[Infographic Guide] Win More Physicians: 6 Tips for a Best-in-Class Interview Experience

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Physician recruitment can be a lengthy and costly process. A vacancy not only impacts your facility’s ability to care for patients, it also can have a detrimental effect on your bottom line. It is common to invest up to $250K in the candidate you ultimately hire, including marketing, interview expenses, sign-on bonus, and relocation stipend. One strategy for reducing your time-to-fill is to develop a best-in-class single, interview process. Learn six tips to create an interview experience that is effective at winning over more physicians.

Win More Physicians: 6 Tips for a Best-in-Class Interview Process

  1. Commit to a single, comprehensive on-site interview that is customized for the candidate.
  2. Designate key players in the interview process.
  3. Generate feelings of collegiality, excitement, and a sense of being welcome.
  4. Clearly communicate the shared values and mission of your organization.
  5. Tailor the community tour to the candidate and their family.
  6. Deliver an offer within one week of the interview – if not the same day or the following.

Visit our thought leadership page for more helpful presentations, case studies, and infographics.

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[White Paper] 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

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President of Jackson Physician Search, Tony Stajduhar, reviews the results of our recent Physician Interview Experience survey and provides a best-in-class recruitment and interview process that administrators and physician recruiters can follow to recruit more physicians after the first on-site interview.

Mastering the On-site Interview: Results from the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

Mastering the on-site interview is the enduring challenge in physician recruitment. The first interview is a make or break moment for both the candidate and the hiring organization. More than 200 physicians responded to the 2020 Physician Interview Experience survey. Keep reading for insight on how to improve your interview process and win more candidates.

 

Introduction

The enduring challenge in the physician recruitment and hiring process is to master the on-site interview. The first interview will continue to be the make or break moment in the hiring process for both the candidate and the hiring organization.

To help provide clarity on how today’s physicians feel about the interview process and the elements comprising an exceptional interview experience, Jackson Physician Search received completed survey responses from more than 200 physicians. The survey group represented a mixture of practicing physicians and 2020 and 2021 residents who had interviewed for a position in the previous 18 months. Physicians were asked to answer questions in regards to their interview experience corresponding with their current position.

The survey confirmed many elements of the interview process that have become standard industry practice. But the physicians’ responses also open a window into how they feel about interviewing and the important aspects of the interview that helped them decide whether or not they want to immediately accept a position.

Their insights provide valuable guidance in how to deliver the best-in-class interview experience that results in the physician deciding to accept your position – ideally – on their way home from the first interview with you.

What you may find surprising is that their feelings of excitement and alignment with your organization – and a well-planned community tour – are the factors that tip the scales toward that best-in-class result.

This survey demonstrates the vital role your interview team plays in establishing cultural fit and an overall outstanding interview experience to influence a candidate’s decision. The results will help you fine-tune your interview process and ensure you are landing the candidates who are best suited for your organization.

Executive Summary

Most organizations understand the high costs of conducting multiple interviews with a single candidate. Interviewing expenses and loss of revenue during a prolonged vacancy can add up to over one million dollars per physician. But it appears that few deliver the best-in-class interview experience that will improve their chances that the candidate will decide to accept the offer on the way home from the first interview.

According to our survey:

  • Only 27% of candidates decided to accept the position on the way home after just one on-site interview.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, another 23% never left an interview feeling confident, even though they ultimately may have accepted the job.
  • For the remaining 50%, it took a bit of time after the first interview to accept. Some even required scheduling a second or third interview to win them over to the point where they decided to accept.

Moving that large, undecided group toward accepting your offer after the first interview requires investing in a rigorous recruitment process and effective interview techniques.

The salient aspects of the interview experience for candidates who decided to accept on the way home from the first interview reflects the fulfillment of their needs at many levels: informational, alignment of values and emotional well-being.

