Despite all the uncertainly created with the Affordable Care Act, many of our healthcare design clients continue to heal and recover from the jolt in 2008 and 2009. Many have staffing levels that match, or in some cases exceed, levels from four years ago.  

Pent-up demand to renovate or expand healthcare facilities in the United States continues to keep many firms busy and once again upping their recruiting efforts. 

As healthcare delivery changes and providers now look to designers to innovate and problem-solve, the need for mid- to senior-level folks with these matching skills sets is dramatically accelerating.     

Some of our clients have the appropriate talent on staff, others will successfully develop internally, and many must look externally to prepare for 2014 and beyond. But the supply and demand for the skills and attributes that all design firms desire makes the 2013 war for talent a challenging proposition. 

For every one proven seller/doer healthcare architect who's a known thought leader, there are 10 potential suitors.

As design firms think differently about their service offerings, they also need to start thinking differently about how they procure talent.

Start with being realistic about what you have to offer. Senior leadership should take the time to be clear upfront on how far they'll be willing to go with the role, responsibility, compensation, bonus, equity, etc. Concluding it depends on the candidate is a mistake and will lead to wasted time and not optimizing the chances of getting what you want. 

Senior leadership also needs to be able to answer this basic question: "Why should a highly respected and successful healthcare architect join our firm?” Before any search effort begins, this question must be answered in granular detail.

The recruiting effort itself should focus on direct contact with a select list of the most qualified candidates in the most professional and confidential manner. In the mind of top-tier talent, advertised healthcare principal roles only raises suspicion that the firm is desperate and can’t fill the role. 

The best candidates will conclude that their peers must have turned it down and, therefore, it must not be a good opportunity. 

Top healthcare architects want to feel special, and that's why they'll never blindly send off their resumes to job boards, social media sites, or even employer sites. They want to feel like you've identified them as part of a select group that's being courted about a very special opportunity. 

Our clients are often surprised when we advise them to take their time. Get to know the candidate, kick the tires for a bit, and meet in the office and socially outside the office. Both parties will learn more after each encounter.