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In-house Physician Recruiting Tips from an Ex-contingency Recruiter

Tip #1 Always Share Financial Information About Your Jobs

Although both in-house physician recruiters and contingency based physician recruiters share the primary objective of placing physicians into jobs, some of the methods they use to achieve these goals are very different. Both types of physician recruiters must source candidates, prescreen and interview them, schedule interviews with others, and do a lot of follow up with all of the involved parties. However, there are a number of differences in how each type of recruiter accomplishes these steps and the ultimate goal of filling a physician job.

Contingency recruiters have a number of substantial obstacles that stand in their way of accomplishing the goal of “placing” a physician and collecting a large recruiting fee. They probably aren’t very familiar with your community, nor do they have much direct knowledge about the employer they are assisting. They aren’t usually given a lot of financial details about the job, and they may not even have much real information about the job and its responsibilities. So how are some contingency based recruiters and firms so good at sourcing  physician candidates for hard-to-fill jobs? Some of that success is attributable to dealing with a large volume of clients and candidates, which is not applicable to most in-house physician recruiters. However, there are a few techniques that in-house recruiters can take from their contingency counterparts and apply to their own jobs.

Contingency recruiters almost always disclose at least some financial information to physician candidates on the front end of the recruitment process. 

There is really no good reason to keep a physician job’s compensation as a closely guarded secret. In an ideal world, everyone would seek out jobs that were an ideal fit, and compensation would be secondary to all other considerations. However, in the real world, people would prefer to have a good idea of a job’s pay before investing much time in pursuing it, and physicians are no exception. Just as in any other profession, a large number of physician job searches begin due to the physician’s financial concerns, and it stands to reason that employers who address those concerns early in the recruitment process give themselves an advantage. These are somewhat obvious statements, but despite this, many physician employers do not disclose the compensation of their jobs until the end stages of recruiting a physician. They may have good reasons for withholding the information: not wanting to advertise a package which is too high or too low, wanting to attract candidates for other reasons than compensation, fear of starting a bidding process for the physician’s services, and because discussions of financial gain in the field of medicine are sometimes viewed as distasteful. However, it is a mistake to allow these reasons to put you at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting physicians, which are a hospital’s most important asset. This is where contingency firms gain an advantage in attracting candidates to your job. Even if the hospital refuses to give recruiting firms information about compensation for a given job, the firm can usually find out about that information, and they will share it with prospective candidates. Effective contingency firms always stay in touch with their candidates and work to build relationships with them. There are lots of reasons for doing this, and one of them is to learn more about the details of the jobs for which they are helping you recruit. Recruiting firms exist and thrive by having good information about jobs, and it makes sense that they would record and share every detail of every financial offer or contract that they can find out about so that they can share it with the next candidate who comes along. Contingency recruiters have the advantage over in-house recruiters because they are able to have more frank discussions about finances with candidates, and because of this, they understand how important this information is to the majority of candidates. Recruiting firms know that many physicians will simply pass over any job that doesn’t offer financial details unless that position is in some way an absolutely ideal fit.

In-house recruiters should always be allowed to share this same information with physician candidates. Our experience is that the more financial information you can share with physician candidates, the better off you will be, and this is even true of jobs that offer slightly less than average compensation. A side effect, the benefit of sharing more financial information is that you will save the time and expense of interviewing candidates whose financial expectations are not a good fit for the position you have available. Another side effect is that if your front-end efforts to attract physician candidates still aren’t good enough, you may learn that some other aspect of the job itself, rather than your recruiting process, needs to be changed.

If you are an in-house recruiter whose boss is resistant to advertising or disclosing compensation information on the front end of your recruiting process, and you also have a need to attract more physician candidates to your jobs, you need to try to push the envelope on this issue. Perhaps you can share financial details with candidates without giving a specific number by offering a compensation range, or an average of what other physicians achieve within your system, or a long term earning potential. You probably won’t change your boss’s mind in the first conversation, so be as persistent as possible, because eventually pressure to attract candidates may cause a greater willingness to try new things. As the hospital’s in-house recruiter, you should voice concerns about this issue because you will ultimately be held accountable for the success of the employer in reaching its recruiting objectives.

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About Michael Jones

Michael Jones is the editor of HospitalRecruiting.com's blog and social media accounts. He is also an occasional writer/contributor to the blog and one of HospitalRecruiting.com's co-founders. Before beginning work on this website, Michael also had extensive experience as a successful physician recruiter.