According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment fell by 20.5 million in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%. More than 30 million Americans have filed for first-time unemployment benefits since stay-at-home orders were announced in March and employees found themselves facing extended furloughs or layoffs.
However, there are jobs currently available. LinkedIn, the professional networking site, reports that there is a demand for people to help the country navigate the pandemic, especially in health care and infrastructure. While the job search, interview process, hiring and onboarding may look somewhat different than in pre-pandemic times, finding a position that best suits you and your skill set is possible.
“In Sharp HealthCare’s talent acquisition department, the goal remains the same, and that is to source and hire the best talent,” says Elmerissa Sheets, BSN, director of talent acquisition. “The job search experience for the candidate is the same and interviews are continuing.”
Sheets reports that as a health care system, most roles are essential to the organization, especially during a pandemic, and Sharp is actively hiring new team members. She recently took a few moments to answer questions about searching for and finding a job in health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and provided tips for job seekers in any industry.
What types of health care jobs are available at this time?
The roles that we need immediately are experienced registered nurses for our intensive care units, progressive care units and the emergency departments of our hospitals. Other open clinical roles that we have are in the following departments: respiratory care, laboratory services, behavioral health, radiation therapy, pharmacy and imaging. Each of these roles are crucial for the hospitals’ operations.
We do see that nonclinical roles still need to be filled, as well. This includes positions in supply chain, security and finance. These roles are every bit as valuable as the clinical roles, especially during this time.
What has changed about looking for and finding a job during the pandemic?
We have already been conducting video interviews. However, this technology is being leveraged even more today.
Candidates who would like to meet with the talent acquisition specialists, also known as recruiters, will have to conduct that meeting virtually. Another change is that the large panel interviews that we were used to facilitating have now been replaced with a very small panel done by video.
Our new employee orientation is now done virtually. The orientation offers the same presentations that were previously provided face-to-face — there are still opportunities to ask the presenter questions and the HR facilitator monitors the questions during the sessions. Many new employees have been pleased with the convenience of completing their orientation from home.
Do you have tips for those seeking a new position during the pandemic?
Be patient during this time. For some urgent roles, the process may go quickly from the time your application is received to scheduling an interview. However, because most hiring managers are in the middle of all the changes that this pandemic brings, it may just take a little bit more time to connect.
I also recommend a few additional steps to boost your job search success:
- Educate yourself on how to present yourself via telephone and video. There may not be an opportunity to have a face-to-face interview, so by honing your phone and video interviewing skills, you can feel more secure. There are several online articles on this topic.
- Take this time to do some online certifications or online classes that you have been wanting to do. Look at open positions and research the certifications that are needed.
- There are still entry-level positions at this time, so continue with the basics, such as polishing your resume, researching open positions and the qualifications, and practicing your interview skills.
One of the biggest changes that we have had to adjust to is the inability to attend career fairs, open houses, national conferences and campus recruitment events. These events allow us to engage with potential candidates and share what Sharp HealthCare is all about. It is a very personalized approach. Now, there will likely be more virtual career fairs and virtual campus recruitment.
Additional changes might include the use of video resumes, a trend that has been embraced by non-health care organizations. It has not been something that we have utilized or requested from our candidates. However, I would be curious to see if health care organizations will go toward this trend. And finally, we foresee that candidates in the appropriate roles will ask about the opportunity to telecommute as part of their schedule.
Sheets adds, “What is most important to know is that if you are contemplating being a part of health care, you will be entering into a career that can give you a true purpose. You will be considered an ‘essential worker,’ and when pandemics like this occur, we are needed more than ever. We may not all be at the bedside or in the hospitals, but we are all an integral part of caring for the individuals and the community.”
Learn more about employment opportunities and open positions at Sharp HealthCare and what Sharp is doing in response to COVID-19.