In the early days of physician recruitment and executive search firms, a recruiter’s value was based on his Rolodex. Recruiters would spend years building relationships with high-quality candidates, improving their personal network, and being keenly aware of what each of their contacts strengths, weaknesses, and professional desires were.
Fast forward to the present day and the image of a recruiter with a phone and a Rolodex has changed. Instead, recruiters comb through databases and job boards to find candidates that meet their exacting requirements.
With this change, the focus for many recruiters has shifted from building strong networks and relationships to an emphasis on candidate generation. But is this the right way to approach recruiting high-level candidates like physicians? And does generating candidates need to be at odds with building strong relationships with high-performing candidates?
Candidate Generation & Relationship Building Shouldn’t Be at Odds
When a hospital or group finds they need to hire a new physician, the pressure that ensues often has physician recruiters focusing solely on generating the right candidates for that specific opportunity. Oftentimes this leads to recruiters failing to follow-up with candidates that don’t fit their ideal profile (not even to let them know they aren’t under consideration) and not reaching out to their extended network of providers for referrals.
Instead, physician recruiters can access their existing candidate relationships to generate additional candidates through referrals or by tapping these candidates themselves, while also generating candidates through more common means like job boards and social media. It is also crucial for recruiters to be able to spot candidates who may not be a fit for the opportunity they are currently recruiting for but may be a fit for a future position and begin to nurture those relationships.
Relationship Building is Key for Long Term Success
By failing to follow up with rejected candidates and access their existing networks, many recruiters are failing to see the long-term needs and goals of their practices. Knowing that there will likely be additional needs in the future, recruiters should nurture relationships with candidates and existing providers to build a robust network of potential candidates for future roles. This is especially important for physician candidates that seem to be on a clear path for leadership roles in the future as these high performers are notoriously difficult to come by and highly valued.
Additionally, the healthcare community is surprisingly small. Physicians who have had negative experiences when dealing with particular organizations during a job search are likely to share their experience with their colleagues, possibly leading to a poor reputation among the physician community that will deter candidates from considering joining that organization. Instead, by building these relationships and providing each candidate with an excellent candidate experience, the organization’s reputation as an employer in the community will move in a positive direction.
It’s easy for recruiters to lose sight of the importance of building relationships with candidates when the pressure to generate physician candidates for their open positions is bearing down on them. But while the need to generate candidates for open positions is clear, the need to build relationships with physicians and others in the healthcare field is often not acted upon. By building these relationships in tandem with generating candidates, physician recruiters can fulfill their current needs while keeping an eye towards their future physician recruitment needs.