Recruitment Redux

February 19, 2009

Are you wondering if it’s become harder to recruit physicians since, say, 20 years ago? It has.

Are you wondering if it’s become harder to recruit physicians since, say, 20 years ago? It has. Increased competition from health systems, physician shortages, and sub-specialization have all contributed to the difficult recruitment landscape we face today. To successfully recruit the physicians of tomorrow, we should mold successful strategies of the past to fit today’s medical school graduates.

What should you know about today’s new docs on the block?

  • Gender shifts - Although the number of male medical grads still exceeds female numbers, that gap is closing. Indeed, female medical school graduates have more than doubled since 1980. Notably, 2003 marked the first year that more women than men applied to medical school, and it is likely female graduates will outnumber male graduates during the next decade.

  • Nontraditional work schedules - One size (or schedule) will not fit all. By insisting that all providers work the same schedule and take the same call and have the same workload, you may be shutting the door on potential recruits. Look at ways to accommodate new physicians who want greater balance in their lives.

  • Spouse inclusion - ‘Sell’ the candidate’s spouse on your community and help him network in his area of employment. Also, try to find out the couple’s hobbies outside of office hours so you can better tailor your recruiting efforts. This maxim also applies to recruits who are single.

  • Diversity - Most patients and payers appreciate diversity. Having both female and male physicians gives your group a decided market advantage. Today’s patient likes having choices, and payers recognize the value of gender-diverse groups - a point that can be used to your advantage during negotiations.

  • Ethnic/racial shifts - About forty percent of medical school applicants are noncaucasian. The number of Asian (18.8 percent in 2004), African-American (7.8 percent), Hispanic (7.1 percent), and other noncaucasian applicants continues to increase as a percentage of all medical school applicants. The medical group of tomorrow will be increasingly a melting pot of ethnicities and races.

Planning your strategy


Broaden your recruitment efforts to be open to all candidates. Have an outside ethnic- and gender-diverse group review your recruitment materials and strategies to optimize your group’s appeal to a broad audience. Do everything you can to maximize feelings of welcome and inclusion.

Diversity in your office can make so many positive differences in patient satisfaction and marketing success. Is your office multi-lingual? Advertise it in your office brochures and Web site. In a tight recruitment market, the ‘little’ things can and do make a difference.

Recruitment is a “winner takes all” game. You either get the physician you are recruiting, or someone else does.

Lucien Roberts, III, MHA, FACMPE,is executive director of Neuropsychological Services of Virginia. He also consults with medical groups and health systems in areas such as compliance, physician compensation, negotiation, strategic planning, and billing/collections. He may be reached at lucien.roberts@yahoo.com.