Avoid these Mistakes & Reach Your Physician Recruitment Goals


In 2013, 33% of all open positions went  unfilled at hospitals and health systems throughout the country. As physician and allied health openings continue to stay open for longer, many practices and organizations are feeling the pressure of increased competition for an ever shallower pool of candidates. With competition for top talent in the Healthcare industry at record highs, recruiters cannot afford to make any mistakes during the physician recruitment process. But time and time again, we see recruiters making the mistakes that sabotage a recruitment process. 


To make sure your organization doesn’t lose out on the right candidate, make sure to avoid these 10 mistakes:


1.  Relying on the Post & Pray Method

With the vast array of general and niche job boards out their for a Physician Recruiter to utilize, it may seem tempting to just post your latest opportunity and wait for the applications to roll in. But while this method may in fact result in some applicants, this passive sourcing strategy is incredibly inefficient. What’s more, in a world where 86% of Physicians are passive candidates, a recruitment strategy that only utilizes this method is missing out on over 3/4 of all candidates. It is crucial that recruiters not make the next mistake.



2.  Not Using a Multi-Pronged Approach


Much like the “Post & Pray” method, recruiters who only use one method to source potential candidates are often not successful. Whether the method is Direct Mail, Job Fairs, or Journal Advertisements, using only one method to source candidates will always mean that you are limiting your recruitment strategy to a small pool.  With competition for qualified physicians high, it is important to use multiple channels in order to pull from the largest pool of candidates. Additionally, only using the same method to source high quality  candidates time and again can lead to recruiters looking for the right candidates in the wrong places, depending on what it is they’re looking for. 



3.  Rinse and Repeat Recruiting


Recruiting for an experienced physician in a traditionally difficult specialty is a completely different ball game that recruiting a recent graduate in an easier to fill specialty. It’s for this reason that using the same tried and true recruitment strategy for every physician recruitment effort does not yield the results that an organization would like. Every search is unique – and it should be treated as such. Prior to charging full steam ahead with a search, a recruiter should create a detailed recruitment strategy tailored to the specific specialty, experience level, and location of any given position. This will keep employers from spending money on sourcing strategies that will obviously not work, and free up some of the budget to do what will really generate candidates.



4.  Not Knowing Where You Were Successful


Do you know where you get the most qualified candidates from? Recruiters should keep track of  where they were successful for similar searches in the past. Whether or not a candidate decided to join your organization, knowing where they all heard about your opportunity can help recruiters make choices regarding what methods to use should that same (or very similar) position become available once more.



5. No Established Referral Program


If done right, your biggest source for highly qualified candidates in the future can be your current physicians. If happy in their current work environment, they are your best form of advertisement. With the necessity for physicians to attend conferences and workshops for their professional development, your current physicians are constantly networking with others in their field – and your next hire may be among them. It is crucial for employers to develop robust referral programs for physicians, rewarding them for referring another physician who gets hired and stays on for at least 90 days. 



6.  Uninspiring Job Descriptions


If you are a candidate fielding multiple emails, direct mail pieces, and job advertisements on a daily basis, it becomes difficult to tell one from the other. Many recruiters are guilty of writing job descriptions replete with candidate requirements and little else. With so many options, top candidates really want a job advertisement to show them why they should join your organization. What makes your opportunity unique? Why is your community the right fit for their family? What is your practice offering that they can’t get in their current position? Writing job descriptions that focus solely on what the practice or organization wants will inspire very few candidates to learn more about your opportunities.



7.  Slow Response Time

The average physicians is contacted regarding over 3 new opportunities every week, and with over 80% of hospitals and health systems currently hiring at any given time, the competition is stiff. It is therefore crucial to make sure to respond to any inquiries within 48 hours. This is even more important for candidates who are currently interviewing, as top candidates are likely interviewing with multiple employers. The key is to get feedback and next steps back to the candidate as quickly as possible, and assess if they are the right fit for your team.



8.  Difficult Application Process


Does your organization’s website have a section for careers? Is it easy to find, navigate, and apply for a position? Make sure that your site (and any job advertisement you place) has multiple ways for candidates to get you their CV that are easy to find. Including a direct line, a non-generic email address, and QR codes or shortened URLs to where candidates can submit a CV or request more information. It should never be difficult for a candidate to express interest in an opportunity, because if it is difficult, they likely won’t.



9. Not Being Able to Spot the Decision Maker

In any recruitment effort, it is crucial to be sure who the true decision maker is, and who the influencers are. While the influencers may not have final say on who gets hired, they often get input on the personality traits, qualifications, and/or background of the ideal candidate. It is important to be aware of the influencer’s preferences, but never lose sight of the fact that the decision maker is the individual who ultimately decides which candidates will get hired. Losing sight of who really has final say can often increase the amount of time it takes to source and hire the right candidate.



10.  Not Knowing Which Physicians Stay – and Why

Physicians who stay on with an organization long term and are happy at their current place of employment are a valuable resource for recruiters. What is it about this organization/community/opportunity that made them chose it in the first place? Why have they stayed on? Knowing why these physicians stay gives you powerful insight into how to advertise your opportunity and to whom. What’s more, it helps inform you as to which candidates would make the best hires – and if they will be likely to stay long term.



Overall, the most important thing a physician recruiter can do to ensure that they hire the right candidate, is to go through the recruitment process with the candidate in mind. Making sure that your opportunities are appealing, easily found, and engaging to candidates will exponentially increase the likelihood that your practice will find and hire not just any candidate, but the right candidate for your team.