How To Hire Healthcare Executives

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The healthcare industry comprises businesses that provide medical services, manufacture medical equipment, and drugs, medical insurers, or facilitate the distribution of healthcare to patients. Given this, the requirements of one healthcare company to another can differ massively. Since an insurance company’s business, medical manufacturers, and the private hospital will vary greatly.

There is no blanket guide on how to hire for all of the healthcare industry. To effectively understand what you do to hire a Healthcare executive in your sub-sector, let’s break the healthcare industry down into five main categories:

  • Healthcare Insurers
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Healthcare Technology (HealthTech)
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Healthcare Marketing

These distinctions were made because, in my opinion, they represent the main groups into which the majority of healthcare-related businesses can be divided. Hopefully, it can better assist you in comprehending your subsectors’ particular leadership and skill requirements, especially considering that each country has its own distinct, intricate, and precise regulations to follow. Let’s examine each sector and consider the special considerations that someone in this sector who wants to hire a healthcare executive should make.

Healthcare Insurance Executives

If you are in the process of hiring executives for your health insurance company, keep in mind that potential candidates may require some level of education or experience in areas such as risk management, actuarial science, law, finance, etc.  Which position are you hoping to fill with this new hire?  Do local laws mandate certain qualifications are required for the position?  Taking into consideration the country they will be working from, and the facility in which they will work, what kinds of experiences and skills might be beneficial for a position like that?

Depending on the role being staffed, there is a chance that you will want to look directly at the competitive healthcare insurance landscape for candidates.  That said, some positions could be addressed by looking at other insurance sectors and focusing on transferable skills.

Pharmaceutical Executives

Identifying leaders with the empathy and self-awareness necessary to navigate the pharmaceutical industry’s complex regulatory environment and the rapid-fire research-and-development cycle is a top priority for any pharmaceutical company looking to fill executive positions.  This allows for laser-like focus when searching for an external CFO, COO, CEO, CSO, or other similarly essential hires.  Effectively navigating the complex structure of a pharmaceutical company requires years of experience.

Leaders need strong communication and listening skills because they must interact with a wide variety of people, including scientists, engineers, government officials, board members, shareholders, and patients.

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Healthcare Technology Executives

The healthcare industry is undergoing a transformation brought on by technological advances, and innovators in the health technology sector require leaders who can deliver disruptive and game-changing technologies.  HealthTech start-ups are partnering with global hardware, data, software, and services companies to provide the infrastructure to enhance healthcare delivery.  A key aspect of the complexity of this quickly advancing sector is the collection and use of vast amounts of data.

Hiring HealthTech executives can be challenging, given the landscape that needs to be searched.  Candidates could come from another HealthTech company or one of the three fields that created this new space: Healthcare, Technology, or Life Sciences.  Understanding the critical attributes of your organization’s needs will help you determine the best areas to focus your recruitment efforts. 

Healthcare Administration Executives

To successfully hire a healthcare administration executive, you must identify individuals who can work behind the scenes to make large-scale decisions for a healthcare facility or institution.  They work directly with policies and budgets to improve the patient experience and ensure guest and staff safety.

The executive in healthcare administration you seek must have in-depth knowledge of the regulatory framework in patient care.  Their responsibilities are entirely dissimilar to those of a doctor or physician.  While physicians directly manage patients, administrators oversee the facility itself.  The job responsibilities may change depending on the size and location of the healthcare facility.

Some healthcare administrators are responsible for the administration of an entire facility, while others may specialize in administering a particular department within a facility.  It does not matter where a healthcare administrator works; they are expected to be aware of and compliant with any laws that pertain to their sphere of responsibility and area of expertise.


Healthcare Marketing

The marketing of healthcare services is highly restricted and regulated everywhere in the world, albeit in significantly different ways from one nation to the next. In light of this, the candidates you choose should have an understanding of how to market the products or services in the country in which you conduct business. If, on the other hand, your company possesses a strong legal team, those individuals will be able to ensure that the work done by the marketers is in accordance with the law.

Work With An Executive Search Firm

Hiring healthcare executives can be complicated and quite a minefield. I would highly recommend working with established executive search firms, especially if you are in need of a confidential search. Due to the complexity of hiring healthcare executives, the active network of qualified professionals within an executive search firm’s network would bring tremendous value to your recruitment.

For instance, the executive search firm Boyden, of which I am a Managing Partner and have over twenty-five years of experience, has offices in over 43 countries. These offices each have a wide variety of executive search consultants who are experienced in locating top talent in particular roles and industries through their established networks. If you get in touch with me, I will be able to introduce you to the appropriate partner who will assist you with your healthcare executive search.  So please don’t hesitate to Contact me!

Looking for specific Executive Role Hiring guides?

Please check out my how to hire a C-level executive guide which also contains a list of 8+ different C-level specific guides on that page. Including how to hire a CEO, How to Hire a CFO, How to Hire a CHRO, and more!

My executive search blog is just getting started, but in the not-too-distant future, I hope to have dedicated guides for each industry. These guides will be written by either myself or by my colleagues who specialize in executive search in a specific field. So, if you want to know about them as soon as I make them, subscribe to my mailing list!

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