As physician recruiters, we truly love what we do. Speaking to candidates, finding the physician that is the perfect fit, and creating lasting relationships with the individuals we speak to all contribute to a recruiter’s love for their job. But sometimes, certain problems have made particular physician recruitment assignments difficult or unpleasant to work on. Whether it is difficulty communicating, lack of information, or a refusal to bend with the needs of a search, every recruiter has come across at least one recruitment assignment that was completely derailed by unnecessary issues.


Below are five times when difficult circumstances with a physician recruitment assignment nearly sabotaged the recruitment effort – and how to salvaged it.


1. Having All of Your Eggs in One Basket

“Just focus on finding someone who wants the location. It’s a great location!” While location is a key motivator for many physician candidates, it is not the only thing they take into consideration when looking for a new opportunity. Add that to the fact that you’re likely not the only practice in town, and potential candidates are going to want to know more than just where you’re located (in this instance, location can be swapped for anything from compensation to hospital affiliation). In failing to provide any substantial information about the opportunity, the practice can lose out on many candidates who wish to know more about practice specifics before moving forward.


How to salvage it: While finding a candidate that would thrive in your community is crucial for recruiting and retaining the right physicians, it is important that recruiters also emphasize the other appealing aspects of the opportunity.By explaining this to the decision makers and relaying the concerns many potential candidates had about moving forward with the process the practice was able to realize the need to provide potential physician candidates with a complete picture of the opportunity.



2. Unrealistic Expectations

There are many factors that affect the desirability of an opportunity. Compensation, location, support staff, call schedule – all influence how appealing a particular opportunity will be to certain candidates. Sometimes, however, there is a disconnect between the reality of the situation and what the decision maker would like in an ideal candidate. Oftentimes, this is the result of a decision maker who is unaware of the current physician recruitment atmosphere, and how much it has changed since they themselves where recruited. This tends to lead them to create an unrealistic wish list for their ideal candidate in relationship to the desirability of the opportunity and can spell disaster for the recruitment effort.


How to salvage it: Providing decision makers with adequate information on the current market for physicians in their specialty (including demand, number of practicing physicians in the specialty, and current compensation models and averages) can help decision makers come to terms with the reality of the situation. Once they do, they can either make changes to the opportunity to make it more appealing, or adjust their expectations accordingly.



3. Poor Brand Reputation 


In the healthcare industry, impressions and information about employers spread quickly. Candidates who have had a poor experience or disgruntled former employees can severely damage an organization’s reputation among others in their field. And the worst part about a damaged reputation is how long it can take to repair. Once the poor reputation is known in the field, many candidates will refuse to even consider the possibility of joining your team.


How to salvage it: In this kind of situation, enlisting the help of current employees is key. By having current, happy employees speak with their colleagues and inform them of what a wonderful place your organization is to work (and maybe refer a few of their physician colleagues to the recruitment department), the organization’s reputation can begin to be mended. Once this process has begun, it is then up to the physician recruiter to ensure a fantastic candidate experience for all applicants.



4. A Communication Breakdown


Whether it is an interviewer that fails to give timely feedback, a decision maker who fails to provide the recruiter with a complete picture of the situation, or a physician recruiter who fails to provide others with the necessary information on candidates, a lack of communication between the parties involved can throw a wrench in the recruitment process and cause you to lose out on stellar candidates.


How to salvage it: By creating clear expectations and outlining the entire process, failures in communication can be largely avoided. Outlining hen to follow up, with whom, and scheduling regular status updates an help keep the lines of communication open and prevent any candidates from falling through the cracks.



5. No Physical Site to Visit

When building a brand new practice site, it is crucial for recruiters to have candidates ready to begin on opening day. While the idea of joining a new practice and helping to build it fro the ground up is very appealing for many candidates, it can still be difficult to visualize. This is particularly apparent during candidate site visits, when many candidates would ideally visit their future practice location and meet their potential colleagues. But when the practice site is still under construction, any candidates are left without any clear idea of where they would be practicing were they to join.


How to salvage it: Providing candidates with the blue prints for the proposed practice, or even taking them on a hard hat tour of the site, can help candidates gain a better understanding of where they would be practicing and give them a sense of ownership over the practice. By showing them that they would be physically helping to build a practice, you can generate even more enthusiasm for the opportunity.


Key Take Aways:

  • Communication is key to a successful recruitment process
  • Being aware of the market and having realistic expectations can keep a search from getting stalled
  • Current employees are you best tool in rehabilitating a damaged reputation
  • New builds are an opportunity to instill a sense of ownership in prospective candidates – so utilize it!