When beginning a new physician recruitment effort, one of the earliest decisions the team will encounter is whether the prospective candidate should have a certain level of experience, or whether a recent graduate would be a better fit. While many recruiters and practice administrators assume that an experienced candidate is always the better choice, several factors will influence not only what type of candidate a practice really needs, but also which type they would be able to attract.
Making the right choice involves taking into account several factors specific to each opportunity, but there are four major aspects to consider when deciding the weight of each factor. Below are the four aspects each recruiter must take into account when deciding the required experience level of prospective candidates in a physician recruitment effort:
1. Assess the Needs of the Position
Each opportunity and practice is unique and will have its own set of needs and challenges. When choosing the experience level of prospective physician candidates, it’s important to take stock not of what you want for the position, but what you need. Does this opportunity involve a leadership or administrative component? Does it need someone who can ramp up quickly? Will the candidate need to build up their own patient base or will they be inheriting the patient base of a departing physician? Based on these questions, a recruiter can accurately decide what amount of experience a candidate will need in order to succeed in the position.
2. Prioritize Needs
Once you’ve assessed the needs of the position, it is important to rank them in order of priority. This will help in weeding out candidates based on what a candidate would need to succeed in a position (a solid candidate should meet at least 60% or your requirements). Additionally, while your practice may have a laundry list of needs, very few candidates will be able to meet them all. By prioritizing your needs, you can make sure that a candidate meets your biggest must-haves.
3. Take Existing Physicians Into Account
Many graduating physicians want and/or need mentoring from an experienced physician in their first opportunity out of training. Does the practice you are recruiting for already have experienced physicians? And if it does, do these experienced physicians want to mentor a new physician? A lack of experienced physicians willing to mentor a new physician can rule out the possibility of hiring a recent graduate.
Conversely, if the practice has other experienced physicians – especially ones nearing retirement – hiring a recent graduate may be ideal. The existing physicians can use their remaining time to mentor the new physician and ensure that the practice will continue once the experienced physician moves on.
4. Consider the Time of Year
When deciding whether to hire an experienced or graduating candidate, it is important to take the recruitment effort’s timeline into account. The physician recruitment cycle works in such a way that physicians at different points in their career will be considering opportunities at different points of the year. During the fall and spring, most graduating physicians will be out in full force looking for their first opportunity after they complete their training. Practicing physicians, however, will be looking at different times of the year, based on their contracts and personal obligations. Because of this, it is important for recruiters to take the time of year and the urgency of the need into account when deciding on the experience level of the ideal candidate.
Deciding the level of experience of your ideal candidate is one of the most important decisions a recruiter can make. Hiring an inexperienced candidate when they will likely not thrive, or trying to hire a practicing physician at the wrong time of year, could spell disaster for your physician recruitment effort. By taking these four aspects into account when deciding on required experience and beginning your search, you are better able to define what you are looking for and take active steps towards finding it.