at a facility in said state.
Then I have to deal with deceptive or issue-laden recruiters? I don't even get to speak to the Nurse Manager? Because I've been told...don't circumvent HR. Don't do it. If you do...they will flag you and you won't get hired at that facility....ever.
Want to know why I'm a traveler and would never, ever return to staff nursing? Want to know why great nurses are leaving the profession in droves? Burnout and understaffing is huge, yes...but this issue is on the front end, not the back end. This issue is preventing good nurses from working.
Yes. There are problem nurses. The states and the licensing boards filter many of those out. Then background checks do a great deal. Employment references take care of the rest. What is it that recruiters think they are accomplishing?
Burnout is real. Understaffing is real. The nursing shortage is real and it's only getting worse. Patient care is suffering. Communities are suffering.
The deceptive and damaging practices of HR and Recruitment is a large part of the nursing shortage. Collecting resumes on fictitious jobs, creating resentment and alienating good candidates. Blackballing without doing a microsecond of research as to what might have happened with a nurse who is qualified. Not leaving their biases and personal issues at the door when they look through candidate files.
I appreciate the work and effort that goes into credentialing a Nurse. I really do. It's tedious and there are risks that just one that a recruiter lets through might be The Diverter or the Unsafe.
In reality, those RNs are shaken out fairly quickly, either by credentialing bodies, background checks or simple job references. An RN that has a bad experience in a unit with the RN manager is normal, it doesn't make that RN a hiring risk. An RN that has made a med error once in a 15 year career, is not a hiring risk. An RN that followed their husband/wife/SO all over the country for their career, ergo five RN jobs in three years, is not a hiring risk.
I encourage any HR/Nurse Recruiter to respond and give some insight regarding these practices, and how we might start to work together to stem this shortage, instead of throwing more fuel on the fire.