Tips To Target Valuable Passive Nurse Job Seekers

Data from a new salary survey indicates opportunities to attract passive nurse job seekers abound, with 49% of nurses open to changing employers.

Passive nurse job seekers may not be actively looking for a new position, but are open to the right opportunity if it comes along.

The 49% figure is the result of surveying 4,522 RNs in a variety of specialties from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico via email and social media. The survey has a 1.5% margin of error.

The appeal of passive nurse job candidates is easy to see. “Passive job seekers are very attractive,” said Anthony Cipriano, talent acquisition leader and recruitment manager at CentraState Healthcare System in New Jersey. “We are looking to seek those who are satisfied, happy and talented in their current roles and not necessarily going to reach out to other jobs. It’s essential as an organization to bring in talent succeeding elsewhere.”

And the fact that nearly 50% of nurses of all generations are willing to change jobs – including baby boomers, which surprised Cipriano – could well influence how CentraState recruits nurses.

“If data is suggesting there’s these certain trends, you always need to evolve your approach,” he said.

Do you use ‘X-ray sourcing’ to find passive candidates?

That’s not to say Cipriano isn’t already focused on passive candidates. CentraState aggressively seeks these candidates daily, using what Cipriano calls “X-ray sourcing.”

That includes researching the web and public registries to discover degrees, years of experience and other information about nurses. CentraState then uses it to tailor messages to the individual, whether it’s sharing a caregiving article on social media or inviting him or her to attend continuing education activities. Cipriano’s intent is to gradually build a strong relationship with prospective candidates before even mentioning recruitment.

At Penn Medicine, Jeffrey Shapiro, lead recruiter at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, said he wasn’t surprised by the nationwide 49% passive nurse job seeker figure, although his organization has plenty of active candidates for inpatient positions. Yet certain jobs require more effort to find qualified candidates.

“It depends on the position we’re trying to fill. For the majority of inpatient jobs, we have a really active candidate pool, but there are times when we have those hard-to-fill positions such as leadership or genetic counselors that are very difficult to find,” he said.

Jennifer Snow, BSN, RN, nurse recruiter at Penn Medicine, added that home health and hospice care were another two specialties for which it’s difficult to find candidates.

You might need to re-think target markets

According to the survey, with 49% of all nurses open to new opportunities, reaching out to nurses of all ages is a smart bet because there are abundant passive job seekers across all generations. They include a variety of nurses in specialties such as home health, hospice and administration.

Another of the survey’s recommendations for filling jobs is to target markets like Alaska, where 41% of nurses said they would definitely move for a job. In Wyoming, it was 40% and New Mexico 34%. In addition, 53% of nurses nationwide said they would consider moving out of state for a job, the survey says.

While CentraState doesn’t recruit heavily from other states, the moment a nurse relocates to New Jersey, Cipriano says it acts aggressively to attract him or her.

“It’s imperative we win those nurses,” he said. “Relocations to New Jersey are a huge area that we spend a lot of time on, hoping we can differentiate ourselves from the competition.”

 passive nurse job seeker

Commuting length is also a good option

Attracting nurses from surrounding areas is another option. The survey says all age groups commute about 16 miles one way for their jobs, but are willing to commute longer — about 25 miles one way.

Mary Marczyk, MSN, RN, CHCR, nurse recruiter at Jefferson Health, said commuting, rather than moving, was a popular option for nurses working at her Philadelphia-based health system. “We have many nurses who are from New Jersey, Maryland or Delaware and commute,” she said.

“Most people do commute farther than 25 miles — we have many people who are 50 miles away or further, both full-time and part-time,” Marczyk said. “Some have been here a long time and have moved, but haven’t switched jobs, and many nurses do three, 12-hour shifts, so it’s doable three days a week. They like the units they’re working on, they like their coworkers, the flexibility of scheduling.”

Cipriano says CentraState has a mix of commuters and area residents. “As a community hospital, we do have a higher percentage of employees who work in our primary service area, but now we are starting to move the needle a little bit,” he said.

Originally his health system preferred to hire workers from a 10- to 15-mile radius, but that distance has increased to 20 to 25 miles. “We’re willing to cast our net as far as someone is willing to commute,” Cipriano said.

With competition fierce and stakes high, Cipriano says he is looking forward to seeing the full survey. “It definitely would have a significant impact on my strategic approach to attracting nurses,” he said.