An in-house physician recruiter’s job is never done. Whether it’s responding to applicants, conducting site visits, coordinating interviews, or planning travel, the vast majority of physician recruiters at healthcare organizations often find themselves overwhelmed. With so much to do and with so few resources available, many recruiters – especially those in rural areas or in organizations with a large volume of needs – commit the biggest physician recruitment mistake.
As competition for quality physician candidates becomes more intense, it is no longer enough for in-house physician recruiters to rely on candidate responses to recruitment marketing efforts in order to fill their needs. Even so, they continue to make the mistake of failing to be proactive in their search for physician candidates.
A Reactionary Approach
Whether it’s waiting for employees to give notice, patient volumes to sharply rise, or candidates to apply to job advertisements, in-house physician recruiters at many organizations have adopted a reactionary approach to the physician recruitment process. They may always be recruiting, but only for immediate needs. This approach to physician recruitment often leads to organizations needing to fill the gaps by utilizing locum tenens services or causing them to lose volume due to a lack of providers when a physician leaves. Even worse, this can create a domino effect, with the providers who stay on burning out as they work to fill in for the lost provider (increased call volume, a heavier patient load, and/or increased administrative responsibilities can all lead to this).
This can lead into a downward spiral wherein an organization is unable to keep up with attrition and leaves them scrambling to fill an ever growing list of recruitment needs.
The Need for Proactive Recruiting
Recruiters need to step away from the reactionary approach and instead embrace proactive recruiting. Organizations need to be aware that attrition will always exist, the need for providers will continue to grow, and that there is a need to be constantly engaging with prospective candidates of every specialty – even if there currently isn’t a need. But what does this look like?
- Creating robust social media presences that are focused not only on engaging patients, but also prospective candidates.
- Building out internal databases of physicians and other providers who have previously shown interest in your organization or area who you maintain regular contact with in order to keep them engaged for when you do have a need.
- Enlisting all of your current employees – especially physician leaders – in the organization’s recruitment efforts and encouraging them to reach out into their networks on a regular basis to generate interest in your organization.
- Drafting a manpower plan that looks years into the future (1 year, 2 year, and 3 year forecasts) and allows recruiters to begin engaging with candidates who may not be available now, but will be down the line.
- Reaching out to passive candidates when there is an immediate need, rather than simply waiting for individuals to apply.
Solving the Problem
Many large hospitals, health systems, and medical groups are tied to the thought process of only engaging with and recruiting candidates that fit the criteria for the needs they have in their current budget. In order to avoid making the mistake of simply reacting to acute recruitment needs, it is important to shift to the mindset that you are always recruiting, for every specialty your organization has. While not every organization has the ability to do this in-house, many can outsource this constant engagement to a third-party physician recruitment firm, allowing them to constantly engage with prospective candidates on their behalf and maintain a pool of candidates that can be pulled from when acute needs do arise.
Key Take Aways:
- Recruiters need to realize that in the current healthcare landscape, they need to constantly be recruiting providers – even for needs that may not be acute.
- Organizations need to enlist their social media teams, existing employees, and community connections in order to create a culture of constant recruitment.
- Working with a recruitment firm can assist organizations in engaging with candidates who may not be looking or a position now, but will be looking for a position in the future.