Of those who decided to accept on the way home:

  • 89% said all their questions were answered at the interview
  • 61% received a written offer within the week
  • 80% felt excited
  • 82% felt welcomed
  • 2% or fewer felt confused, anxious, or stressed
  • These physicians also ranked their alignment with the organization’s mission and values at 9.2, with 10 being perfectly aligned

By contrast, a good number of those who were undecided after the first interview reported feeling excited (63%) and welcomed (76%). But, a concerning percentage left the interview with negative emotions:

  • 39% felt anxious
  • 23% felt stressed
  • 23% felt confused

Physicians need enough information, as well as positive feelings, to support their decision to accept on the way home from their first interview with you. Even if the candidates reporting negative emotions took the job, it’s easy to imagine that these feelings could linger and create challenges in the future.

Power of the First Impression

The survey results reinforced the power of the first impression. The majority (69%) of all respondents had accepted their most recent job after just one interview. Additional survey data indicates that the second or third interviews are not nearly as impactful as the first interview.

Multiple interviews do not necessarily increase the chances that the candidate will feel confident enough to decide to accept the position. But, multiple interviews do drive up your cost per hire, prolonging your time-to-fill and negatively impacting your interview-to-hire ratio.

As the survey showed, it is far more likely that the candidate will decide on the way home from the first interview (76%) than on the second, “third or more” interviews (12% for each). You will have better outcomes when you invest in a process that creates the first-time WOW experience for the right candidate.

Download the full survey results to get more insight and recommendations to improve your interview and hiring process almost immediately.

 

To speak further about your interview process or for help with your physician and advanced practice provider recruitment needs, contact Jackson Physician Search.

About Jackson Physician Search

Jackson Physician Search is an established industry leader in physician recruitment and pioneered the recruitment methodologies standard in the industry today. The firm specializes in the permanent recruitment of physicians, physician leaders and advanced practice providers for hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers and medical groups across the United States. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., the company is recognized for its track record of results built on client trust and transparency of processes and fees. Jackson Physician Search is part of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies.

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[Recruitment Guide] How to Deliver an Exceptional On-site Physician Interview

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Physicians continue to express interest in new job opportunities despite the continuing pandemic. With an annual turnover rate of 6-7%, two out of five physicians reaching retirement age, and a physician shortage now projected at 139,000 by 2033 per the AAMC, strategic physician recruitment must carry on.

Wired for adaptability, hospital and medical group administrators and physician recruiters have found creative ways to continue recruiting knowing 2021 staffing plan goals must be achieved. But for those physicians who are interested in a particular role and deemed a strong clinical and cultural fit, the on-site interview may bring a wave of anxiety not previously experienced.

The “new normal” means air travel is more stressful, mandatory quarantines in some circumstances make it difficult for a physician from one state to interview in another within a reasonable time frame, and the opportunity for a community tour may be limited. Additionally, gone are the days when you can expect a physician to return for a second interview. Now, you have to nail the physician interview experience the first time and give the candidate that “wow” experience.

To help, we’ve assembled a step-by-step recruitment guide on how to deliver an exceptional on-site interview experience. Download it to put your organization in the best position to reduce your time-to-fill, increase your interview-to-hire ratio, and maximize your recruitment ROI.

 

Why is it so Important to Nail the First Interview?

It comes down to the power of the first impression. It may seem counterintuitive, but follow-up interviews do not necessarily increase the likelihood that a physician will accept your offer. Plus, multiple interviews drive up your cost per hire, as well as impact your ability to meet patient care demands and revenue goals.

No two physician are alike, and neither are their needs when considering a new position, especially when it includes a relocation. A highly customized experience is essential. Every on-site interview should include two parts:

  1. Interviews with all key stakeholders.
  2. A personalized community tour.

After you’ve done everything in your power to identify a physician who will fit in your culture and is interested in the opportunity, you’ll want to create a welcoming interview experience that reflects your organization’s unique strengths.

Start by planning the interview for greatest impact. Structure a comprehensive, well-organized interview that leaves no questions unanswered, and have your A-players demonstrate alignment with organizational mission and values.

