5 Reasons Why “Personality Traits” Matter When Recruiting

by Patricia O. Urquiaga | Apr 21, 2020 |
5 Reasons Why “Personality Traits” Matter When Recruiting

In 2018, the turnover rate among healthcare workers topped 20%, according to a Compdata Survey. A large contributor to this, argues the Harvard Business Review, is the failure of the industry to consider more than just medical acumen in the hiring of physicians and other healthcare workers. Indeed, more than ever, personality traits matter to a physician’s success and, therefore, to physician recruiters.

So why do personality traits matter so much when recruiting physicians?

1. Success with Patients

According to the HBR, a prevailing “shift toward value-based payment” is clear evidence that methods of measuring patient outcomes have necessarily made a similar change. Nowadays, success with a patient is no longer a mere matter of an allopathic curing of illness or eliminating of symptoms, but rather of facilitating the wellness of the whole patient that supports him or her in living the fullest and longest possible life. As such, matters of racial, educational and class sensitivity are more essential components of total healthcare than ever before. Physicians today must display a certain minimal level of behavioral, relational and social competence in order to provide each patient a total level of care that incorporates not just their symptoms and diagnoses but their lifestyle as well. When a physician lacks the personality traits that would empower him or her to provide this encompassing level of care, recruiters can have a hard time finding him or her placement.

2. Integration into the Workplace

More and more healthcare facilities are recognizing the paramount importance of developing and maintaining a strong workplace culture that supports workers in achieving the goals and promise of the facility. Physician recruiters, therefore, search for physicians who will integrate as seamlessly and efficiently as possible into the existing structure and dynamic of a given workplace culture. For these purposes, a physician’s personality traits may be even more critical than his or her medical competence. Recruiters, therefore, look to see if candidates can work well with other colleagues, including administrators overseeing their work and staff supporting their work. Is a physician disrespectful or rude to the nurses, physician’s assistants and other staff working under them? Is he or she dismissive or their contributions too demanding of their time and efforts? Or, contrarily, does the physician treat those working under him or her with courtesy and respect? Likewise, is a physician able to work collaboratively with administrators to make sure all are able to do their jobs effectively to collectively help make the facility run at its best? Recruiters are keen to identify collaborative personality traits in a candidate, including communicativeness and humility.

3. Managing Stress

Working in any medical facility can be a daily stressful experience for which not everyone is cut out. Recruiters need to know that the physicians they hire can handle the day-to-day stresses and demands of the job before awarding it to them. The ability to manage stress and remain calm while experiencing stressful situations is, therefore, paramount to physician recruiters. A physician cannot lose his or her composure on the job, whether with a patient, patient’s family member or colleague. Nor can a physician get flustered during a procedure when the unexpected inevitably occurs.

4. Identifying Leaders

Whatever role they’re looking to fill, recruiters are always looking for signs of leadership in the physicians they place. Not all physicians desire to work their way up the career chain, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, even within a physician’s own selective purview, a component of leadership is helpful for making the rest of that physician’s team run smoothly, confidently and effectively. Recruiters are keen to spot candidates they can help groom for positions of leadership so as to fill more elite, demanding, higher-paying and harder-to-fill positions.

5. Supporting Retention

As stated in the introduction to this article, healthcare-worker retention is not as high as it could be, and research is finding that qualities beyond a worker’s medical competence are at least a factor. By considering a candidate’s personality traits when recruiting physicians, a recruiter can help improve the rates of retention among healthcare workers, which is a boon to healthcare facilities, patients, physicians and, of course, the recruiters themselves. As a Gallup healthcare study revealed, physicians are far more effective in promoting a facility’s mission and goals when they align with it personally and fully engage with it in their daily activities. Among the characteristics such engaged physicians demonstrated above their counterparts were loyalty to the organization and a willingness to cooperate with and trust others, extend discretionary energy, proactively confront challenges and initiate discussions on possible areas of improvement.

For other qualities physician recruiters should consider, view our free online resource physician recruiter 101.


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