It sounds simple, right? In-house physician recruiters should always be looking for new ways to source candidates. At the beginning stages of a recruitment effort, you’ll likely need a good quantity of candidates in order to find the right fit and quality that you need. If what you’re currently doing isn’t meeting your needs, then it’s time to try something new, and the good news here is that there is an abundance of sources that can provide the candidate you need. Consider trying a new job board, a new contingency firm, or direct mail and email marketing.
2. Don’t Pass on Passive Physician Job Seekers
Some candidates will communicate that they are not actively looking for a new job but are just reaching out for more information. It’s easy to label candidates like these as “tire kickers,” and then shuffle them to the bottom of your stack of CV’s.
It’s true that active job seekers will usually sign a contract faster than a passive seeker will, but it’s a big mistake to not follow up with a passive job seeker.
Most of the time when passive job seekers reach out to you as an in-house recruiter, there is something very specific about your job that interests them, as opposed to an active seeker who is probably interviewing for many different jobs. Make sure to find out exactly why the passive seeker is expressing interest, and learn what it would take to turn the candidate’s passive approach into an active one.
Try using a low pressure approach and proceed with recruitment under the timeframe that works for the passive seeker, even if you really need to sign a candidate more quickly than the candidate’s timeframe allows. It will probably take longer to fill your job with a passive seeker, but the payoff can be well worth it. Retention can be easier due to the special aspect of your job that attracted the candidate to you in the first place.
3. Don’t Put Hard Requirements on a Required Start Date
It’s a common mistake to pass on an interested physician candidate because he or she is not available to start work within the timeframe that is most beneficial to the recruiting hospital or clinic. Ideally, you will always be able to fill every job within the necessary timeframe, but physician recruiting isn’t always a process that will work out exactly as desired or planned.
Here is a common scenario: A longtime physician unexpectedly resigns his/her position in July, and your hospital administrators insist that this physician must be replaced within the next 90 days. Some administrators may even direct their in-house recruiters to not recruit residents or other candidates who are not able to meet the deadline. This is a big problem because only about 10% of practicing physicians will switch jobs during a given year, which means 90% of those who do take new jobs are residents who usually won’t be available until the following summer.
Also, even most practicing physicians are on a contract cycle that was started when they finished residency, making them available only for a few months during late summer or early fall. Restricting your candidates and interviews only to physician candidates who can start almost immediately is one of the biggest reasons why some physician jobs end up taking a year or more to fill.
A better approach is to pursue all candidates who meet your needs, regardless of timing. Be honest with candidates about the timeframe you need, but also reassure them that they are a great fit, and if the need still exists when they get closer to being available, you will be ready to aggressively recruit them. You’ll have to focus on the goal your boss has set for you, but as the hospital’s recruiting expert, you should be able to justify at least staying in contact with these other candidates as a way of covering your bases.
4. Get Organized & Keep Detailed Notes on All Candidates
It is absolutely invaluable to keep notes on all physician candidates. Many times physicians apply for a job before they are really ready, then turn down your offer, and then come back again when the timing is better for them. Another possibility is that some aspect of your job will change in the future, and your notes about why a candidate didn’t work out in the past could be the reason why a second try at recruiting the candidate ends in success. In these cases, the more detailed your notes from the first encounter, the better equipped you will be to recruit the candidate for a second time.
Keep notes on everything: why the physician is seeking a new job, how far through the interview process the candidate is, when and how to reach the candidate, and why he or she did not end up taking or getting the job. A physician’s family is usually more important to him/her than a given job, so recording some information about the family (names, ages, activities) can become an asset to recruiting that candidate.
5. Recruit Proactively
Don’t just wait for your contracted recruiting firms and job boards to deliver candidates to you; recruit proactively as well. Try calling and emailing candidates from job board databases instead of just emailing them, and you’ll get better results. Reach out to your local or area residency program directors and make them aware of your corresponding physician needs. Use your notes on previous candidates to reach out to them about new jobs or new aspects of old jobs.
6. Know Why Your Hospital Has Been Able to Retain Physicians in the Past
These days, most physician job openings are packed with incentives for a physician to take the job. Depending on factors like specialty, region of the country, and rural or metro area, all of your competitors are likely to be offering comparable incentives such as a signing bonus, guaranteed income, or student loan repayment. Incentives for a physician to sign a contract are likely all very similar, and that is why retention of physicians can be a differentiating factor. You should be able to go beyond giving retention percentages, and be able to explain specific reasons why certain physicians have stayed.
7. Recruit the Spouse and Family
Don’t overlook the importance of recruiting the physician candidate’s spouse and family. Anything you can do to help the family feel more comfortable in your community will help make it easier for your physician candidate to accept your job. This should include doing what’s possible to help the spouse find employment, showcasing educational options for children, and making sure to highlight family activities that are available in your area.
8. Advertise specific details of your job that physicians care about
You won’t ever see every candidate who potentially would take your job if you only advertise a job’s location and a list of qualifications a candidate must meet in order to be considered. Furthermore, since most physician job advertisements are filled with non-specific adjectives such as “competitive” and “flexible,” filling your job advertisements with specific details will make your job stand out and attract more candidates.
Most physician job seekers are looking for a few very specific things in their next job. Physician job seekers are looking for information about the specific clinic and call schedule, exact amount of time off, salary range or long term earning potential, and other specifics like these. By providing this information, you are potentially offering a solution to the physician’s problem that is causing the job search. This is an excellent position for you to be in, and you are also saving time by prescreening candidates who are looking for something other than what you are offering.
As always, thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave comments, or share your own physician recruiting tips below.