Physician Recruitment: Time to Rekindle that Relationship with Marketing
Today, we need to differentiate our organization for physicians just as we need to do for consumers. That means answering the question “Why us?” As the market continues to tighten, recruiters need to partner with marketing to create that differentiating message.
It’s often been a rocky relationship – physician recruitment and marketing. Physician recruiters feel that marketing doesn’t respond quickly enough to meet their needs. And marketing may not understand the pace at which recruitment has to work. The first step to improved collaboration is a conversation.
Hold a strategy session
Get together for more than just a quick exchange. Block out time to brainstorm the organization’s unique “brand” distinction. Start from the consumer or general employee perspective, then identify which characteristics would also resonate with physicians. And consider your competitors – they may be local, regional and in some specialties even national. (Outside facilitation here might help to just get the team on the same page.)
Provide a promotional agenda
You can’t plan for what you don’t know is coming up. Recruitment needs to provide marketing with an agenda or communications schedule that outlines exactly what is needed and when. What career fairs are scheduled? Where and when do you plan to advertise? Is a direct mail campaign scheduled? Does the web site or recruitment postings need to be updated?
Develop creative briefs
When it comes to asking for support, it’s not enough for recruitment to say you need “a letter to endocrinologists,” “an email to current med students” or a “promotional flyer for physicians.” Think about the Ws (who, what, where, why, and when) and write a creative brief, short and direct, that includes the key details of what you’re promoting and the specific interests of that specialty. The better the input, the better the output.
Test the concepts
Before finalizing any recruitment marketing pieces, test your draft concepts with existing physicians – particularly those who possess the attributes you’d like to find in a recruit. A physician with fresh eyes can provide tremendous insights on what resonates (and what doesn’t).
Recruiters have always tended to do their own thing. Generally speaking, myself included, we’re often too quick to respond to what’s going on in the market and/or too anxious to get candidates at our door. It would behoove us in recruitment to take a step back, swallow our pride a bit, and ask again for marketing’s support. Marketing does need to respond more quickly to our needs – but recruitment needs to help them understand the importance of physician recruitment to the organization. For in the fight to win top physicians, branding is not only about where a patient wants to go for a hip replacement – it also determines where the best orthopedic surgeons want to go.