Developing Elite Recruiters

The investment needed to take their skills to the next level


As today’s healthcare market continues to lean strongly in favor of candidates, Kiersten Kanaley, Executive Director Talent Acquisition at Cleveland Clinic, recognizes the requirement for recruiters to raise their skills to a new level — one of an elite recruiter. At minimum, today’s recruiter should possess the following seven traits:


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  • Passion for advocacy
  • Creativity
  • Ability to think strategically
  • Data-driven mindset
  • Technologically savvy
  • Storytelling ability
  • Commitment to lifelong learning

So, what exactly does it take to become an elite recruiter? Elite recruiters must possess:

  • A strategy that fulfills a business need and is supported by the board and executive leadership.
  • A model informed by benchmarks with clear targets such as experience, productivity and efficiencies.
  • The right team — assembled, developed and ready to lead the charge.
  • The ability to focus on uniquely human activities like communicating with candidates and understanding what matters most to them.

Without this type of commitment from every department involved, organizations will be unable to change lives, deliver on their mission and offer a career path that allows caregivers to thrive.

Rebecca Ammon, Cleveland Clinic’s new Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, has worked for several respected healthcare organizations and acknowledges that this type of support is rare. “These are things not every organization prioritizes. Our team’s level of focus and investment removes those barriers from our recruiters.”


Cleveland Clinic recruiters are digging deeper and discovering what makes a candidate feel valued, empowered and understood. The organization is responsible for creating a sense of belonging,” Kanaley says. “Directing the job seeker to the right job, the right leader and the right career path is an elite recruiter’s purpose.”

Determined to be the best place to work in healthcare, Cleveland Clinic strives to provide an exceptional experience for every current and future caregiver. “Our team aspires to be progressive, compassionate and trustworthy,” Kanaley says. “Our goal is to be the complete resource for current and future caregivers. We want to provide everything they need to prosper.”

So, what do elite recruiters need?

  • A Modern Candidate Experience. “This approach demands giving time back to our candidates and making sure that they are the ones who are at the heart of the process,” explains Ammon.
  • Lifelong-learning opportunities, including development resources to stay ahead of recruitment trends, Community of Practice meetings to address common needs/concerns, and time in their day to focus on learning.
  • A designated area of focus (e.g., nursing or imaging) that enables recruiters to be subject matter experts within their market.

When all these programs and initiatives are put in place, elite recruiters will have the tools they need to find success in attracting and hiring the exceptional talent they need. “We want Cleveland Clinic to be top of mind for every person who wants to work in healthcare — and once they’re here, we want to ensure they stay,” adds Kanaley.

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