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4 EMS recruitment tips from Pinnacle 2022

If your agency is part of the 74% struggling with recruitment, instead of lamenting “kids these days,” look at those you’re competing against and do something different


What recruitment strategies and techniques are working for your organization?

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Recruiting new EMS providers, of any certification level, has been and continues to be a top concern of respondents to the annual EMS Trend Report. This year, respondents ranked the most critical issues facing EMS as retention of quality personnel, funding and reimbursement, and recruitment of qualified applicants. Not surprisingly, these three things go together. When asked to rate the state of EMS provider recruitment in their organization, on a scale of 0 to 10, only 4% of respondents selected 10, saying they had no problems with recruitment.

Recruitment was top of mind and the focus of many conversations and presentations at Pinnacle 2022, held in late July in Marco Island, Florida. During a power session facilitated by the National EMS Management Association, attendees shared these four recruitment tips with one another.

1. Invite people back

Some people separate from an organization expecting the grass will be greener somewhere else. That’s not always the case, so reach out to former top performers who you’d like to have back, to see if they are interested in returning to your organization full-time, part-time or PRN.

Deborah Roethler, VP of administration at Advanced Medical Transport, describes how they are inviting past employees to return.

2. Have 7 recruitment strategies

Bringing qualified applicants into the recruitment process is the goal. To achieve this, you need seven or more ways to find and engage recruits. Having multiple recruitment strategies, from social media, to paid radio advertising, to programs at the high school will help you find and attract seven different types of recruits.

3. Conduct retention interviews

Use a structured retention interview process to find out why people chose your organization and why they are choosing to stay. Turn the themes of those interviews into messages for your recruitment marketing campaign. EMS Trend Report respondents have consistently reported the top reason they work in EMS is to serve their community and do something to make a difference.

4. Offer novel perks

One way to stand out in a crowd is to offer innovative and novel perks. At Pinnacle, I heard about organizations offering a station dog, vegetable and herb garden at the station, and paying for employees’ Netflix subscriptions.

Finally, recruitment efforts need to be dynamic and adaptable to a changing pool of applicants. If you’re part of the 4% that isn’t having any problems, keep doing what you are doing (and share your strategies). If your organization is part of the 74% that rated the state of recruitment as five or less, instead of lamenting “kids these days,” look at the organizations, in and out of EMS, that you are competing against, and do something different.

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Learn more

Use these resources for more top takeaways and lessons from Pinnacle and the EMS Trend Report.

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is the Lexipol Editorial Director, leading the efforts of the editorial team on Police1, FireRescue1, Corrections1 and EMS1. Greg served as the EMS1 editor-in-chief for five years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from the University of Idaho. He is an educator, author, national registry paramedic since 2005, and a long-distance runner. Greg was a 2010 recipient of the EMS 10 Award for innovation. He is also a three-time Jesse H. Neal award winner, the most prestigious award in specialized journalism, and the 2018 and 2020 Eddie Award winner for best Column/Blog. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.