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Edging Ahead in the Fall Physician Hiring Race

How to Beat the Competition in the Fall Physician Recruiting Season
sborisov/123RF.com

As the weather cools down, physician recruiters know the competition is about to heat up. Budgets are being finalized and approved, new grads have been scouring the market for a home, residents are finalizing searches and will likely sign contracts early next year, and seasoned professionals consider a move before winter sets in and a new year makes for a better time to change. Autumn is a perfect storm of physician candidates with every facility hoping to snag the best and the brightest.

Physician recruiters know that as many candidates there are in the market, there are even more facilities competing for their attention. Fall is the time to ramp up efforts to recruit the top experienced and the most promising new physicians for your institution. Unfortunately, every other recruiter in the marketplace is doing the same. How can you up your profile to snag the best of the best?

Hiring History

How have fall efforts in the past worked out? Recruiters are often too busy doing their work to analyze how to work successfully. As you hire or recruit, keeping lists of sources that detail the quality, quantity, and ultimate hire-ability of the candidates who applied is critical. Rather than making the same mistakes year after year, with a little note taking during the recruitment process, you can set yourself up for easy time next year. For today, take a quick look at which physicians you recruited last year at this time (and which were the most successful hires) and where you sourced them. You may see a pattern emerge – follow its path.

Tantalizing Job Descriptions

We’ve talked about how Employee Engagement Starts with the Job Posting, and at this time of year, it couldn’t be more true. Imagine being bombarded with emails, recruitment calls, and advertisements on a nonstop basis. The ones that will catch your eye (and interest) are the ones designed to do so. A list of duties is just that: a list. A job description that generates interest in the facility as well as the work is more likely to capture a candidate’s attention. Highlight the biggest plus of working with you in the headline of every job posting to draw them in whenever you advertise on job boards or send out communications.

Personal Personnel

Are you catering to the candidate or asking them to cater to you? Consider offering a single, dedicated person for whom the candidate will go through the entire process, from first interview to onboarding to assistance long after they’re hired. Give candidates a single partner in the process that they can access 24/7. Decisions are rarely made during work hours. If a candidate is mulling over your facility or another’s, that Saturday phone call (or even just knowing it’s available) could tip the scales in your favor. Offer direct phone numbers (even work cell numbers) and email addresses for a personal touch not afforded other recruits. And make sure to respond immediately.

Relationships Matter

Establish connections with Residency and Fellowship Directors who can lead you to candidates perfect for your openings. Program heads are happy to help with placement and have first-hand knowledge of the talent they recommend. The relationships you build with them will grow every year, and soon they’ll be calling you with candidates, rather than the other way around.

Look for Niches

Are you looking for a particular specialty that’s tough to fill? Look to publications that serve that community and post your openings there. Conferences in that discipline might be another avenue to research. Ask those within the field where they’d look for an opening, what they read, or where they reference. Look for the recruitment path less taken to thin the competition.

Referral Resources

Always promote employee referrals within your facility. Great employees tend to gravitate to their ilk; they’ll likely recommend someone with terrific potential. As the fall season unfolds, remind your current employees to forward names and contact information to you. They can even begin selling the candidate on your facility before you make a single call.

However you manage your fall hiring sweep, allow a few moments here and there to note your sources and expand your relationships with department heads and chairs to make next year’s cycle easier. For this year, get creative and remember that each contact is an opportunity to sell your facility.

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About Riia O'Donnell

Riia O’Donnell has over 20 year’s hands-on experience in all aspects of the Human Resource function. Beginning as a recruiter, she grew to lead in all areas of HR, including employee training and development, legal compliance, benefits administration, compensation evaluation, and staff management. She has been a contributing writer for a wealth of HR, training, and small business websites for the past 7 years.