Healthcare organizations should ask five pertinent questions when hiring facilities management (FM) candidates for FM roles in 2022. These questions reflect the employment market as it exists today, with the challenges of retirements, burnouts, and a lack of experienced hospital managers and directors to fill vacated roles.

The employment world has changed. As a result, it may be time to recalibrate organizational expectations for FM candidates. And no, that does not mean settling for less.

Q1: Are we overly dependent on our market salary survey? 

If your market salary survey was conducted before Summer 2021, it is probably not entirely accurate and may be outdated. 

In early 2022, salaries are on the high end of the range. Suppose the role is in an area of the country seeing an inflated housing market. In that case, i.e., prices are high, and starter housing is at the level of finished housing, relocating will likely be difficult for FM candidates. In addition, if you are located in an area with high taxes and restrictive Covid mandates,  it is even more difficult to attract candidates from other country regions. 

Organizations should be considering these factors. Indisputably, candidates do not like to lose money when they take a new job. Even if the salary is higher, they will consider the cost of living, which places an additional strain on a market that sees significant retirements. It is an FM candidate’s market. 

Q2: Are we ruling out candidates because we feel they are over-qualified? 

Increasingly, we hear from candidates who will call and say they have been told that they are over-qualified for roles and are therefore disqualified from consideration. They are frustrated by their disqualification. 

To us, this is outdated thinking on the part of organizations. Increasingly we are seeing candidates who are moving up, moving down, and moving laterally in their career, by their choice. Candidates have personal reasons for making their career decisions, and Covid has further influenced candidate thinking. 

If you think a person is over-qualified, you also believe they are qualified. Ask why and listen to their reasons for their interest in your role. If you can hire an over-qualified person in a depressed employee market, consider it. Don’t dismiss them out of hand without asking why they are interested.

Q3: Are we afraid that the person we hire will leave us shortly after hire?

If you are afraid the person you hire will leave in 3 years or less, we encourage you to move beyond that fear.

Gone are the days of the long-tenured employees. Instead, we live in a mobile society. Christine Pirri, SVP, Chief People & Diversity Officer, Bassett Healthcare Network, Cooperstown, NY, addressed employee tenure in a High Reliability podcast. She said that she tells her hiring managers that if they feel that a prospective employee can provide 3 to 4 years of solid service, then hire them. Then, hopefully, they will stay longer.

If you are hiring in 2022, the 8-10 year employee is likely gone. 

Q4: Are we ruling out qualified people because they lack a degree?

We do not favor a blanket proclamation that a degree is needed in the director role, especially given employee shortages in the industry. 

We are passionate about this issue. We have seen current hospital directors removed from an applicant pool more than once because they do not have a degree, despite having double-digit years of hospital director experience. We’d rather see a non-degreed director with years of expertise hired over a degreed individual who doesn’t know The Joint Commission from CMS. This hiring scenario happens. 

We will continue to bang the drum on the degree question. It is short-sighted, we believe, to rule out directors who have X years of experience, but no degree, given the nature of the market. There are some roles and organizations where a degree is necessary. But blanket degree proclamations should be avoided.

Q5: Do we treat the FM candidates we are interviewing like guests in our home?

The answer should be an easy yes. But based on stories we hear from the market, it is not.

Meet candidates at the time you say you will. Be on time for calls. Feed them, or sit with them, if you are keeping them over lunch. Value their time. Make sure you know the motivations of the people you will have interview candidates; are they properly representing the organization?

These are snapshots of what we hear is ongoing in the market. If it were a full market with plenty of candidates for the next ten years, then perhaps candidates would overlook these things. But it is not a full market, so candidates evaluate how they are treated. 

G/MA Nuggets

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