Johns Hopkins’ Yvonne Mitchell on the Importance of High-Quality Candidate Experiences
SeekOut's Talent Visionaries series features innovative leaders and their extraordinary work in creating and scaling high-performing teams. The personal philosophies and invaluable insights of these workplace champions offer new perspectives in an ever-evolving talent landscape.
Yvonne Mitchell is VP of Human Resources - Talent Acquisition at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Yvonne has over 30 years of experience in TA and leads a team of over 100 TA professionals at Johns Hopkins. Yvonne shares why she is passionate about TA, how great candidate experiences are the future, and how to nurture employee well-being in a remote workplace.
On TA as the happiest career in HR
I started in talent acquisition (TA) working for Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. At the time, I recruited bankers and personnel from all over the world. I realized back then that TA was the perfect role for me.
“Talent acquisition has to be the happiest place in HR. We change lives by connecting people and making dreams come true every single day.”
In TA, we are salespeople, consultants, and therapists all bundled into one. We are eternal optimists and we have to enjoy the journey, not the destination. I still believe that TA has to be the happiest place in HR. We change lives by connecting people and making dreams come true every single day.
On working remotely in healthcare TA
I’ve worked remotely in healthcare HR for over 10 years. Most of my colleagues in healthcare recruiting also work remotely. When COVID hit, we were ahead of the curve because we were already working from home and using remote technologies.
“Working remotely keeps us laser focused on hunting for talent, which is what we do best—and we can do that from anywhere.”
We still have the ability to visit hospitals, meet our managers in-person, and tour our facilities when it makes sense. But working remotely keeps us laser focused on hunting for talent, which is what we do best—and we can do that from anywhere.
On talent leaders supporting employee well-being
It’s really important for TA leaders to understand how employee well-being shows up in the remote workplace. The downside of remote work is that you work a lot, you sit a lot, and you don’t take enough breaks.
I’m working on bringing ideas like intentional lunchtimes and “no-meeting Fridays” to my remote team. We can’t create great candidate experiences if we aren’t taking care of ourselves.
On the importance of a positive candidate experience
In healthcare, it used to be all about the employer—now, it’s an employee-driven market. So, candidate experience is the most important thing. We need to quickly attract candidates, move candidates through the process, and share our value proposition with them.
Recruiting in healthcare has been and will continue to be difficult. My advice is to value candidates’ time and understand the importance of a smooth, fast candidate experience. Instead of doing eight to nine interviews for a position, we’re now seeing same-day interviews and in some circumstances, even same-day offers.
"In healthcare, it used to be all about the employer—now, it's an employee-driven market. So, candidate experience is the most important thing."
Stay open to the possibility of providing more flexible options for your candidates. In healthcare, this could mean optimizing shifts or opening more opportunities for remote work. We’ll start seeing more organizations push the boundaries on what is possible.
On how to keep learning and improving in healthcare HR
I spend a lot of time talking to our partners and other experts in the field, but one of your greatest resources is your peers. With a very large TA team, there are many, many resources. Every single person has worked at other places. Every person has been a candidate and every person has been on the employer side. There is a lot of wisdom on that team, and I learn something new from them every day.
Right now, I’m reading a book about resilience and well-being by Dr. Safeer, Chief Medical Director of Employee Health and Well-Being for Johns Hopkins Medicine. It’s called “A Cure for the Common Company.” It’s about employee well-being and how to be intentional about instilling employee health and happiness in an organization. I also recommend any book by Brené Brown, especially “Dare to Lead.”
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