Ironside Human Resources

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June 26, 2017 Issue



Permanent Placement for Hospital Staffing, Nursing and Healthcare Professionals providing National Physicians Recruitment



Doug Carter

Chief Executive Officer


Ironside Human Resources


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
CEOCFO Magazine, Published – June 26, 2017


CEOCFO: Mr. Carter, according to the Ironside website, your vision is not to be the biggest healthcare staffing firm just the best. What does that mean day-to-day?

Mr. Carter: What that means to us is we do not do business with every hospital that is out there. We do business with hospitals we think we can help and deliver results. A lot of our competitors will take on business and they know they maybe cannot deliver results but it is money in the door so they take it in anyway.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the range of services you provide at Ironside?

Mr. Carter: We do permanent placement for healthcare professionals ranging from staff-level nurses, licensed practical nurses, to ancillary providers physicians and everything in-between on up to C-Suite within a hospital.


CEOCFO: How are you able to find candidates?

Mr. Carter: We buy data from several different resources. There are a lot of data firm out there that we will buy data from.  We also use healthcare specific websites that we paid and belong to and we can source from that.  We also do a lot of direct marketing for the data that we buy. We do a lot cold-calling and a lot of emailing. In general that is how we find our candidates. There is really no trick to the trade, it is just a lot of hard work and cold-calling and emailing and direct mailing as well as following up on those activities on a daily basis.


CEOCFO: What are medical professionals looking for when making a change?

Mr. Carter: I would say they are looking for stability. In healthcare today there is a lot of change and many of healthcare professionals are looking for stability within a hospital or a hospital system that they are working for.


CEOCFO: How do you know if an organization seems to be stable?

Mr. Carter: We look at the hospitals executive staff to see if there has been turnover there because it usually starts at the top and if there is a lot of turnover at the top, which can be an uneasy client to work with. They have the most needs but before we start working with them we have to make sure that turnover is stabilized. Typically a hospital will go through a transition period and we want to come in and help staff and recruit at the end of the transition period when things have stabilized and when they have a management staff that is going to be staying there. We have worked with interim healthcare executives and there tends to still be a lot of turnover and that can be very hard for healthcare professionals that are looking for stability. We also look at the financials of the hospital which are to some degree public knowledge. We have different resources that we use to look at the financials of a hospital such as an American hospital directory. We can look at a baseline to see if they are in the red or the black and if they are operating in the black through Medicare and Medicaid, that shows stability.


CEOCFO: Would you typically work with a hospital over a long period of time and provide continual candidates?

Mr. Carter: One of our clients in west Texas, we have been working with them for three years now and they are a stable client.  We have worked with them with staff-level nurses, department managers, director of nursing, director of psychiatric care services, and there are a lot of needs for nutritional healthcare providers. Diabetes is on the rise in many areas so there are many diabetic educator positions that have come up. There is a great deal of need for medical technology because of change in healthcare reform and allowing people from other countries to come here and work has tightened up over the last six months so medical technologists have become a high demand.


CEOCFO: Where does hospital culture fit into the picture?

Mr. Carter: It plays into every candidate that we recruit because every candidate has a different idea of what they would like to do and of course the client has an idea of just the kind of person that they want to help and bring into their culture and the fit. I will give you an example of a client we have in rural Alaska and they work mostly with the native American population and they have to have to have people that are mission driven because the people there in the villages surrounding the town do not take good care of themselves so they have to have people that are mission driven to provide the care. You have to have a passion to help people and educate them on taking care of themselves and also educating the villages that are in remote locations so they can help other people so they will go to a village of a couple thousand people and they will take a couple people in and train them so they can educate the other people amongst the village how to not to eat or drink too much and not to avoid sugars. Some may show signs of an illness or chest pains so to get these people to a hospital is usually a flight and that can be a big undertaking because every village may have one or two planes that are constantly flying everywhere so for them it will have to be somebody that is mission minded and have the passion to deliver healthcare and education to people that do not know anything about it. When we are screening the candidates, we have to make sure they are mission driven and have a passion to deliver and educate healthcare to people.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about being recognized as one of Inavero’s 2017 Best of Staffing® Client Award companies?

Mr. Carter: That is actually a big accomplishment for us. We are a small boutique firm of six people and a lot of larger staffing companies usually get this. They are an independent survey company and we basically hand over our client list to them and they do a survey and send it out to our clients and it is unknown to us who is responding and how they are responding. You have to hit a certain mark to win the award and the mark is set pretty high. You have to give it a score of nine or ten to be awarded and eight is neutral and a seven or below is a detractor.


CEOCFO: You recently completed the Goldman Sachs Ten Thousand Small Business program. Why did you decide to go through it and what did you learn that surprised you?

Mr. Carter: Just coming up with a growth strategy was the biggest thing for the next five years and in my mind I knew where I wanted to take the company and I knew that we wanted to grow it but just writing down a financial plan of how to get there and visually seeing it on paper and actually having a goal written down is a whole different thing than just having it up in my head. When you do the program, you end up being accountable to setting your goals on paper and sharing your goals with people. Within the Cohort there are 28 other small business owners in the program and they are all accountability partners. Then also you set your goals for the next five years and you start looking at what is realistic and what is not and really model a plan that is realistic. It was nice that there were a lot of other different types of businesses but they will have the same problems and issues and even though they are very different we will all have the same sort of problems as small business owners. So that was nice and seemed very surprising.


CEOCFO: Do changes in the healthcare system make a difference in approach?

Mr. Carter: I would say ever since the ACA came into play it has definitely changed our business and it has made people much more conscientious on hiring, hospitals systems are a lot slower to hire and there is consolidation going on within the healthcare industry and that definitely plays a role into our business. There are more competitors out there as well competing for probably the same amount of business that there was ten years ago. There is also a greater demand out there so there is a lot more pressure being put on healthcare professionals so there is a higher rate of burnout amongst their healthcare professionals. It does affect us but we just do not know how yet.


CEOCFO: What is ahead for the next year?

Mr. Carter: Our next steps are we are growing so we will hire more recruiters and a couple more salespeople. We will provide some additional lines of service. We are looking at giving into the interim staffing area of healthcare management professionals and exploring that market which is a great market and we are just making sure it is a market we want to be in and if we decided to go into that vertical, making sure we are set up right to do it and serve our clients well.


CEOCFO: How is business?

Mr. Carter: Business is good. We have been in business now for six years this July and we have gone from one employee to six. Business is steady.


CEOCFO: How do you know if someone is right for your organization?

Mr. Carter: It stands out quickly. In nature recruiting is a production environment. There is a ramp up that every new hire goes through and you watch them through the ramp up period and given the nature of our business if they are not ramping up quickly then they are probably not a right fit for our organization. From a cultural standpoint we are very collaborative and if somebody is not collaborative, then they are probably not a fit.


CEOCFO: Why choose Ironside Human Resources?

Mr. Carter: We are a smaller company and it is a full-service approach and most of the clients we worked with are smaller hospitals in smaller communities. The reason you would want to choose Ironside is you would want to work with a company that cares about your needs and understands about being a small business.


“When we are screening the candidates, we have to make sure they are mission driven and have a passion to deliver and educate healthcare to people.”- Doug Carter


Ironside Human Resources



Douglas Carter


Ironside Human Resources

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