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Four Ways to Successfully Recruit Physicians


Here’s how to speed up the physician recruitment process and stand out from the competition.

The physician recruitment environment is becoming more and more competitive due to the increasing physician shortage.

If you’re among the many practices scrambling to recruit newly minted physicians, here are four tips to speed up that recruitment process and stand out from the competition, provided by physician and executive search firm Cejka Search.

Make your opportunity meaningful to candidates
Make sure your messaging is focused around the candidate’s needs, David Cornett, senior executive vice president of business development at Cejka Search, told Physicians Practice. In other words, he said, make it clear to the candidate “What’s in it for him or her.” 

Do this by providing the candidate with information about what your practice can offer in terms of lifestyle (including call coverage), practice style and type, compensation, and loan repayment. “Those are the things that are most important” Cornett said.

Also, lure in candidates by “playing up the proximity” your practice location offers, Mary Barber, senior executive vice president of marketing at Cejka Search, told Physicians Practice.

For instance, findings from a Cejka Search survey of 700 members of the medical school class of 2012 will show that 67 percent said their choice of practice was dependent on the interests of their significant other or family members. They also noted proximity to family as a key person reason for selecting a practice.

For those reasons, if applicable, when recruiting a candidate note whether your practice location provides the candidate’s spouse with professional opportunities, the candidate’s children with good schools, and the candidate’s family closeness to its extended family, said Barber.

Also note nearby recreational opportunities that the candidate would find appealing, said Cornett. For instance, if the candidate likes mountain biking, point out the proximity to great biking trails and suggest biking clubs and other opportunities the new physician can make personal connections within the community.

Make the most of your time and resources
Don’t waste your time on candidates with needs that you cannot fulfill. “One of the biggest pitfalls practices fall into is moving forward with candidates who really are not a good fit,” said Barber. That leads to wasted time, resources, and revenue losses.

As noted, family needs play a significant role in a physician’s decision to join your practice. If your practice can’t fulfill the family’s needs, you may be wasting your recruitment efforts on him. 

“You have to have some really rigorous screening processes [when recruiting] because in the end, you’ll move more quickly if you only have to interview one or two,” said Barber. “That’s counterintuitive to a lot of organizations, they feel like if they’re not seeing a lot of candidates they’re not getting what they need from their recruiter. It’s not necessarily true.”

Plan for the Future
While it’s important to determine if your practice is the right fit for a candidate, it’s also crucial to determine if a candidate is right for your practice.

That means ensuring a candidate has the right training and skills, and considering whether his or her practice style aligns with your practice’s culture and future goals, said Barber.

For instance, “One of the things that came out of our most recent retention survey was that practice leaders indicated that teamwork as a quality in physicians is vastly more important than it was five years ago, and it will be more important in the next five years because of coordinated care, accountable care, and the need for physicians to work with advanced practitioners and others in the continuum,” she said. 

Don’t Delay

The recruitment environment is so competitive that the advantage really doesn’t lie with the practice, it lies with the candidate, said Cornett.

“Once you have contacted a particular candidate you’ve got to move quickly, you’ve got to be very responsive,” he said. “...Be prepared to interview them quickly; be prepared to respond to questions, concerns, requests quickly; prepare to make a decision quickly; and get an offer out quickly.

Have you recently recruited a physician to your practice? What recruitment tactics worked well? 


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