Healthcare is a vast field, where the recruitment and talent acquisition challenges are as plentiful as the areas of discipline. But one aspect is common across the whole spectrum: EVERYONE is struggling to hire nurses.

News story after news story (after news story) tells us how dire the situation is, that the number of new nurses entering the workforce isn’t enough to keep up with turnover, and that organizations are going to have to spend more and more to recruit qualified employees. It can all seem very daunting and hopeless, but the good news is that there are many tactics you can use to improve your organization’s healthcare talent acquisition vital signs, especially when it comes to Facebook. The social media platform has taken its lumps lately for playing fast and loose with users’ privacy, and while some of the techniques I’m going to describe might sound questionable at first, rest assured that they use only information that is made publicly available by the user.

Here are some of the best:

Stepping out of your recruiting shoes

At a recent sourcing event, I co-hosted two roundtable sessions that were packed with recruiters, sourcers and talent acquisition leaders. When we asked who needs to proactively source nurses today, everyone raised their hand. When we asked why the need is out there, everyone agreed that it was the skills shortage combined with competition for talent (remember, every single one of them raised their hands). When we asked how they are finding new candidates, the responses were job board databases and LinkedIn. Yet, when we asked who is happy with the results, no one said a word.

This is typical when an industry is new to the direct sourcing sphere. The first step is always realizing the need, and the second is leveraging the “traditional” recruiting and sourcing channels. (And yes, LinkedIn is just a traditional channel in my eyes.)

The difficulty with healthcare is that the seasoned professionals within the industry – nurses, physiotherapists, physician assistants, etc. – often don’t have a presence on these traditional channels. That’s why I believe, as strange as it may sound, that Facebook is a better choice than LinkedIn for sourcing nurses.

No, they are not on Facebook as job candidates, but that’s the beauty of sourcing in 2018: We can find new, creative ways of finding the right people. Think about it, if we all search on the same channels, using the same search queries, then we are all fishing the same spot in the same pond. That is not going to help us gain a competitive advantage.

Searching for candidates on Facebook

The easy part of nurse sourcing is that the job titles tend not to vary much. So if we search the keywords “nurse” or “nursing” or “RN,” we will get a pretty high-quality pool of candidates.

If we use a good Facebook search tool, like this one, we can easily build a query for these keywords by using the OR command.

Facebook Search

After you’re through all the “OR” fields, it makes sense to narrow the results with our in-scope location and – voila! – we can start reviewing the profiles. You can do a search, for instance, that will show you hundreds of nurse profiles around Chicago.

Beyond a job title, here are a few more ways to refine your search:

  • Nurses who work at hospitals: Add the company name in the “JOB” field and set the location (“LIVES”) to a specific area.
  • Nurses who belong to nursing groups: Set the location (“LIVES”) and add the keyword “nurse” to the field “GROUP MEMBER.”
  • Nurses who “like” anything that is called “nurse”: Specify location (“LIVES”), and add the keyword “nurse” to the “LIKE” field.

It is also a smart move to identify relevant nursing groups and join them – just check which groups the nurses you’ve identified as good candidates belong to. We will only see public or closed group membership, just as we will never see more data from someone’s Facebook profile than what was publicly shared.

To run a search like this:

  1. Pick a nurse profile.
  2. Go to (yes, yes, I know, they could have picked a better name), enter the Facebook link to the search box and hit “Stalk.” It’s important to note that it will NOT stalk but only bring together the publicly available data. 

Go down to "Profile" and click on "Groups." This will navigate you back to Facebook and list your candidate’s open and closed group membership.


These groups then can be leveraged for posting and direct searching purposes.

Approaching candidates on Facebook

It’s hard to find agreement when it comes to rules of engagement. Some recruiters believe that while Facebook is a hidden gold mine for searching, people should never be contacted there. Instead, they feel that they need to try to cross-reference them on other channels (LinkedIn, job boards, ATS, etc.) and connect with them in a more professional way.

The general public may be anticipating this a bit as a trend has arisen where people are building two Facebook profiles – one for their personal lives and one for work (recruiting) purposes. This sounds like a bit of an overprotection to me since contacting a non-friend via Messenger will not result in anything suddenly becoming public that had been private), but I can understand people’s feelings on the matter either way.

My 2 cents is to use just one Facebook profile and simply be yourself. I believe candidates appreciate it if we play the same game as they do: we approach their “personal” account with our “personal” account. Of course, when using Messenger, we need to adapt to the common messaging protocol – do not attach a Job Spec right away, do not send novel-length messages to candidates, do not spam, etc. Always think about how you would like the message to look, and what would get you to reply. In other words, be brief, nice, and honest.

Happy sourcing, my friend!

Balazs Paroczay


Post contributed by Balazs Paroczay, Vice President of Global Sourcing. Follow him on Twitter @TheBalazs and connect with him on LinkedIn.