6 Fatal Physician Recruitment Flaws that Are Sabotaging Your Efforts

Running an effective physician recruitment program isn’t easy. For many organizations, there are sometimes dozens of individuals involved in the sourcing, interviewing, and hiring of candidates and plenty can get lost in the shuffle. And for smaller recruitment teams, filling a growing number of needs has become harder than ever as they try to source enough candidates and juggle the logistics involved in the process. All of this, while avoiding the biggest problems recruiters run into during the physician recruitment process.

While not every problem can be avoided, there are six fatal flaws that are almost guaranteed to cause problems in a recruitment effort. See the six below, and how you can avoid them.

1. Not Considering the Candidate Experience

How easy is it for a candidate to find and apply for one of your opportunities? Can they do it from their smart phone? Do they need to upload a CV and manually enter their entire work history? What about after they apply? Keeping candidates happy is one of the most important aspects of a successful physician recruitment effort.

Making applying for a position difficult (no mobile friendly site/app through which they can search and apply for jobs, for example), refusing to be flexible in terms of phone interviews and site visits, and failing to follow up in a timely manner all frustrate physician candidates and make them less likely to accept your offer – all while making them more likely to air their grievances to their colleagues. You might not just lose out on a candidate, you could potential damage your employer brand in the process.

Instead, make sure to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes during every step of the process. Taking this candidate-centric standpoint can improve how the candidate views your organization, and eventually your job offer.

2. Lack of Urgency

Qualified physicians are in huge demand and chances are good that if a candidate is interviewing with you, they’re probably interviewing with your competition as well. Because of this, it is crucial that you move the process along as quickly as possible in order to take that candidate off the market before your competition does.

This is especially true with graduating physicians who seem to be searching, interviewing, and deciding earlier every year. Most of these candidates start looking over a year before they’re set to complete their training and have begun signing contracts in the fall and winter months, effectively getting scooped up before the year is out. Unless you want to lose out on these candidates, it’s essential for you to start early and move quickly, with an eye to the following year’s needs.

3. Poor Communication

There is nothing more frustrating than the issues caused by poor communication during the physician recruitment process. Whether it’s the lead physician/practice manager failing to communicate the details of the position to the recruiter, not getting back to candidates in a timely manner, or failing to arrange interviews with all of the decision-makers, poor communication can cause delays in hiring a physician and ruin the candidate experience.

To keep everyone on the same page, have lead physicians and/or practice managers complete a new search questionnaire in it’s entirety, get a list of all the decision-makers together, and utilize an applicant tracking system to make it easier to follow up with candidates and schedule interviews.

4. Focusing Only on Active Candidates

Less than a third of all prospective candidates are actively seeking a new position, while more than two thirds are open to opportunities but not actively looking. Many organizations will focus solely on the active candidates by only using job boards and print ads to source candidates. By doing this, they are missing out on all of the passive candidates that can be reached through direct mail, email, and the use of a comprehensive internal database.

Make sure to target the large swath of passive candidates through email and direct mail, or partner with a full-service recruitment firm to reach the candidates that aren’t searching through job boards and classifieds.

5. Poor Organization

Nothing turns off a candidate quicker than witnessing how poorly organized a group’s recruitment efforts are. This is something that often becomes the most obvious to candidates during site visits, where things such as missing decision-makers and poorly laid out itineraries act as cracks that allow a candidate a peek into how disorganized the practice truly is. This often leaves them feeling uneasy as they wonder “if they’re this disorganized when they’re trying to woo me, how disorganized will they be if I actually join them?”

6. Failing to Solicit Feedback

No physician recruitment process is perfect, but you’ll never know what needs improvement if you don’t ask. But while many organizations recognize there are flaws in their recruitment process, few actually attempt to solicit feedback from candidates. In order to patch up the holes in your recruitment process, your organization will have to reach out to candidates – both those you hired and those that withdrew interest – to find out what you’re doing well and what could use improvement. Additionally, this feedback can provide you with valuable insight into what about a certain position is unappealing to candidates (call schedule, hours, difficult existing physicians, etc) that can help you make the changes that will allow you to hire a candidate.

To do this, some organizations use anonymous surveys as many candidates won’t want to say negative things about an organization where they might want to work one day. Other organizations use outside organizations or recruitment firms that make candidates more willing to voice any concerns they had.

Key Take Aways:

  • The candidate should be at the center of your entire recruitment process, from the moment they find you online to when you either hire them or watch them go to the competition. Make sure to make things easy for them every step of the way and solicit feedback to see where you can improve going forward.
  • Communication and organization are key to any successful recruitment effort. Make sure to keep the lines of communication open between you, the decision makers, and the candidates. This will make it easier to provide feedback, schedule interviews, and provide the candidate with the kind of experience they’ve come to expect.
  • Dig deep and start early – find ways to reach out to both passive and active candidates, and don’t neglect graduating residents for too long. Utilize all of your resources and start recruiting for openings as early as possible so that you’ll have the deepest pool to draw from when sourcing.
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