We’ve all been there: a difficult search has passed the six month mark and you’re still no closer to hiring a physician to fill your open position. Whether you had a promising candidate take competing offer or haven’t even been able to bring in a candidate for a site visit, every recruiter has faced a search that has seemed nearly impossible to fill. And with these difficult, protracted recruitment searches comes intense administrative pressure.


Every month an organization goes without a needed physician, they lose large sums of funds. Whether it’s lost potential revenue or funds spent on locums physicians, the cost to an organization that comes with not being able to hire a physician can be astronomical. Because of this, administrators often begin to place huge amounts of pressure on recruiters to fill searches before the six month mark. 


But what can a recruiter do to manage administrative pressure during particularly difficult searches? Below are five steps recruiters can take to help them deal with the scrutiny that comes with a protracted search.


1. Set Expectations Early

 There are certain searches – be it due to the specialty, location, or practice specifics – that physician recruiters know from the outset will be difficult to fill. By making it a point to explain why this position will likely take longer to fill, recruiters can help manage expectations and provide administrators with time to plan out what they will do when the search goes on longer than is ideal.



2. Identify Roadblocks

Sometimes the reason a search goes on for more than six months isn’t because of a difficult specialty, location, or practice specifics. Sometimes the reason is one or multiple roadblocks you encounter during the search. Some common roadblocks include:


  • A difficult/unavailable hiring physician
  • Disagreement between the hiring physician and administrators
  • Lack of communication
  • No clear decision maker


All of these factors can make hiring a physician exponentially more difficult and cause a recruitment search to go on past the six month mark with no end in sight. But by identifying these roadblocks and making administrators aware of them, recruiters may be able to remove the roadblocks from the equation and increase their chances of successfully filling the search.



3. Summarize Your Past Sourcing Strategy

What have you done so far to source candidates? What has worked? What hasn’t? By outlining your robust sourcing strategy and pinpointing what was successful, recruiters can stop using tools and resources that didn’t produce results and use those funds to try new tools and resources. Additionally, outlining your past sourcing strategy can help you identify holes in your sourcing strategy that you can address in your future plans.



4. Create a Sourcing Plan for the Future

Now that you know what worked – and what didn’t – and identified any holes in your sourcing strategy, you can create a new sourcing strategy going forward. Having a concrete plan of how you plan to source and recruit candidates using the information you’ve learned can help alleviate administrative pressures.


5. Have a Contingency Plan

If you’ve exhausted all of your resources and are still nowhere closer to filling your recruitment search, it may be time to come up with a contingency plan. Whether it’s utilizing telemedicine to fill the gaps or utilizing a proven physician recruitment firm, recruiters should consider all options at their disposal to successfully fill a search.




While dealing with difficult searches often places additional pressure on physician recruiters, having a concrete plan with how to deal with them and all parties involved is key to successfully filling the search. By managing expectations, identifying and removing roadblocks, having a comprehensive sourcing strategy, and utilizing all the tools at their disposal, recruiters can fill even the most difficult recruitment searches.