9 Tips for Recruiting Nurses Through Cold Calls

Calling a nurse can be intimidating — especially if they haven’t applied for a job. But whether they’ve submitted applications or not, more nurses are on the job hunt now than ever. Nationwide surveys have found that at least a third of nurses plan to leave their jobs in the next year.

Nurses are currently experiencing incredible stress levels. In a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, almost half of healthcare workers reported burnout, and 44% want to leave the healthcare profession entirely.

As a recruiter, you can make a difference. For some nurses, a position change could bring job satisfaction and keep them in the profession.

Tips for cold calling nurses

Cold calls are a numbers game. Inevitably, you’ll reach out to nurses who are not interested and even hang up on you. Recognize that it is not personal.

Some nurses will be open to talking. Try the following strategies to maximize your success with your conversations.

1.   Have a clear goal

Before calling, identify a single goal for your conversation. You may not always be able to move from a cold call to an interview, but you can ask if the nurse has considered a job change and schedule a follow-up to keep the conversation going. A clear goal will help you target your discussion and make you more likely to accomplish it.

2.   Engaging call opening

When a nurse answers a call from an unknown number, you only have a few seconds to communicate that you are someone they may want to talk to. One of the best ways is to make an honest, personal connection.

Try this script:

Hi, _____, my name is ______.

I work for __________. I’m checking to see if you have thought about a new position. I saw you have (skills)_______, and you have a lot to offer. I would love to hear more about you if you have a minute to talk.

Generally, people love to talk about themselves, and nurses are no exception. The best way to win enough trust to encourage them to speak to you is to keep your requests simple and honest.

If you reach a voicemail, follow the same strategy. State your name and the best number to contact you. Let them know that you will check back. A nurse may forget to call you back, even if they’re interested but will answer the phone the second time when they recognize your phone number.

3.   Choose the time of day carefully

Unless you have a clear indication that your nurse prospect does not work nights, avoid calling in the morning. Nothing will sour your call faster than waking up a nurse who just worked a 12- to 14-hour shift and fell asleep an hour ago.

A typical schedule for a nurse working 12-hour night shifts is to sleep between 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. This schedule can vary greatly depending on where they are in their shift rotation and their at-home responsibilities, but 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. is usually a good time to call. Pay attention to their location and any time zone differences, too.

4.   Research

Research extensively and find out all you can before dialing. Check out your prospect’s social media. If a nurse has an active profile, they are likely open to a career change whether you see signs of it on the profile. A nurse may refrain from posting that they’re seeking work to avoid alerting managers.

5.   Know what nurses want

Understanding what motivates nurses in a job search can help you highlight features of your position they care about. Pay and benefits are essential, but for most nurses, work-life balance is also high on the list. What does work-life balance look like to a nurse? Here are some examples:

  • Schedule flexibility, including the ability to self-schedule
  • Options for part-time or remote work
  • A choice of shifts — for example, experienced nurses may be unwilling to move to night or rotating shifts.
  • Features like on-site childcare
  • Stability, such as not being pulled to float on other units
  • Working for a supportive employer with safe nurse-patient ratios
  • Working in a specialty they love

Not all facilities can offer these benefits, and many positions don’t lend themselves to the flexibility of remote work or a no-float guarantee. Still, you can focus on what is available. Describing a balanced, positive work culture can go a long way.

6.   Listen for passion

As a recruiter, you are looking for qualities that can’t be taught. Excellent customer service instincts and a passion for patient care often matter more than clinical experience. A nurse who cares deeply for patients and loves what they do is the best candidate.

Discussing what a nurse cares about is a powerful way to ignite interest in your position.

Once you start the conversation, listen carefully. Ask open-ended questions to encourage the nurse to share what they care about. Listen carefully to what brings a spark to their voice. Despite high burnout rates, nursing is a purpose-driven profession. Describe why your position aligns with the nurse’s passion for helping others.

7.   Highlight the benefits

Before your call, list company benefits that could interest your candidate. Besides monetary benefits like competitive wages, health insurance, tuition reimbursement, and student loan repayment, nurses are interested in working for employers with good reputations and a positive working culture. The ANCC Nursing Magnet Organization designation is one way to demonstrate this. More benefits to highlight are new graduate residency programs and career advancement support, such as charge nurse training.

Offering in-demand benefits that nurses don’t usually get is another excellent way to stand out in the nurse-hungry job market. According to the Nurse.com 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report: Trends and Insights for Leaders and Recruiters, some often-neglected benefits are:

  • Bonuses
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Profit sharing
  • Continuing education
  • Wellness programs

8.   Share stories

If possible, weave a personal story or testimonial into your conversation. Some experienced nurses, especially those experiencing burnout, don’t trust healthcare leaders. While an organization can say that it listens to nurses, having nurses from that organization share stories about it is much more effective. If you work for the organization you’re recruiting nurses for, you can share your experiences, too.

9.   Follow-up

Before your call ends, determine whether the nurse is open to talking more and schedule a follow-up call. A planned follow-up call communicates that you respect the nurse and their skills and encourages them to think seriously about the position.

For more information on recruiting through our skills-based talent marketplace or to build your custom talent acquisition solution package, contact us today.