Healthcare administrators and recruiters who coordinate a well-planned, efficiently delivered, on-site interview experience will be more successful in influencing a candidate’s decision to accept the job offer. You’ll also position your organization to:

  • Rise above the competition.
  • Earn the trust of the physician and spouse.
  • Become their number one choice.

Also, most organizations understand the high costs of conducting multiple interviews with a candidate. But since only 27% of candidates we surveyed as part of our 2020 Physician Interview Experience White Paper decided to accept the position on the way home from the first interview, it appears that few deliver an interview experience that will improve speedy offer acceptance.

Candidates who decided to accept on the way home reported:

  • 89% had all questions answered.
  • 61% received a written offer within a week.
  • 80% felt excited and 82% felt welcomed.
  • Ranked alignment with the organization’s mission and values at a 9.2/10.

Download the Recruitment Guide to learn more about the two parts of an exceptional on-site interview experience and to review a helpful interview checklist.

To speak further about your interview process or for help with your physician and advanced practice provider recruitment needs, contact Jackson Physician Search.

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The Physician Interview: Looking Beyond the On-Campus Meetings

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When considering a new position, physicians should evaluate the opportunity though two lenses: career and lifestyle. A good fit with both is essential for professional achievement, staving off feelings of physician burnout, and creating a happy life for yourself and your family.

In the first part of our Physician Interview series, we provided you with the tips and tools to help you have a successful on-site interview. However, meeting with the leadership team and your potential colleagues on the healthcare campus is only part of the equation. To ensure that you are contemplating a job opportunity that will set you up for professional success and personal happiness, also examine everything that lies outside of the facility.

Depending on your family situation, there are different considerations for you in deciding if the opportunity being presented is the right one. Ideally, as you prepared your “game plan” ahead of this process, you also took the time to layout the essentials for your life outside of the workplace. Let’s dive in.

Family Matters

Before arriving for your on-site interview and community tour, hopefully, you have conducted a little research. While in most cases, you can’t accomplish everything online, you can develop a pretty strong understanding of the things that will impact your family the most. Additionally, include your spouse or significant other in the community tour.

Housing Market

Clearly, finding a place to live is an important aspect of any potential move for a new job opportunity. Physicians who are preparing for an upcoming interview and community tour should research the housing/rental markets in and around the community where you would be residing. Spending time on a site such as NerdWallet.com can provide you with an understanding of how your future cost-of-living might compare to your current city. Another online resource, Realtor.com, contains detailed breakdowns of how much it costs for groceries, utilities, and other financial impacts of living in a new community.

Another factor that must be examined when scouting out a real estate market is a breakdown of the most recent and relevant crime statistics. Visiting www.city-data.com provides you with a snapshot of your potential new locality, including crime statistics, income and education levels, primary occupations, and even household sizes.

School Systems

For young families, one of the most important things to look for is the educational support system within a community. Fortunately, there are many online resources to help you gain an understanding of how school systems are performing in districts across the country. The Department of Education has a myriad of data to help parents find critical metrics on K-12 and secondary education performance. Other sites such as greatschools.org and schooldigger.com can help you dig a little deeper into the makeup and effectiveness of more than 120,000 K-12 schools across the United States.

Fun and Games

The last bit of digging before going on your physician community tour is seeing what the area can offer you and your family in terms of recreation, culture, and other activities outside of school and work. Using your favorite search engine is the easiest way to learn what a community has to offer. Use simple searches, such as:

  • [City name] event listings
  • [City name] parks and recreation
  • [City name] golf courses

Now that we have covered a few things about preparing for your community tour, let’s shift our attention to your actual time on the ground.  If you have done some homework, you already have an idea of what to expect once you are off-campus and experiencing your potential new surroundings.

Employer-sponsored Activity

Even in a competitive job market, a physician has enough job options available to allow for some discernment when weighing offers. As documented, more physicians are choosing to work in environments that are a better cultural and personal fit than working for an employer with which they do not feel aligned.

