7 Steps To Create A Successful Physician Recruiting Plan

by Patricia O. Urquiaga | Apr 02, 2020 | HealthcareStaffing, healthcarerecruiting, medicalrecruiting, medicalstaffing, physicianjob, physicianjobs, physicianjobsearch, Physicianrecruiter, physicianrecruiters, physicianrecruiting, physicianrecruitingplan, physicianrecruitment, physicianstaffingneeds, recruiter, recruitingphysicians, RecruitingStrategies, recruitingstrategy, recruitment, strategicrecruitingplan, strategyplan
7 Steps To Create A Successful Physician Recruiting Plan

The purpose of a physician recruiting plan is to put together a strategy to hire and recruit qualified physicians who are culturally fit for your organization, are empowered to succeed and stay with your organization long-term.

Hiring the right physician(s) from the beginning:

  • Saves your organization time and money
  • Allows your organization to grow
  • Helps your organization optimize patient care
  • Helps your organization reduce or eliminate turnover costs

Steps to Developing a Strategic Physician Recruiting Plan

Developing a successful physician recruiting plan doesn’t happen in a blink of an eye – in fact, it can take months to years to build.

Don’t panic! MASC Medical is here to help guide you through this process.

Step 1: Understanding Healthcare Organizations Goals & Needs/Demands

Your recruiting strategy should be customized to include your organizations goals and needs/demands. Break this up into two sections and ask yourself questions such as:

Goals –

  • Do you have an upcoming hospital expansion/renovation?
  • Will you be integrating research and technology to further expand your offerings?
  • Do you have a merger and acquisition strategy?

Needs/Demands –

  • How can you leverage physician referrals to close the staffing gap/overcome the physician shortage?
  • Do your patients have access to the healthcare they need?
  • How can you build partnerships with community practices/clinics to grant healthcare access at lower costs to low-income patients? Elderly?
  • How can you retain patients vs. losing them to competitors?

Remember, when developing these sections, be as specific as possible.

Step 2: Conducting a Physician Needs Analysis

Hiring a third-party vendor to conduct a physician needs assessment will give your healthcare organization an idea of the number and types of physicians it needs. This is a critical portion of your strategic recruiting plan as it helps:

  • Identify physician needs
  • Justify recruitment plans
  • Maintain/stay compliant with regulatory agencies and laws

Step 3: Qualities and Personality Traits to Consider in Physicians

Recruiting physicians today is quite different than in the recent past. Thanks to evolving factors like the advancement of value-based payment and a seismic shift in the workforce, the healthcare landscape has likewise needed to evolve significantly in recent times, requiring physician recruiters and physicians to provide a broader based, more holistic model of care. As such, getting hired as a physician nowadays requires presenting a more diverse and expansive skill set beyond mere medical acumen.

As the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) notes, the current generational shift as millions of baby boomers exit the workforce is set to leave behind a massive shortage of physicians. While this creates many job openings for qualified physicians, healthcare facilities are finding it increasingly difficult to find the right candidate to fill them. And even when they are successful at filling those positions, the turnover rate is high, whether due to the constant availability of alternative positions to seek or the failure of a newly hired physician to effectively integrate into the existing workplace culture. 

Given this new environment, physician recruiters now seek specific qualities when recruiting physicians. Physicians must exude both professionalism and passion for their work, demonstrating not just medical competence but social competence and emotional intelligence as well. They seek physicians with excellent communication skills, both for ushering patients and their loved ones safely and comfortably through the treatment and recovery process and for effectively managing and working within their team of colleagues, support staff and administrators. Today’s recruiters seek physicians who can be flexible with their availability and whose spouses or families support the candidates in executing all the responsibilities and demands of the position. Physicians seeking recruitment today must also be able to present an established record of unimpeachable performance, lacking any red flags that would raise alarms about their suitability. 

