Good Use of Time when Recruiting Physicians

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By: Allison McCarthy, MBA

With so many searches and so little time, devoting time to long-range recruitment efforts may not seem like it makes sense.  How could it when the organization is pressing you to fill immediate needs. But just a small amount of your current time might actually be worth it to get ahead for future needs.

We recently helped a client do a family medicine resident “lunch and learn” session. We called several residency programs and while several said “not now”, we still benefited by making a new connection and will try them again later. We locked in the one program that said “yes” because we 1) had an interesting program concept and 2) promised to NOT do a recruitment pitch.

Our client’s physician group is migrating from private practice to employment. So the session remarks focused on the pros and cons of each. The group’s medical director shared informally how the group members came to their decision to change the practice model.

It didn’t take long for questions to start coming from the residents – who included year one, year two and year three trainees. While some questions centered on the original topic, many were about the basics – when should I start looking for a position, how long can I take to make a decision on a practice offer, etc.   We also got to learn more about their interests by asking them who planned to stay local to practice, who needs Visa support and who plans to include OB in their practice.

No, we didn’t walk away with an immediate lead. Admittedly, we identified a couple of prospects (that we will follow up on) but the real goal was to make a connection. While direct mail, e-mails and phone calls create awareness, those tactics can’t start a relationship – one we hope to build upon – not just with the residents but with the program leadership and faculty as well (a few sat in on the session too).

And it all took only a few hours of our time – time to make arrangements, drive to the residency center and less than an hour with the residents. Yes, time invested in this way may not yield immediate results. But if a few hours of time anchors the group more deeply in the mind of these residents and pushes the practice ahead in the market,  long-term gain was worth the short-term distraction.

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