One way to measure that fit is by looking at the interview experience in total. For example, proactive employers are putting forth an effort to ensure that a physician community tour is an experience, rather than a formality. Aside from the actual interviews and meetings with potential staff and colleagues, consider whether they have an agenda that reflects your personal interests and needs.

While no one wants every minute of the off-campus visit to be pre-planned, activities relating to your individual and family situation should be evident. If you are out on a community tour that has not been tailored for you and your family, it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, but it is worthy of additional reflection. We learned from our recent Physician Interview Experience Survey that 82% felt the community tour had a positive influence on their decision to accept the job, so you’re in good company to expect an experience worthy of your time.

Spend Time in the Community

The competitive physician job market may add a slight element of urgency for you to decide should you be offered a position. Knowing this, making the most of your time on the visit becomes even more critical to an informed decision. And since nearly 69% of physicians only go on one on-site interview, you’ll want to be sure you’ve gathered enough information to make a wise choice.

If a realtor is accompanying you to a variety of housing developments, be sure to take enough time to explore outside the home also. Don’t hesitate to chat with a neighbor who is out watering the lawn. Or stop by the local soccer field to see the community “in action.” Even strike up a conversation with someone at the local coffee shop or the person next to you at the gas station. You might be surprised how easy it is to measure the friendliness of your neighbors. Remember, the inside of a house makes it comfortable, but it is the community that makes it a home.

Never underestimate the value of a well-coordinated interview and community tour when it comes to your ultimate satisfaction with a new position. Involving your loved ones in the process is a vital component of making a smooth transition should you accept a job offer. Smart administrators know this and will ensure that your off-campus activities are given the same importance as your on-campus meetings. While you are meeting with administration and future colleagues, having someone take your loved one on a guided tour is often the key to closing the deal.

Establish a Strong Relationship with a Recruiter

Another way physicians can improve their due diligence is to have an established relationship with a trusted recruitment professional. A seasoned physician recruiter will have relationships with key administrators and provide you with valuable insight into the organization, the staff, and the local community. The recruiter has also toured the community and can help you fill in any holes that will aid in deciding to accept or reject a job offer.

Your recruiter can also help you identify vacancies with a healthcare organization that shares your values and meshes with your personality and skillset. Having an open and honest relationship with a trusted recruitment professional should never be underestimated in your search for the perfect practice opportunity.

Jackson Physician Search employs a team of experienced healthcare industry professionals with an established network of relationships across the country. Our recruitment professionals can help physicians identify the organizations and the vacancies that fit your individual needs and career goals. Contact our team today, and learn how we can make a difference in your physician job search.

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The Power of the First Impression: Delivering a Winning Physician Interview

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The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping healthcare in nearly every conceivable way, and that includes how physicians are being recruited. But the enduring challenge in the recruitment and hiring process remains: mastering the interview – whether on-site or virtually – to deliver the first-time WOW experience for the right candidate.

Why is it so important to nail the first interview? It comes down to the power of the first impression. It may seem counterintuitive, but follow-up interviews do not necessarily increase the candidate’s feelings of confidence about the job and the likelihood that an offer will be accepted. Plus, multiple interviews drive up your cost per hire, prolong your time-to-fill and negatively affect your interview-to-hire ratio, ultimately impacting your ability to meet patient demand and revenue goals for your practice.

To uncover the specific elements of the interview process that are most important to the physicians you want to recruit, Jackson Physician Search recently commissioned the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey.

We learned that the salient aspects of the interview experience for candidates who decided to accept a position after the first interview reflect the fulfillment of their needs on three levels: emotional well-being, informational and alignment of values. Specifically, we found that the majority of candidates who decided to accept their jobs felt:

  • Welcomed and excited about the organization and community
  • Assured they had all information in hand and all their questions answered
  • Aligned closely with the organization’s mission and values

Download the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

Create a Welcoming Interview Experience

A community tour tailored to appeal to candidates and family members is critical to helping them imagine living in your community and reducing any anxiety that comes with being the “new people in town.” Learn as much as possible about their background, family situation, interests and lifestyle to create an experience that makes them feel welcomed and excited.

