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Celebrate Health Care Recruiter Recognition Day with VA

Our recruiters are a wealth of information about VA and the federal hiring process. Without their expertise, we wouldn’t be able to bring the best, most qualified candidates into our facilities to care for our Veterans.

As we give them their due on National Health Care Recruiter Recognition Day, it’s important to note how the work our physician provider recruiter (PPR) team and National Recruitment Service (NRS) do informs and impacts every facet of VA’s mission.

To help us recognize our health care recruiters, we asked James Marfield and Larry Elliott, associate directors of NRS, to share their thoughts on this engaged and essential VA community.

The work of health care recruiters

Marfield explained that the role of a recruiter is to leverage industry-best candidate-sourcing platforms and their knowledge of labor markets to create diverse and high-quality talent pipelines that help fuel expedited hiring to fill critical vacancies.

“Simply put, recruiters and PPRs aggressively recruit and source highly qualified candidates in a highly competitive market to provide the best care possible for our Veterans,” said Elliott.

Marfield added that consulting also plays a vital role for a recruiter.

“Meeting regularly with clinical service lines to understand current and future staffing needs allows recruiters to develop short- and long-term recruitment and retention strategies that help VA facilities achieve workforce goals while reducing community care costs,” he said.

“It’s not uncommon for a highly talented recruiter to move a service line from facing a critical staffing shortage to having a bench of talent eager to work for the VA in that location,” Elliott said.

VA’s recruiters also take personal accountability for provider recruitment, onboarding, and retention outcomes. Marfield noted that this ownership is paramount, as it ensures more streamlined processes, better experiences for applicants and hiring managers, and ultimately, better care for Veterans.

“Having a great working relationship with human resources (HR) colleagues is vital,” Elliott said, “and the work provided by the recruiter and PPR can significantly reduce HR workload.”  

The health care recruiter community at VA

Health care recruiting is a challenging field, and our leaders know that the work is not easy. As Marfield described it, VA recruiters face a “competitive recruitment landscape where demand is high for scarce talent.”

However, working with colleagues nationwide makes it easier to see which hiring challenges are systemic, requiring broader education in the field, and which are unique to a specific location or leadership team.

“The quality of the PPRs coming to work for VA is off the charts!” said Elliott. “With a networked community of recruiters, sharing solutions and processes that fixed bottlenecks at another location, you can see the value of communication across local silos.”

He noted that, when working together, talented recruiters are not only creating solutions for their own site but leveraging that collective experience to solve problems VA-wide.

“Our recruiters actively help each other with lead referrals, helpful tips, and even peer-to-peer support to support our unifying mission,” Marfield said. “Caring for America’s heroes is our country’s most important mission, and it is what drives our national health care recruitment consultants and PPRs in the field.”

He added that it’s been striking to watch the growing recruiter community at VA embrace that mission.

“It’s been impressive seeing people from all over the country and from varied backgrounds come together so quickly and enthusiastically to support Veteran care,” he said. 

Work at VA

“Recruiting is a unique skillset and differs dramatically from typical human resources (HR) work,” Elliott said, noting that building relationships and collaborating with key stakeholders are crucial to recruitment and, “This is where VA’s recruiters and PPRs excel.”

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