To Attract a Physician, There’s No Place Like Home

By Steve Barrett
Thursday, September 1, 2016

To no one’s surprise, a scan of physician recruitment websites reveals that determining a potential hire’s likelihood to be a good fit is a common concern. However, that question encompasses not only whether the candidate has the necessary capabilities and shares the hiring organization’s values, but also whether he or she will blend comfortably into the surrounding community and stay long term.

Will he savor rural life or find it dull? Will she embrace the cultural offerings of a major metropolitan area or pine for uncluttered views of the stars at night?

While there are no guarantees of a good match, hospitals and physician groups can boost their chances by zeroing in on physicians who have existing ties to the community.

hfm magazine, a publication of the Illinois-based Healthcare Financial Management Association, says the following groups should be on the radar of healthcare organizations even before an active search begins:

  • Physicians who are native to the area
  • Physicians who underwent training in the health system
  • Physicians who already make their home in the community
  • Former residents and fellows of the system
  • Candidates who were not chosen for an earlier position but showed potential for success in a different role

Placing the right candidate in the right position can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional recruiting costs and lost revenue, hfm notes.


Whipping Your Recruitment Practices into Shape

Finding the best physician to fill a position is challenging, but it beats the alternative. Failing to map out a sound search strategy can translate to a brief, unhappy stay for the physician and a demoralizing return trip to the drawing board for the recruitment team.

Writing on the website for The Advisory Board Company, a Washington-based consulting firm, Anita Joseph recommends four practices to help a hospital or physician practice find the right person for the job.

  • Get specific: Obviously the clinician needs the relevant training and track record, but a healthcare organization should know in advance the other characteristics it wants in a new physician as well. That includes traits such as strong relational skills and a solid work ethic.
  • Aim for critical mass: It’s impossible to know exactly how many candidates will apply. However, a review of historical pass-through rates can help gauge the number of candidates an organization’s recruitment efforts need to reach to fill a vacancy.
  • Ensure buy-in: A panel of administrators, physician stakeholders and recruiters should meet to make decisions about tendering offers and to establish consensus about contract decisions among everyone who will play a part in helping new hires navigate their positions.
  • Follow up: From signing through at least the first few months a new physician is on the job, leaders with the hospital or physician group should proactively address any issues he or she is having. Otherwise, an unsatisfied hire may leave with little warning.