In addition to these qualities, physician recruiters are also taking into consideration personality traits when recruiting physicians. This is primarily to understand how physicians with different personality traits adapt to a new working environment and how they engage and interact with patients. In the past, for example, a doctor was only required to fix what was wrong with you. Today, patients require doctors to safely usher them through their treatment and recovery, demanding that physicians display greater empathy than their predecessors. In the past, doctors operated with more autonomy, whereas, today, they are required to work more collaboratively with the whole healthcare team. This requires today’s doctors to exhibit greater humility and a more collaborative mindset. Recruiters also want to know that a candidate has the mental and emotional skills and resources to manage the high levels of stress associated with a physician’s job. Not only can this aid in job performance, but it can vastly improve retention rates. Finally, recruiters are always on the lookout for physicians with leadership potential to consider for future advancement. 

Step 4: Recruiting Physicians

When recruiting physicians, there are a few items you must keep top of mind:

  • Culture Fit – As an organization, you understand your culture. When recruiting physicians think about the qualities and personality traits that are going to best fit your work environment.
  • Community & Lifestyle – If you’re recruiting physicians outside of your market, learn about the physician’s interest (as well as their families) prior to their site visit. This information can help you guide them in their relocation process + it can help close the deal.
  • Interview Process and Team – Every interview with a physician should be customized as they all have different backgrounds and personalities. Based on this, make sure to make your physician (and their families) feel at ease – no matter if they are a local physician or physician from a different market interviewing. Make sure to coordinate their transportation, lodging, meals, hospital and community tours according to their interests. When it’s time for the interview, make sure the team facilitating the interview is prepared with questions, concerns etc.

Step 5: Obtaining Approval for Your Physician Recruiting Plan

When gathering approval of your recruiting strategy, make sure to include everyone who has a say in physician recruiting. This may include board members, healthcare administrators, chief physicians etc. Keep in mind, the process to get your plan approved can take some time depending on the size and structure of your healthcare organization.

Step 6: Measuring Recruitment Success and ROI

Measuring recruitment success and ROI is key.

If your healthcare organization doesn’t have a system to measure success, how can you know what efforts are best performing? How can you determine what hospital resource (i.e. physicians, technology etc.) gives you the most ROI?

Develop a system that allows you to track metrics such as but not limited to:

  • Time to Hire – The amount of time it takes to bring a new hire on board from the first time you promote the open position until it’s been filled.
  • Cost per Hire – The amount it costs to hire for each position.
  • Sourcing Channel – The channel where most of your candidates are coming from (referrals, online, recruiters etc.)
  • Retention Rate – The cost to source and hire new candidates along with the loss of productivity around resignation, rehiring and retraining.
  • New and Returning Patients – The number of new and returning patients each new hire has.

Step 7: Evaluating Your New Hire

As a healthcare organization, you followed all the right steps.

Prior to hiring, you focused all your energy into developing a strategic recruiting plan outlining your recruiting goals, qualities and personality traits you look for in a physician, hiring methods, retention strategies and more.

But that is merely the start of your journey.

You finally hired a new physician, and after a few weeks it’s now time to decide whether the person you recently hired is adding value. So how do you determine this?

One way is to ask yourself specific questions about your new hire. Is your new hire:

  • In agreement with your healthcare organizations mission and vision?
  • Dedicated?
    • Do they engage with staff and patients on a daily basis?
    • Do they help staff succeed?
  • An overachiever?
    • Do they strive to be the best (outperform) in their role?
  • A leader?
    • Do they take initiative in leading new or existing projects/tasks?
    • Do they have good and clear judgement when making decisions?
    • Do they prioritize projects/tasks?
  • Always looking for new ways to improve?
    • Do they create opportunities for themselves with a goal to become a valuable asset in the company?

To further evaluate your new hire, check out these 5 indicators that can help validate if you’ve made a good hire.

Want more blogs like this? Explore our free physician recruiter 101 online resource to view more information on recruiting.


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