If the perfect physician is hard to come by as a patient, and they’re even harder to come by as a recruiter. If you are looking for a physician who checks all the boxes for desired education, experience, specialty, great bedside manner, and who fits in your healthcare organization’s culture – oh, and who is available to start at your given time frame – you have your work cut out for you. Luckily, we’ve recently had some great conversations with physician recruiters at the AAPPR Conference and we’ve compiled their top physician recruitment tips.
Recruiting for the medical field is challenging, but it’s not impossible. However, with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) research showing that there will be a shortage of over 100,000 doctors by 2030, you don’t want to let candidates slip away. The trick lies in your approach, your flexibility, and your patience.
A candidate who is passively looking for a new opportunity is not going to spend a lot of time digging through your website to find the job listings and portal to apply. They also are not going to take the time to create an account with a username and password to submit their resume. If it is not obvious how to apply for a position at your hospital, or if your application process makes for a bad candidate experience, they will move on to the next possible opportunity.
Make sure job opportunities are easy to find from your home page. Before even detailing open positions, make sure you have an easy process for candidates to contact the right person. Either an online portal that is front and center or the correct contact email and phone number. When you do connect with a candidate, offer video interviews they can record on their own schedule or use an interview scheduler to allow candidates to choose their own interview time to demonstrate your commitment to being flexible.
Candidates who are either actively or passively seeking new employment want to know the culture of the workplace they are walking into. They want to know if you will accommodate their work/life balance, allow flexibility for family activities, and what it is like to be part of your team. Above all, they want honesty.
Who better to talk about this than team members who are excited about your culture? Invest the time in having your all-star team members tell their story and what they love about working in your organization. Humanize the staff, the organization, and the mission. It’s important, so important we wrote an eBook on it.
All recruiters look at the requested “time to fill” of a requisition and cringe at how fast that time passes. In 2018 the average time-to-fill rate for physicians averaged 145 days – and Family Medicine Physicians being the most competitive and hardest to fill coming in at 227 days. This average has presumably only increased and there is a lot that needs to align to get that dream candidate to onboard and stay at your hospital.
Given the typical physician residencies and contracts, you could find the ideal physician who checks all the boxes, but isn’t available until their residency ends six months from now. That is not a reason to disqualify them from employment. Go back to the department head that secured the requisition and see if it’s possible to keep that position open longer if it means getting a star candidate.
You will encounter a lot of physicians who either are not ready to move on to the next opportunity or who need time to finish out their residency. You don’t need to jot down their education or job background, that’s what their resume is for. What you need to remember is why they are looking for a position and what is important to them.
Did you meet a physician who wants to live and work in a rural area like yours, but not until their youngest graduates from high school? Make sure you note when that graduation date is and follow up the semester before graduation. It’s also possible that another candidate was edged out of the position, but still would be a great fit in your organization. Keep them in mind the next time a position opens up and call them to see if they’d be open to applying.
Some candidates might not work out the first time around, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll never work out.
Make sure you are conducting stay interviews with your tenured physicians. (And if your organization does not have tenure physicians – then figure out why, quickly.) These physicians will be able to tell you what they love most about staying at the organization and what can be improved upon, especially during the onboarding process.
Maybe physicians stay because of the culture or the flexibility in their schedule, or the opportunities they have to learn and grow in your organization. Whatever the reason is, make sure candidates know. Highlighting this information over social media, in recruitment brochures, or even just for your recruiters to have on hand is going to be a way to attract people who will have the same values – and the same longevity.
We’re not saying physician recruitment is easy but we are saying: don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Connect and keep in touch with the right people through the long game and watch your average open positions decline.
To learn more about interviewstream’s experience with hiring physicians and how we can help your organization hire the right candidates, contact one of our hiring experts today.
Drew Whitehurst is the Content & Implementation Specialist at interviewstream. He's been with the company since 2014 working in client services and marketing. He is an analytical thinker, coffee enthusiast, and hobbyist at heart.