Even if travel is not possible during the pandemic, an organized “virtual” agenda for spouses or significant others is an essential aspect of the interview experience. Take the time to understand what they may be looking for in a career and offer to arrange networking opportunities.

Just before the interview, send a gift basket of items that represent their interests and what your community has to offer.  Share a highlight video about your organization, local culture and popular attractions. Your realtor can arrange virtual home tours and provide a curated list of desirable neighborhoods and schools, favorite restaurants and relevant community activities.

All of these gestures demonstrate that the whole family is important to your organization. With the help of technology and creative ingenuity, you can spark excitement about your practice opportunity and a sense of being welcomed to the community.

Plan the Interview for Greatest Impact

Physicians are attracted to organizations that have well-planned, efficiently delivered recruiting and hiring processes. Responses to the survey make it clear that you can differentiate your organization and positively influence candidates’ decisions when you structure a comprehensive, well-organized interview that leaves no questions unanswered.

This is your best opportunity to demonstrate what it will be like to work there. Interview participants who appear distracted, or who show up late or not at all, represent a red flag to candidates. Instead, include stakeholders with high emotional intelligence who can pick up on – and help resolve – any feelings of anxiety, frustration or doubt. Gather feedback from candidates by inviting them to complete a post-interview survey.

Most physicians like to have a structure that allows them to keep moving forward; they are easily frustrated by the appearance of wasted time and energy. If the interview is virtual, be sure the technology is buttoned-up and have a back-up plan ready.

Keep the process moving by quickly producing an offer of employment, so it can be accepted before the candidate receives competing offers. It works: the survey reported that 61% of the candidates who accepted right away had received a written offer within seven days of the interview.

Tap Your A-Players to Demonstrate Alignment

As physicians have more choices in practice opportunities, they are more often inclined to seek out organizations that are culturally aligned with their values. This is borne out overwhelmingly in the survey responses from candidates who accepted immediately after their first interview.  These physicians ranked the alignment of organization’s mission and values with their own as 9.2, with 10 being perfectly aligned.

To achieve this level of alignment, put your “A-Players” on your interview team. Include senior leaders who can sell the vision and demonstrate by their presence that they place a high priority on physician recruitment and retention. Also include peers who embody the organization’s mission and values by offering examples of how these are reflected in their practice and daily work. This will help candidates recognize their own level of alignment. In fact, everyone on the interview team must be at the top of their game to clearly make them feel welcome as partners and assure their support in the family’s transition.

In summary, candidates want to feel welcomed, excited, well-informed and closely aligned with your organization’s values. The first interview is the make or break moment to engender these feelings with a best-in-class experience that results in the physician accepting your position right after the first interview.

To speak further about your interview process or for help with your physician and advanced practice provider recruitment needs, contact Jackson Physician Search.

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Nail the Physician Interview to Land the Job – Preparation is Key to Success

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The on-site physician interview is a pivotal moment for physicians seeking a new job opportunity, and it signifies that you’re one step closer to receiving a job offer. If it’s a coveted role – one that you’ve worked your entire career for – you would be wise to prepare as though you’re going to have to edge out some serious competition. Let’s review the steps you can take to make a great first impression and to put yourself in the best position to land the job.

Have a Game Plan and Conduct a Background Check

To use a sports analogy, prior to each game or match, the team prepares and studies its game plan. Interviewing for a job opportunity is similar in that while a potential employer is evaluating your candidacy, you should also be doing the same of them. This ensures mutual fit, and it assures the hiring organization that you’re serious about the opportunity.

Start by researching the facility online and reaching out to colleagues who may have worked for the hospital or medical group to see what you can learn about the leadership team, management style and workplace culture.

You can glean quite a bit of information about the leadership’s management style and your potential colleagues by reviewing what they post on LinkedIn, whether they’re well-published in industry publications or journals, or if they are frequently invited to speak at association events.

