4 Reasons Candidates Become Unresponsive in Physician Recruitment

Every physician recruiter has encountered this problem: a previously engaged candidate suddenly goes silent and becomes unreachable. Recruiters are often left wondering what went wrong and why the candidate seemed to lose interest. But when a candidate becomes unresponsive, it is often due to one of four reasons. Some of these reasons are out of a recruiter’s control, but most can be traced back to missteps made by the hiring organization.


Below are the four main reasons candidates become unresponsive during the physician recruitment process and how recruiters may be able to overcome them.

1. Timing

It’s impossible for a physician recruiter to anticipate what can come up in a candidate’s personal or professional life, making timing the most difficult point on this list to control for. In the single-minded pursuit of the candidate, many recruiters forget that things can come up in the candidate’s lives that requires them to put their search on hold. Whether it’s issues with family members, divorce, or simply a change with their employer, these changes can come up at any time with any candidate, often causing them to push their job search to the side.

Additionally, you’re timing in reaching out to and engaging the candidate in their job search can also effect whether or not they become responsive. If they’re already in the final stages of the search and juggling multiple offers, you may find yourself trying to schedule additional interviews with no response from the candidate.

2. Asking for Too Much Too Soon

Requesting references and productivity numbers is part of every diligent physician recruiter’s recruitment process. Before an offer can be made, recruiters need to know what a candidate’s performance has been in the past and many candidates are happy to provide this information. But asking for references and compensation/productivity information before the candidate comes for a site visit is often too soon. In general, you should waituntil you’ve decided to extend the candidate an offer before asking for this information.

3. Too Many Hoops

In this candidate-driven market, physicians have plenty of options to choose from. The physician candidate that you’re currently pursuing is also probably interviewing with your competitors as well as with organizations outside of your community. This often means that candidates have little patience for prospective employers who expect them to jump through multiple hoops before getting an offer. Whether it’s expecting them to come in for excessive site visits, only holding phone interviews  at a specific time of the day, or requesting references from specific colleagues and supervisors, some organizations can create a poor candidate experience by expecting candidates to jump through too many hoops before they even consider making an offer. This can cause many candidates to become unengaged and cease responding altogether.

4. Your Competition Swooped In

When you take to long to move from the initial contact to the offer stage with a candidate, you increase the likelihood that a candidate will approach your competition about opportunities or vice-versa. While the interview process has dragged on, your competition will have come in and aggressively pursued your candidate, often making them an offer before you’ve invited them in for a site visit. In the world of physician recruitment, moving quickly on a quality candidate can make the difference between them joining your team – or your competition’s.

Physician recruiters can’t always control all the factors that can cause candidates to become unresponsive, but there are many reasons that lie directly in their court. Making sure to move swiftly, ask for documentation at the right time, and creating an excellent candidate experience throughout the process will increase your chances of keeping a candidate engaged and ultimately adding them to your team of physicians.

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