Establishing and maintaining strong relationships with affiliate practices is key for many health systems’ continued growth and success. Strong relationships with these affiliate practices can do more than just improve a health system’s bottom line – it can improve a health system’s reputation in the community. One way many health systems are strengthening relationships with affiliate practices is through affiliate recruitment. When done correctly, this can further align the practice with the health system. But when done incorrectly, the assisting health system can damage their reputation and relationship with the practice.
Below are four mistakes physician recruiters should avoid when recruiting a physician to an affiliate practice.
1. Not listening to what the affiliate wants in a candidate
During the course of a physician recruitment effort, it can be easy for the organization assisting in the recruitment process to lose sight of what it is the physicians in the practice are truly looking for. Meeting their specific needs and finding a candidate that will fit in with the practice’s culture, not necessarily the health system’s culture, is key to successfully recruiting a physician to the affiliate practice and showing the physicians within the practice that the health system values and understands their needs.
2. Failing to establish expectations
For many physicians who have been practicing for several years, if not decades, the physician recruitment landscape today is very different from what they remember. The fierce competition for quality candidates, the move towards hospital employment, and the shift in physician compensation models are all aspects of the recruitment process that many physicians in affiliated private practices can have trouble coming to terms with. Many new graduates anticipate higher salaries, less call, and better work-life balance, all of which needs to be brought to the attention of the practice in order to manage the physician’s expectations.
Additionally, it is important to establish expectations as to how the recruitment process itself will be handled. Who will review candidate CVs, the time frame for following up with interested candidates, and ensuring that there are open lines of communication are are critical for a successful recruitment process.
3. Not providing enough (or the right type of) candidates
Depending on the specialty, location, a practice model you are recruiting for, finding candidates (or specific types of candidates) can be a challenge. If the candidate pipeline is running dry, or is replete with candidates that will not meet the needs of the practice’s patient population, the affiliate practice can quickly become frustrated with the lack of progress.
When this occurs, it is important for the physician recruiter to make sure that they are utilizing a comprehensive sourcing strategy, and if necessary, working with a third party firm to ensure that the practice gets the candidates it needs.
4. Conducting a disorganized search
Poorly planned site visits, incorrectly scheduled phone interviews, failure to follow up with candidates, and a lack of clear communication on the part of the health system during an affiliate recruitment effort can all give off the feeling of disorganization. For these affiliate practices, this disorganization sends up a huge red flag indicating that the health system is poorly run, mismanaged, and incapable of providing adequate services. This can severely damage the health system’s reputation in the community and irrevocably damage the relationship between the health system and the affiliate practice.
Key take aways:
- Make sure that the lines of communication between the practice and the physician recruiter are open and that expectations of the search has been outlined
- Provide the practice with candidates that meet their specifications and be a cultural fit for their practice
- Ensure that the search is conducted in an organized and efficient manner