According to the industry publication "Hospitals & Health Networks," U.S. health care leaders in 2011 were predicting a shortage of approximately 260,000 registered nurses and 150,000 physicians by 2025, and a shortfall of 38,000 pharmacists by 2030. In the long run, companies' ability to recruit top talent will depend on how well they use media, especially the Web and social venues, and on streamlining their internal processes to efficiently match the best candidates with specific hiring needs.

Posting Online

Execution is crucial on health care websites. The consulting firm Bernard Hodes Group suggests that employers visit their own sites as though they were candidates attempting to apply for positions or engage an outside firm to "mystery shop" the site. Candidates must be able to reach the jobs or careers page with a minimum number of clicks and easily search job listings by variables such as location, department and professional classification. They should also be able to attach a resume or paste elements of their resume into the online application.

Screening Applicants

Employers must be able to efficiently screen information in order to find the right candidates from the piles of resumes submitted. Hodes Group notes that health organizations need good "position control" -- available through software and Web-based programs -- in order to know at all times what jobs or departments need filling. Employers need to "mine" their resume databases to match existing candidates with job openings, before starting redundant new search processes to garner more applications from candidates who have already applied.

Finding Cultural Fit

Some hospitals credit the practice of attitude or behavior-based interviewing for reducing long-term turnover, because it allows the employer to identify candidates who fit the hospital's cultural priorities, including patient advocacy. "Hospitals & Health Networks" reported in 2011 that PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Wash., saw nurse turnover drop from 13 percent to 8 percent five years after adopting a behavior-based interview process. The hospital uses questions from a patient loyalty survey to interview job candidates. Each percentage point drop in turnover represents a savings between $600,000 and $1 million for the hospital.

Offering Benefits

H&HN notes that competitive compensation is a must in health care organizations, as in nearly every kind of company. However, employers also need to show some creativity to lure candidates who might be fielding multiple job offers. Certain perks can cost relatively little for the organization to offer, but could make a big difference in helping job hopefuls decide where to work, especially if they have busy family lives. These benefits can include flexible scheduling, housing allowances, on-site child care and concierge services that help workers save time that might otherwise be spent running errands.