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Evaluating EMS Talent Acquisition Systems? Look For These Features

May 20, 2020 | Greg Lawton


Evaluating EMS Talent Acquisition Systems - Look For These Features (1)The COVID-19 crisis seems to have turned our country (and the world) upside down in a matter of months. A rapidly growing number of people have been laid off or furloughed, the majority of people are staying home to stop the spread and our healthcare workers are working hours on end, in dangerous conditions, literally risking their lives for the rest of us each day. You all are incredible, and we cannot thank you enough.

The state of the economy – or rather where it’s headed—reminds me of the 2007-2008 recession. And as the pandemic crisis starts to lift, I think we’ll see the unemployment rate in the United States climb considerably. Experts are already predicting it, in fact. This unemployment rate will all depend on how long the economy is shut down, but I do think it could potentially exceed the rate driven by our last recession. The change could also spark a change in hiring practices for the EMS industry.

During the last recession, displaced workers took notice of the available and meaningful job opportunities in the EMS industry. Thousands of people from various backgrounds completed the certification process to become EMTs and some even advanced to a more stringent Paramedic certification level. By 2009, there was a glut of talent in the EMS industry. An industry that was once operating under a talent shortage now had more applicants than available jobs. This notably changed the hiring strategy and companies had to become more selective.

Some might consider this a luxury, but a lot of work goes into talent selection. That’s where a talent acquisition system (TAS) can help. The top TAS systems on the market take a holistic approach toward EMS recruitment, selection and hiring by customizing key elements to meet your talent acquisition goals, including:

  • Behavioral assessments that predict job fit, validated for key EMS job titles
  • Hiring & selection processes to emulate your preferred workflow
  • Measures of accountability for recruitment staff, measured against the model process

The best systems offer unique multiple-step EMS candidate evaluation tools in a linear fashion. When evaluating a good fit for your organization, make sure your TAS has these features.

  • An Online Qualifications Screen – Prior to a candidate completing an employment application, they receive a set of initial questions. These help to "screen out" candidates who do not meet minimum requirements such as relevant experience, schedule availability, educational degrees or citizenship right off the bat.

  • EMS Behavioral Assessments – These tools focus on a candidate’s values, personality and motivational characteristics so you can determine the best fit for each role. Your system should offer a proprietary inventory of validated EMS assessments. Additionally, this inventory of selection and performance tools should be competency-based and designed specifically for the EMS industry. Make sure your inventory includes:
    • The EMS Inventory (EMSI) ™ - Field clinicians (EMT, Paramedic & Nurse)
    • Emergency Dispatcher Inventory (EDI) ™ - Dispatchers and Call Takers
    • The Billing and Accounts Specialist Inventory (BASI) ™ - All EMS Billing and Customer Service Jobs
    • The Driver/Operator Behavior Inventory (DOBI) ™ - Wheelchair van and Paratransit Drivers
  • Behavior-Based Structured Interviews – Job-specific structured interviews are competency driven and measure job-specific criteria for selection. This tool helps hiring managers lock in the right candidate through a measurable and legally defensible process.

  • Post-Offer Background Check & Drug Screen – These critical hiring steps should be fully integrated in your TAS.  Your hiring system should provide an intuitive user interface to order and manage drug testing and background checks.  The best TAS applications make the process simple for both you and your candidates.

And finally, select a partner that offers world-class training and support. For example, providers that use OnShift Employ, our robust TAS, work hand in hand with our team of experts to become proficient in recruitment process and procedure. Our goal is to help all members of your team contribute positively to the discipline of selection and hiring.

While what lies ahead remains unknown, EMS providers should begin considering their plan for selecting candidates to be best prepared for an influx of applicants in a post-pandemic market. In the meantime, I hope you all are staying safe and healthy.


Saluting our frontline heroes in recognition of EMS Week

EMS plays a vital role in the first line of defense against the spread of any infectious disease. There is often no support and no perfect environment to contain the spread of disease. As an EMS worker, you live in fear of exposing family members to COVID-19. You try to always use the proper PPE and follow protocols for social distancing, but that is not always possible. You work in confined spaces. You constantly wash and sanitize your hands. You face these challenges every day. You are truly heroes facing daily hazards and struggling with adversity, helping everyone around you through your ingenuity, courage, or strength. 

From all of us at OnShift, thank you.

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About Greg Lawton

Prior to joining OnShift, Greg Lawton brought thirty years of EMS and medical transportation management experience to Avesta. He founded Avesta in 2007 to deliver human resources solutions across the entire EMS employee lifecycle. These solutions are backed by behavioral science insight, technology and a thorough understanding of needs of the ambulance industry. Prior to founding Avesta, Greg served on leadership teams for American Medical Response, Mercy Medical Services, MedTrans of San Diego, Physicians & Surgeons Ambulance and other EMS organizations. At American Medical Response, he led a multi-state EMS business development team that achieved $19.3 million in new opportunity growth in 2005. Three decades of ambulance industry experience shaped the simple notion that the best EMS organizations are led and staffed by the best people. Avesta was founded to initiate new thinking regarding recruitment, vetting and hiring talent for the EMS Industry. As well, offer new strategies and innovative ideas that are supported by valid research, knowledge and the understanding that each client is unique.

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