Leah Daniels
Leah Daniels, SVP, Strategy

How to find RNs to hire during COVID-19

April 3, 2020 at 02:11 PM — Post

As we barrel into this COVID-19 crisis, the hospitals and other front line medical centers are facing a secondary crisis: people. How do they get people, who were already in short supply, to come strap on a mask and help the potentially hundreds of thousands of imminent patients that are about to overrun our hospitals?

These highly skilled positions can’t be filled by just anyone; candidates require medical licenses. Consequently, the competition for these folks has increased. Here is some data, and apologies for the Econ 101 baked into this explanation.

Nursing jobs (demand) in the US haven’t increased:

But nurses looking for jobs (supply) has decreased in the last three weeks:

The result of the same number of people seeking nurses but fewer nurses seeking employment is that the market has become tighter, and it’s now harder just to get your jobs in front of an interested nurse. In fact, the average CPC for RN positions has gone up 48% last week over February (Source: Appcast Jan-Mar 2020).

But that’s not all that’s happening. Apply rates for RNs are flat from February, but down about 9% from January. What this means is that the people who are looking for jobs are browsing more, and completing fewer applications. Right now, it costs 38.8% more to get 1 RN, than it did in February and 60.7% more than it did in January.

So how does this all play out? The basic math for your costs are:

Let’s say in January you paid $1.00 a click and had a 5% conversion rate.

And for 1 RN application, you need 20 clicks @ $1.00 to get 1 application, so you paid $20.00.  And you need 10 applications to get 1 hire, so you paid $20.00 x 10 = $200.00

Now it’s the end of March.

Your CPC went up by 48%, so you are now paying $1.48 per click. Your conversion rate went down 9%, so its 4.55% now.

And for 1 RN application you now need 22 clicks @$1.48 to get 1 application, so now you are paying $32.56 per application and still need 10, so your budget per job just went up to $325.60, an increase of 62%*.

*The variance is because we used whole numbers for our math rather than imply we can buy partial clicks or get partial applicants.

The punchline is you now need 2 more clicks for each applicant (in this example you need 20 (10 x 2 =20) more clicks to get to your total number of applicants), and every click is 48% more expensive. 

How do you combat this? It takes a four-part approach:

  1. Bid high, and bid early. You should be thinking about bidding in the 75th percentile of bids, and you should seek help in figuring out what that means.
  2. Clean up your titles.  You want to put the position, the department, and maybe the shift. For some, adding “COVID-19” is driving more applications.  
  3. Make it easy for RNs to apply. if you can’t change your ATS application flow, go around it. Now is the time to make sure you know who you can call.
  4. Extend your reach. Don’t compete with everyone in the same places.

We discussed the data and insights behind these points in our recent webinar, The Initial Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Recruiting in the US. You can watch it on-demand here.

Lastly, if you are hiring for RNs, please also consider applying for our COVID-19 Recruitment Grant. We are giving away $368K of recruiting funds to organizations hiring on the front lines.

Good luck and thank you for all you do.