An Overview of the Physician Recruitment Process—and How to Supercharge Yours

Hiring physicians is hard. The talent shortage is real. Doctors have increasingly-tough standards when it comes to prospective employers. So, it’s understandable if your physician recruitment process isn’t as successful as you’d like. But if you don’t take action now, it will only get worse.

After all, the physician shortage is projected to intensify. Pandemic-related pressures already drove nearly one in five healthcare workers to quit. Demand for healthcare is rising, while patients—and their doctors—are aging. In fact, over one-third of U.S. physicians will reach retirement age in the next five years.

Supercharging your hiring best practices will not only give you an edge today, but help you compete more successfully tomorrow. Now’s the time to power-up your physician recruitment process. Let’s take it step by step.


Turn Job Posts into Love Letters      

Do your job posts basically consist of a job description, salary and some basic employee benefits? You can do better. While those are important, today’s most compelling job posts also answer this question: why should doctors choose you over other hospitals?

Chances are, you’ll never offer the highest compensation—and that’s okay. In one recent survey, physicians ranked work/life balance, work schedule and location as their top job search criteria. (Salary came in at a lowly fifth place.)

So, craft your job posts to demonstrate how you take care of your employees and bring the receipts. Lighter schedules, more PTO, an employee-centric culture? That’s how you’ll attract more candidates right out of the gate.


Spread the Word Far and Wide

No matter how you advertise open positions—via recruiters, direct mail, social media, etc.—make sure you’re reaching the largest possible applicant pool. It’s unlikely that your top candidates live around the corner, especially medical specialists.

In order to attract long-distant talent, highlight the advantages that your area has to offer, whether it’s a more leisurely pace of life or the excitement of the big city.

Either way, make sure you’re offering competitive relocation benefits. While nearly 80% of healthcare employers offer a relocation allowance, many lack supporting services. Offering a comprehensive relocation package is a great way to differentiate and show that you care. And with modern relocation technology, you can do so very affordably.


Define Your Ideal Candidate—and Your Interview Process

It pays to establish a specific, goal-driven interview process. Beyond experience and credentials, what characteristics do your most valued physicians share? Are they team players? Great communicators? Whatever the case, make sure your interviews encompass those key soft skills.

Be diligent about performing background and reference checks to safeguard against unpleasant surprises. And beyond standard DEI goals, seek out physicians who represent the patients you serve.

Finally, establish a communication timeline, complete with task owners and target response times. Don’t risk losing a great candidate because someone failed to reach out promptly.


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Choreograph Onsite Visits to Wow 

Once you’ve identified your top candidates, you undoubtedly bring them in for an onsite interview. Typically, this experience makes or breaks the candidate’s decision to accept a job offer.

So, make sure every facet of the visit is carefully scripted to delight and impress. For example, treat them to a stay at a top hotel. Introduce them to your staff and take time to show them around. Beyond the usual wining and dining, ask what their interests are, and make arrangements accordingly—whether that means a tour of local attractions or of the top school districts.

Important: once the visit is over and candidates submit their expense receipts, reimburse them right away. If your in-house accounting process can’t pull this off (as is common with many hospitals), outsource this function to set yourself apart.


Make Your Offer, and Begin Negotiations  

Take special care when presenting verbal and written job offers, personalizing them to appeal to each candidate directly—another small step that can make a big difference.

If your offer includes a relocation package, be sure to include a detailed summary of your program’s benefits and services. Include time off and other lifestyle amenities, too.

Finally, when it comes to negotiations, look for ways to say “yes.” That way you’ll be more likely to hear it echoed back to you!

The reality is, most hospitals employ a similar physician recruitment process, with similar steps. It’s how you execute those steps that demonstrate how you’re a special, caring employer—and that in turn will lead to greater recruiting success.  

Human Resources Today