Physician Engagement: Hearing the Meaning in their Stories

Finding Truth in Stories in Physician RecruitmentBy: Allison McCarthy, MBA

Stories are a really helpful communication tool.  Not only because they can effectively capture attention when sharing information with others – we can “hear” more through stories as well.

When someone tells you a story, they’re not only telling you what happened, they’re also sharing with you what is important to them.  Successful recruiters know that the stories and scenarios they hear from physician recruits provide real insight into that candidate’s goals and motives.

When a physician prospect expresses that he is on call too frequently, he’s telling you that life balance is a key personal value.  Or that he is concerned about his quality performance if the call frequency is creating burnout.  When a physician describes how tough her colleagues are to work with, she’s telling you she needs your help in finding a practice that would be a better fit.  Or when a surgeon expresses concerns about the quality of care provided by some of his practice colleagues, he is letting you know that he needs to affiliate with a practice where he has confidence in the group’s clinical abilities.  These stories not only share what’s important to them, but the degree of importance on their recruitment decision-making as well.

In our haste to get things done, we can lose sight of the benefits of stories during recruitment conversations. The reality is that there are no accidental stories. If a prospect or candidate is taking the time to tell you something about how the practice operates, or doesn’t, that needs to be seriously considered.

So the next time you hear a story from a recruit – whether it’s about a recent event in his or her practice or an early influence on his or her career – start taking notes. Jot down all the details and then ask yourself: “What’s this physician trying to tell me?”  “How does what I just heard help me to assess “fit”?”  And finally: “How can I use that story to help me illustrate to this candidate the benefits of my practice offering?”

Stories offer a wealth of information and insight – but they require a different way of listening.  You have to hear through the story to find the true meaning.  With that comes the opportunity to make a real connection.

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