Using Facebook to Effectively Recruit Medical Professionals

In an earlier post, I discussed using digital mediums as a viable platform to recruit healthcare professionals. As the basis for my argument, I pointed to a report which found that Facebook was chosen by three out of four healthcare professionals surveyed as the preferred site for career-seeking opportunities.  While these statistics are telling and serve as the impetus to quickly build a Facebook recruiting presence, it should not be built in a vacuum. Any Facebook recruiting program should build off an already established overall recruitment strategy and use the social network to effectively share information and improve interest in available medical jobs. Without strategic planning and coordination, a stand-alone Facebook program can result in brand fragmentation, confusion over where to go for what services, duplications of effort and gaps among resources.

Using an already established recruitment strategy, develop a focused, holistic Facebook strategy that defines top priorities and builds the means for recruiting achievement. A strategic implementation plan will provide a comprehensive, goal-driven roadmap for how to efficiently achieve sustainable, impactful recruiting results that all align with non-digital recruitment activities.

Keep in mind that, by itself, setting up a Facebook profile and merely posting messages is not enough to maintain user engagement and interest or to build a viable potential recruit base. Creating and sharing content via Facebook, or most other social media, is fundamentally different than in traditional media like press releases, speeches, or articles. Traditional media is based on setting the agenda and controlling the message via organized channels – content is posted, viewer reads it, and sends feedback via email – but social media is based on the idea that everyone is a member of a community and has a voice. The traditional sender-receiver model has given way to a participant-to-participant model where a free flowing exchange of content has become the norm, particularly on Facebook.

Through Facebook, organizations have the ability to maintain a prospect-focused approach wherein the organization can communicate directly with an individual who is applying, ask questions to that specific candidate to understand their needs, wants and desires. For example, Facebook’s new Timeline pages allow organizations to direct message anyone who has “liked” the page, providing a one-on-one connection that is not capable through a static website.

Don’t stop there – a solid, successful recruitment campaign goes one step further. An important tenet of recruitment is follow-up. Try to actively and continually engage those who have “liked” your organization’s Facebook by posting to their profiles when appropriate, commenting on their posts, answering their questions and directing them to relevant resources. Additionally, engage professional healthcare associations, university social media outlets and student organizations to build partnerships and expand the reach of the campaign’s messaging.

Finally, while engaging with stakeholders on official Facebook pages sites is necessary, you must also consider what happens when someone poses a question on a third-party blog, someone else’s Facebook Page, or an online forum not maintained through official channels. Take online forums for example – what is being said about your organization in this space? Outside of Facebook, what is the sentiment among your stated target audience? What messages can be disseminated through a site like Facebook to enhance your brand position?

Advances in social media monitoring tools to turn up the proverbial volume and enable you to “listen” to what’s being “said” in the digital space. Monitoring tools produce a baseline analysis that captures existing online coverage, providing metrics to assess the impact of social media use, helping develop an understanding of the Return on Investment (ROI) of the resources used.

The ability to track trends and online sentiment, beyond Facebook Insights, provides intelligence into what’s being said by loyal followers as well as fervent detractors, allowing you to act proactively to ensure proper messaging is being disseminated. Be sure to identify opportunities where you can better target Facebook activities and expand upon innovative ideas to increase engagement with key stakeholders. Once established, ensure proper protocols are followed to effectively track trends and enable consistent, timely responses to specific inquiries that contain accurate and worthwhile information. Responding to an individual question, particularly as it relates to a recruit’s specific situation, builds loyalty and belief that opportunities within your organization are worth pursuing.