Most in-house physician recruiters will work with a third-party recruitment agency at some point during their careers. With recruiters often stretched thin, many find using a recruitment firm to help ease the burden, especially with difficult to fill recruitment searches. Despite this fact, many in-house recruiters have a negative view of outside firms, often because they didn’t choose the right firm.
But with so many physician recruitment firms vying for your organization’s business, it can be difficult to sort out which firm will be able to meet your recruitment needs. To help decide which firm is the right fit for your organization, ask yourself these seven questions:
1. Large Recruitment Firm or Small?
While there are about five major, nation-wide recruitment firms, there are hundreds of smaller firms throughout the country who also help hospitals and health systems recruit physicians. While most organizations turn to the larger firms when they decide to use an outside firm, others prefer to work with smaller, boutique firms instead. While the larger firms tend to have more resources, smaller clients can often become neglected or placed on the back burner. In smaller firms, the resources available tend to not be as robust, but clients tend to receive more individual attention. When choosing which size firm to use, decide what is the most important quality in a recruitment firm for you.
2. Contingency or Retained?
The vast majority of physician recruitment firms work on a contingency basis, wherein they only receive placement fees when they successfully place a physician. Retained firms, on the other hand, require an initial retainer to begin working on a recruitment search. Many organizations prefer to work with contingency firms for this reason, but often find that the candidates they receive were not thoroughly screened and may not provide the level of service necessary to smoothly fill a search.
With retained firms, all candidates are thoroughly screened, and the retainer guarantees that the firm will work on your recruitment assignment consistently, thoroughly screen and present candidates, and assist in any way possible throughout the entire process.
3. Local or Nation-Wide?
How important is it for your firm to be intimately familiar with your community? Some organizations prefer working with local recruitment firms over nation-wide firms due to their familiarity with the community and strong connection with candidates already there.
Others prefer using nation-wide firms, who have greater resources and a database or candidates throughout the country who would relocate for the right opportunity. Especially when recruiting for small sub-specialties or on difficult searches, nation-wide firms can present an advantage.
4. Will You Need Additional Services?
While some firms essentially function as sourcers for the recruiting organization, others provide a wide range of services to hospitals and health systems to assist with the recruitment and retention of physicians.
Some services include:
- Comprehensive marketing plans, including direct mail
- Assistance with interviews, travel arrangements, and contract negotiations
- Physician retention and market analysis
5. What Times Should The Firm Be Available?
In recruitment, it’s almost a requirement that a recruiter be able to speak with a candidate whenever they are available. Especially with physicians, who often work long or irregular hours, flexibility is key. However, not all firms will take calls and follow up with candidates after hours. This is especially important if you are unable to contact candidates after hours yourself. Make sure to confirm with the firm that their recruiters are available to candidates even after regular business hours.
6. What is the Firm’s Track Record?
No one wants to waste their time and energy working with a firm that doesn’t generate results. Some statistics you should require firms to provide before deciding to work with them are:
- The firm’s success rate
- The present to place ratio
- Average days to fill
7. Does the Firm Guarantee Their Placements?
Not all firms guarantee their placements, and even with those that do the placement guarantee time frames vary greatly. When working with a firm, make sure that they guarantee their placements for at least one year, ensuring that you will not have to pay for an additional recruitment effort so soon after hiring a new physician.
Key Take Aways:
- Figure out what type/size firm will best fit your recruitment needs
- Make sure the firm you decide to work with offers any additional services you may need during the recruitment process
- Find out how effective the firm is when it comes to placing physicians in a timely manner – and how effective they are at recruiting physicians that will stay