Direct Mail Isn’t Dead: 4 Direct Mail Myths in Physician Recruitment

In physician recruitment, it is well documented that less than a quarter of possible candidates are actively or aggresively seeking new employment, leaving over 75% of candidates who aren’t actively scanning job boards or journal ads for new opportunities. With that knowledge, the question of how to reach these candidates has persisted. For years, the answers have ranged from referrals to direct mail, but the aggresive use of of both as part of a recruitment marketing strategy has significantly declined over the years.
But why are physician recruiters now reluctant to utilize direct mail to reach those elusive passive candidates? Here are four myths that contribute to why many physician recruiters declare that direct mail is dead.

1. Direct Mail Doesn’t Generate Responses

Recruiters who perpetuate this myth often say this without addressing what went into creating and mailing their mail piece. In order for recruitment mailings to be successful and generate responses, the job copy, graphics, and (most importantly) the list parameters need to be carefully and thoughtfully selected. Who is the target candidate? What level of experience is required? What are the selling points of the opportunity and community? Did you include multiple and clear ways for a candidate to learn more about the position? All of these aspects need to be taken into account when crafting a mail piece.

2. You Can’t Track the Effectiveness of Direct Mail

So you’ve spent time crafting a multi-channel recruitment marketing strategy (like the savvy recruiter you are!) but how do you track the effectiveness of mail campaign if it is deployed around the same time that you have job board postings, journal advertisements, and other marketing initiatives are going on for the same position? While it’s more difficult to track the effectiveness of mailings, it is not impossible! Here are some ways to track the success of your mailing:

  • Include a short URL or QR code on your mail piece that leads to a dedicated landing page where they can submit their interest
  • Use a special phone number (such as a google voice number) and/or email address specifically for responses from the mail campaign
  • Ask them! If they received a mail piece, they will gladly let you know if you ask

3. Email/Job Boards/Journal Ads are More Effective

While these methods are an important part of a complete sourcing strategy, they do not necessarily take the place of mail campaigns. Like we previously stated, mailings allow recruiters to reach passive candidates who generally wouldn’t respond to job board postings or journal advertisement. In regards to it’s effectiveness in relation to email, many physicians receive five or more recruitment emails every day. By sending a mail piece, recruiters can more effectively cut through the noise and get the details of their opportunity in front of candidates.

4. It’s Expensive

In order to keep a recruitment budget under control, it is important for physician recruiters to be able to prioritize recruitment marketing efforts and make strategic decisions based on cost and effectiveness. But sending out a mailing can actually be more cost effective and generate more candidates than a quarter page ad placed in one of the more expensive medical journals. The key is to make sure to create specific list parameters and use inexpensive self mailers (also known as postcards) when price is a concern.


Mailings are a key part of any effective recruitment strategy that allow recruiters to reach those elusive passive candidates. When done well, they can be highly effective and relatively inexpensive way to generate qualified candidates for your openings.

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