5 New Habits to Improve Physician Recruitment Results

5 New HabitsBy: Allison McCarthy, MBA

They say it takes 21 days to change a habit.  However, recently I read a blog that suggested it now takes, on average, 66 days to make a change stick.  Either way, it takes focus to either break a bad habit or start a positive one.  If you start today, you can easily integrate some new routines that will help you achieve better results. Here are five things physician recruiters routinely do to improve their success,  grow professionally and work more efficiently.


1)      Detox Email

I’m old enough to remember the recruiting days before email.  There’s no question that email has made it easier to source and manage leads, but at the same time I think we have lost the advantages that “good-old conversations” provided.  How often do we give up on leads simply because they haven’t yet responded to our emails?  What about picking up the telephone?  Databases and search engines encourage us to do email blasts.  Have you considered calling campaigns instead?  Yes, email is more time effective, but if it’s not producing the results then it’s time to try something else.  By actually talking to leads you might learn that the lack of response is due to a flaw in your position offering. So start a new habit: Incorporate one hour a week of telephone approaches.  Then build that hour into two, three or four days a week, maybe even get to one hour a day.  Who knows what improvements might be gained in your sourcing success as a result?

2)      Ask Better Questions

We’re recruiters because we’re good conversationalists. Still, any one of us could easily fall back into the habit of telling versus asking.  When we’re doing all the talking, what are we learning about our candidates’ needs?  By making the effort to learn what’s really important to recruits, we can better identify those pieces of our offering that will capture their interest.  Write down the questions you typically ask candidates.  Then look at how you could improve your questions.  Test out your new list, then refine again.  We all have a stockpile of questions, “old reliable asks” that are so routine they’re almost programmed in us. But, if we stop and think, we can “ask” better.

3)      Slow Down the Start-Up

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, recognized for his work on the psychology of judgment, demonstrated that humans easily make almost mindless decisions and then take quick action.  Fast response is important when driving a car, but when launching a new search a hasty reaction can be detrimental.  Rather than jumping into action, it pays to stop, think and plan a more thoughtful approach.  By occasionally hitting pause, you can more effectively outline your target prospects characteristics: Where are they currently located?  What would be the best way to reach them?   Do you have the resources (team, dollars, etc.) available internally?  How could your medical staff network help?

4)      Track Results

How many site visits does it take you to land a candidate?  How many leads do you interview to move them to a site visit?  And do these stats change by specialty or position type?  If you can’t readily answer these questions, it’s time to start tracking your sourcing activity.  While senior leadership often measures success by the number of new providers joining the organization, it’s important to track all activity to show the many accomplishments that lead to that final outcome. A simple spreadsheet is all you need to track those interim results.

5)      Connect with Others

I often say, “It takes an organization to recruit a physician.” It’s a twist on Hillary Clinton’s quote, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but it works because recruiting today requires a broad internal involvement. How well are you connected with those internal stakeholders you need to be successful? Do you have trouble connecting with, for example, the detail people, the data geeks, in finance?  Or do you struggle to connect with a certain type of physician whose attention span is really short? Give it some thought. Compare your style of connecting to others. If there’s a disconnect, find ways to engage the people you need in your village.

Does changing a habit take 21 days?  Or is it now 66 days? However long it takes, the best way to make it is to start today.

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