So you are recruiting physicians and other health care providers for a very popular location. Congratulations – you are in the enviable position of having a large pool of candidates who would prefer to practice where your opportunities are located. But this large natural market has a downside: sometimes, candidates will come out for a site visit and allow you to woo them when they have no intention of joining your hospital or group practice. 

 

While this is a very real possibility, and many recruiters have been blind sided by candidates who have the employer foot the bill of a site visit to a prime destination, there are some warning signs that could indicate that this is the case.

 

Here are the top five warning signs that your candidate is more interested in learning more about your city than you as an employer.

 

 

1. They Are Only Available for a  Candidate Site Visit During Peak Travel Times 

Is your candidate only available to come for a site visit over the winter holidays? Does their availability coincide eerily with spring break? You may be experiencing a candidate looking for a free plane ticket or hotel accommodations. Try offering some alternative dates at times that are less high traffic. Chances are, if their dates coincide with holidays, everyone they would need to meet with during their candidate site visit may not be available. 

 

Exception: Some candidates who are from your area may suggest holiday times because they will already be passing through to be with family and friends. Far from a warning sign, this can be a sign that the candidate is highly motivated to be where you are located for all the right reasons.

 

 

2. The Spouse Didn’t Seem Enthusiastic During the Informal Spouse Interview

Diligent recruiters – especially those recruiting for highly desirable areas – will generally conduct an informal interview of a candidate’s significant other. Whether it is to find out what their employment needs would be, preferences in schools for future or existing children, or even hobbies they would like to pursue, spouse interviews can provide significant insight into how likely the candidate is to relocate to your community. Additionally, a spouse’s lack of enthusiasm during the interview can speak volumes about whether or not a site visit would be nothing more than a free trip.

 

 

3. Their Area Ties are Weak

Did your candidate complete their undergraduate or graduate medical education in your area? Do they have  family, friends, a significant other that are or will be there? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, a candidate may just be looking for a free trip. The majority of physicians in the United States choose to practice in the states where they completed their training. For the rest, family ties tend to play a large role. While these candidate’s may say they’re interested in getting to know your organization, many could just be interested in getting to know your highly regarded local golf course.

 

 

4. They are Difficult to Get A Hold of During the Interview Process

Whether they always miss scheduled phone/skype interviews, disappear for days or weeks at a time, or are unreliable in getting back to you, candidates like this are clearly not that interested in joining your team. While thy may be interested in a free couple of days in Miami, they might not want to live there year round, especially during hurricane season.

 

 

5. They Aren’t Considering Opportunities with Your Competition

A high quality candidate that is serious about relocating to your area is likely interviewing with your competition. Since they already know that your community is where they want to be, they want to have many options in the area. A candidate who is not all that enamored with living in your locale year round may instead opt to have one organization foot the bill of a mini-vacation. While having to compete for your talent with your biggest market share competitor is not your idea of a great situation, if this candidate chooses you as the right fit, they are likely to stay with your organization for a long time. 

 

 

While being aware if these warning signs is important, the most important warning sign that a recruiter has during the physician recruitment process is his or her intuition. A solid, seasoned recruiter often has the insight and experience needed to spot a candidate who isn’t truly interested, and is the best way to spot a candidate looking for that free ride.