Challenges and opportunities in hiring executive healthcare staff

Beau Peters · December 27, 2021 · Short URL:

The need for healthcare staff in executive positions is continuing to rise

The need for healthcare staff in executive positions is continuing to rise. Indeed, many executive and administrative roles, like health service management, are seeing growth rates much higher than would usually be expected. However, we can’t just see this as a good sign of potential new jobs on the horizon. It is also indicative of the difficulties ahead in meeting the demand for leadership across the industry.

As such, it’s important to start putting a concerted effort into finding the right executives; not just the act of hiring, but also identifying where the difficulties can lie so you can address them accordingly. We’re going to review how these opportunities and challenges are present for both employers and candidates.

The challenges

The challenges from an industry perspective revolve around the lack of appropriate candidates. This isn’t to say there aren’t a lot of talented healthcare leaders out there; there just isn’t enough talent to meet the needs, and identifying and attracting candidates is getting more difficult. Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) recruitment software can help pinpoint candidates within the organization with the right technical skills. But it often falls short on soft skills. As such, you may have to place effort and investment in performing outreach. It's also vital to create development programs to give current staff the skills to progress toward the executive level.     

For individuals pursuing executive healthcare positions, one of the hurdles is gaining attention. Just because there’s a shortage of qualified candidates, this doesn’t mean each position doesn’t get a flood of applications. It means you need to take a skills-centered approach to tailor your resume so you can be seen above the crowd. Make sure your resume has a balance of hard technical skills and soft skills to demonstrate not just that you can function at an executive level but also the abilities making you a great leader. Lean into how your medical, administrative, or managerial prowess can transfer relevantly to a role in the c-suite.

Executive-level hiring challenges are impacting both recruiters and candidates. Perhaps the most prevalent of these is the stress present on a cultural level in healthcare. Particularly in the current pandemic, politically motivated abuse is leveled at medical employees. Executives are not only recipients of this but also have a responsibility to manage the care of their abused employees. Recruiters need to make it clear there are support structures in place to address this. For candidates, it’s a case of understanding what level of support you need to be impactful in the role.     

The opportunities 

Seeking candidates for executive positions in healthcare is an opportunity to make changes in the industry. Perhaps most important of all is the chance to bring greater diversity into the space. There is still significant gender and racial imbalance when it comes to leadership roles in healthcare. Executive roles have particularly low numbers of minority representation. As such, you can be instrumental in identifying, encouraging, and supporting more executives from these traditionally marginalized groups. 

Individuals considering executive positions have opportunities, too. This isn’t just a case of pulling in an executive-level salary. You have the chance to make a difference in how departments and facilities operate and even influence the direction of the industry. These health leadership roles see you utilizing medical knowledge, industry trends, and an understanding of the patient experience to make significant improvements to care. They also allow you to exercise your entrepreneurial skills to keep facilities not just functional but thriving. There are various areas to specialize in as an executive — from billing and coding to hospital administration. But there is always a chance to make a positive impact. 

For both individuals and recruiters, there are distinct opportunities to embrace the changes to the healthcare digital landscape. Advanced technology is integral to how healthcare can function more efficiently and effectively. Executive candidates can influence how to successfully implement these new tools and processes for patients’ benefit. Recruiters can pinpoint executive candidates with a background, interest, or expertise in digital systems management.  

The focus on attraction

It’s important to understand how each party in this equation has something the other needs. There is clearly a distinct requirement for talented executive-level healthcare staff in an industry likely to struggle in the future. On the other hand, those who want executive roles can’t expect them to simply fall into their laps. As such, there’s an imperative for each party to express their value to the other.    

For recruiters, there is a generally accepted principle that talent attracts talent in the c-suite. As such, you need to be able to demonstrate to executive candidates your healthcare facility or business is reflective of the qualities you’re looking for in them. If you’re seeking a leader with intelligence, you need to show openness to making changes based on their outside-of-the-box thinking. Where you want executives with high values, you have to demonstrate your hospital commits to ethical practices at all times. 

If you’re targeting an executive position, you need to show you are a leader worth investing in. Most businesses — especially those within healthcare — are wary of risk. You need to show you can be trusted to lead the business in positive directions. Making an excellent first impression is integral to your approach as recruiters will often make snap judgments based on their initial meeting with you. When you’re invited to an interview, simple elements like smiling and dressing professionally communicate your positivity as a candidate. The level of confidence you have in your expertise can be vital. too. Above all else, be authentic. Your honesty and integrity set the stage for your relationship moving forward.


Executive hiring in healthcare presents as many challenges as opportunities. Whether you’re a candidate or a recruiter, it’s important to gain an understanding of what each of these is and how you can effectively approach them. Remember, each party in the scenario has a lot to offer the other.  You need to communicate what makes you attractive as an employer or candidate to make sure everyone achieves the most positive outcome.  

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Beau Peters

Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication.

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