How to Use a Virtual Open House to Recruit

With 40 years in recruitment, 23 of which are in healthcare, Grace Moffitt’s recruitment experience runs deep.

Her message for other recruitment professionals is innovate, innovate, innovate. That’s a unique mantra for someone who’s spent 40 years in the field, because others like her might emphasize out-of-date methods for healthcare recruiting.

Moffitt directs all non-physician recruitment efforts for Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina as the Executive Director for Talent Management. Her main goal is to “find the best, most qualified, culturally fit people to care for the patients for Cone Health.”

She fulfills this goal in many ways, but what stood out to me most is Cone Health’s virtual open houses for healthcare recruiting.

What is a Virtual Open House?

A virtual open house is the same as an regular, in-person open house, except it’s all done online until the interview stage, which is done in-person. The tour, interactions, and follow up of a virtual open house are all done on the Internet. What’s the benefit of this method? Candidates get the experience of a physical open house without the travel. It’s one less barrier to getting candidates in the pipeline towards making the hire.

The video content is recorded beforehand for an open house like Cone Health. Through this innovative method of open housing, candidates can do all this from their home:

  • Learn about the open house
  • Take a virtual tour of the organization
  • Watch video content on company culture
  • Chat with recruiters through an online platform
  • Upload resumes and apply online

Why Conduct a Virtual Open House?

“We still do traditional open houses, but interestingly enough, we’ve found that using virtual open houses through the web has generated a great deal of interest. With people being able to interact with us virtually and not having to drive to a location, we end up having as many if not more interested candidates that we can hire versus having someone drive to the location and see them face-to-face. I think it’s generational—we have so many younger people," Moffit says. … “Of course we still need to do all the other things in healthcare recruiting, because we’re appealing to people who are 18 years old and people who are in their 50s and 60s. You have to have multiple strategies in order to meet the need of the nurse population or any of our recruitment populations.”

How can Agents Use a Virtual Open House for Healthcare Recruiting?

It starts with tools and finishes with processes. Here are six tools and seven steps to implementing a virtual open house:

Tools

Cone Health uses 6 Connex for the virtual open house. This allows users to:

  • Present the company
  • Interact with candidates
  • Receive resumes 2. Typeform for open house registrations. Typeform allows for easy and free (or low cost) form creation. It’s good-looking too. 3. Periscope for broadcasting live videos. Gaining more and popularity, stream live video from anywhere and let anyone see inside your organization. 4. JotForm for uploading resumes. With over 2 million users and Relode integration, you can seamlessly create forms, receive applications, and manage candidates. 5. Snapchat for social storying. While new to healthcare recruitment, some people are exploring how to leverage social media like Snapchat (in addition to more common medias like Twitter) for narrative-based employer branding. 6. Buffer for marketing the live open house on major social media. It's incredible for any kind of social media campaign, whether for an open house for nurses or general marketing.

Steps

  1. Designate a specific time and date for the open house
  2. Advertise the open house through job boards, social media, online outlets of all types
  3. Accept registrants
  4. Conduct online open house
  5. Recruiter assists attendees with live chat
  6. Candidates apply
  7. Cone Health schedules interviews

R: What’s your top advice for other healthcare recruitment executives?

GM: “Be innovative. We used to have an old post and pray model. You’d advertise out on a board or in a newspaper or on a website or a publication and hoped that people would come to your organization, see that ad, and apply. Now you have to do things in multiple ways to attract the right talent to the organization. That’s social media, doing virtual open houses, using the board of nursing list of people who are licensed to do the work."

That’s all in addition to the other ways that Moffitt’s team recruits (e.g., cold calling, referrals, and college recruitment). With such a shortage in experience nurses, Moffitt told us that sharing the Cone Health story is the best way to recruit top nurses. Whatever means they communicate—whether social media, virtual open houses, or college recruitment fairs—the key in the message is sharing their story.

Regardless of how Cone Health recruits, their story is what attracts top talent. They’ve got a great story to tell, one that continues to unfold, because of the “Great 100” nurses in North Carolina, they employe 34. The ‘Great 100’ “is blinded, so the judges that pick the Great 100 Nurses in North Carolina do not know the name of the nurse nor their system that they work for. We ended up having the greatest portion of the Great 100 in North Carolina this year.”

What Makes Cone Health Special?

GM: “It’s our caring spirit, and that caring spirit—as I mentioned in our values—is caring about one another, putting our patents at the center of everything we do, and caring for our community. We’re a magnet designated facility, we’re on our third cycle of being a magnet organization. Cone Health was one of the few systems to have five hospitals go for and achieve the Magnet designation at one time.”

Cone Health At-A-Glance

  • 11,000 employees,
  • 1,300 physicians and
  • 1,200 volunteers
  • More than 100 locations, including
  • Six hospitals
  • Three ambulatory care centers
  • Three outpatient surgery centers
  • Four urgent care centers
  • More than 100 physician practice sites and multiple centers of excellence.
  • Named top performing in five areas by U.S. News & World Report

Moffitt’s attitude is the key to this entire process, so if you replicate anything from reading this blog, take with you her attitude to innovate.

The virtual open house is an innovative idea, but it’s just one. So try it or try something else. Do something innovate, because it’s working for Cone Health and it may work for you.

The most impressive aspect of this is that data. Moffitt said that they get just as many, if not more, interviews from the virtual open houses as an in-person interview. If you’re looking for a data-driven approach to recruiting nurses, then look no further. Give it a chance and let me know if it works for you. I’m curious to see this applied to other health systems!

Relode Team