Recruitment strategies for phlebotomist hiring
Are you looking to hire a phlebotomist? The fundamental responsibilities of phlebotomy technicians are simple: to safely draw and enter blood into a laboratory system, with minimal patient upset. But to recruit, hire, and retain top phlebotomists, it’s helpful to understand more about this multi-faceted profession. Here’s the scoop on phlebotomist hiring strategies:
Phlebotomist licensing, certifications, and training:
One of the first steps in hiring your next phlebotomist is to ensure that they have the requisite levels of training, licensing, and certification. A few points to keep in mind here include:
- In many states, phlebotomists must complete a post-secondary certification program before starting work; other states have no requirements.
- Even in states with no mandated certification, most employers require it.
- Phlebotomy training programs are offered by community colleges, vocational or technical schools, and some certifying organizations.
- Certifications for phlebotomy technicians can be obtained from the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, the National Center for Competency Testing, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the American Medical Technologists.
- Certification typically requires classroom training, clinical rotations, and an exam.
- Some employers encourage or mandate continuing education on topics such as venipuncture, universal health and safety precautions, specimen rejections, performing difficult draws, order of draw, problem-solving and communication, and legal issues.
“Nearly all employers require certification or equivalent training,” says Phil Svehla, president of Phlebotek, a Florida staffing firm specializing in phlebotomy technicians.
Training doesn’t equate with certification. “There are phlebotomy training programs all over, but how good are they?” says Helen Maxwell, executive director of the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians. “There’s an unwritten law that employers prefer certification.”
How phlebotomists are sourced:
Of course, the next question is, “Where can I find top-tier phlebotomist candidates?” As with most positions, you’ll want to take a multi-faceted approach. Several effective sources for phlebotomist hiring include the following:
- Employee referrals are a key source of phlebotomist candidates.
- Clinical rotations offer providers the opportunity to try before they buy.
- Job descriptions that are as specific as possible with regard to the work arrangement, location, and care setting can help narrow the field.
“Providers recruit through job postings, clinical rotations during training, and sometimes employers ask us for referrals — it’s through a variety of channels,” says Maxwell. “And the jobs are usually very quickly taken.”
Key phlebotomist job skills:
Next on your phlebotomist hiring to-do list is determining which skills are most important for the position. You should include these in yourjob postings and keep an eye out for them while interviewing. Typically, candidates should be able to:
- Draw blood from diverse patient populations, including children, elderly people, and those with psychiatric diseases
- Reassure anxious patients and blood donors
- Maintain an organized workspace and workflow
- Follow health and safety procedures to the letter
Additionally, some phlebotomists may be called on to perform tests such as electrocardiograms, point-of-care blood work, and urinalysis for insurance applicants.
“We like to see that candidates have confidence, they know what they’re doing, and they’re very caring, personable,” says Svehla. “When you’re about to hold out your arm for a stick, you want someone who makes you feel comfortable.”
“For safety, you must follow procedures — for example, putting needles directly into the sharps container,” says Svehla.
“They have to be organized,” says Maxwell. “Everything has to be done very meticulously. Our national exam has two parts, one written and one practical. More people fail the practical because, for example, they don’t check the patient’s identification.”
Key phlebotomist experience:
There are a few different perspectives when it comes to the type of experience a company prefers to see in their new hires. Experience requirements will vary based on the needs and training capacity of the company, the typical patients being served, and the work environment. For example:
- Most employers seek phlebotomists with a year or two of work experience
- Some providers want professionals with experience in a particular care setting
- Some employers prefer to train phlebotomists themselves, so they require no work experience
“Probably 80 percent of employers want experience, typically at least a year,” says Maxwell.
“The experience requirement for a given opening depends on the type of patient,” says Svehla. “In nursing homes, for example, there are usually difficult sticks and the interaction is often very challenging.”
How to interview phlebotomists:
The interview is the best opportunity to assess the candidate’s way with people. And since they’ll be working directly with patients, assessing both hard and soft skills is an important part of phlebotomist hiring. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind regarding the interview process:
- Communication skills and clinical knowledge should be tested face-to-face.
- Probe the candidate for preferences about care setting: hospital, medical office, lab, home care, screening/mobile, or blood donation center.
- Determine the candidate’s suitability for the work arrangement, whether it’s permanent, part-time, contract, per diem, locum tenens, traveling, or contract.
“Usually employers ask about work experience and training and certification,” says Maxwell. “They’re usually given a test of about 50 questions — though it’s not standardized — covering topics from infection control to order of draw to legal aspects to professionalism.”
“We ask about what types of patients they’ve drawn blood from, how many draws they’ve done,” says Svehla. “Some phlebotomists may draw from 50 people a day. With some of our client employers, the interviewers have the candidate draw blood.”
Draw from the experts
Phlebotomist hiring may seem fairly straightforward — you just need to look for the right certifications, skills, and experience. But finding the best candidates for your business means knowing where to look and what to offer. Get help today by signing up for Monster Hiring Solutions’ expert recruiting advice and the latest hiring trends.