Jackson Physician Search learned last year in a physician survey that there are three attributes in an organization’s culture that physicians most value. They include: a patient-focused environment, autonomy within their roles, and true teamwork. Your research should give you some insight on how well the organization aligns with this.

Additionally, it is important to research the community and its unique amenities but do keep an open mind to opportunities that are outside your desired location. Sometimes boots on the ground can change your perspective.

Prepare Your Own Questions

Conducting your “background check” should bring up some questions you’ll want to ask during the interview. Here are a few examples:

About the Organization

  • How often is the medical staff asked about or surveyed on staff satisfaction?
  • How would you describe the culture of the organization?
  • What is the board’s plan for navigating this era of change and uncertainty?
  • How are physician and administration disagreements handled?

About the Job Opportunity

  • What skills and abilities are needed to succeed in this position?
  • Can you explain how patient scheduling is typically handled?
  • How often are formal and informal reviews given to new employees?
  • What supports are in place for physician career planning?

About Compensation and Benefits

  • Can you walk me through your compensation structure?
  • Do you incorporate productivity formulas? If so, can you explain?
  • Are there any plans to change the compensation structure in the near future?
  • How would my practice be marketed, and what role would I play in that?

By coming prepared with a list of thoughtful questions, you’re setting yourself up to be able to quickly make an informed decision to accept or turn down a potential job offer – ideally after the first interview.

Making the Best Impression

Up until now, all of your efforts have been on preparing your game plan and doing the pre-work necessary to make the most of this in-person opportunity. Now, it all comes down to execution.

First impressions are essential. You are a competent, skilled physician, and that should be the persona you portray as you walk into the interview process. Dress the part, come prepared with copies of your CV, and bring a notepad to write down your thoughts.

Culture and fit are increasingly important for most physicians, and not surprisingly, it has become a vital component of hiring decisions. During the interview, be genuine. There are many traits that make a successful physician, but typically, administrators will break them down into eight qualities.

  • Communication – Arguably, one of the most important qualities in a physician is the ability to clearly communicate. During the interview, it is critical to listen and to respond concisely.
  • Empathy – How predisposed you are to understanding and relating to your patients is a key quality that administrators look for in candidates. Being able to express how you accomplish that through your patient interactions is an essential aspect of the interview process.
  • Passion for the Work – The fire and drive you had when choosing to become a doctor is imperative to maintain over the course of your career. In the interview, be prepared to describe what drove you to enter the field of medicine and how that passion can set you apart from others.
  • Honest/Forthright – Being fast and loose with the facts is not the way to make a great impression in an interview, just as it would be a disaster in your patient relationships. Demonstrating that you are upfront with your patients and provide them with the information to help them make decisions about their treatment plans is vital.
  • Professionalism – Your actions and demeanor in an interview is an indicator of how you will be with your patients. Having appropriate body language, maintaining eye contact, and appearing engaged are all winning traits in both interviews and patient settings.
  • Being Respectful – When you walk into an interview, it is important to check your ego at the door. Being genuine and approachable are traits that come across during an interview. Job candidates who talk down to others or try too hard to demonstrate superiority are going to put off the interview team.
  • Knowledgeable – Everyone wants a doctor who is skilled and has mastery in the chosen specialty. Instead of relying on what you have learned and earned, talk about what you have done. Have examples of situations or cases when you relied on your skills and abilities to overcome or solve a perplexing condition. Another piece of advice is to be prepared to talk about a situation where you didn’t have the answer and the steps you took to reach a positive outcome.
  • Attention to Detail – Carpenters measure twice and cut once. Physicians don’t have that luxury when it comes to making a proper diagnosis. In your interview, demonstrate your process for managing the thoroughness required to reach a proper diagnosis. Obviously, a major part of that is your ability to listen to the patient, but also to ask the right questions. Your level of engagement and interaction throughout the interview process can be a good indicator of your attention to detail about the job, the organization, and where you see yourself fitting into the environment.

A Final Note About Compensation

Compensation is always going to play a major role in your decision to accept or reject a job offer, but it usually isn’t the number one factor in deciding if it’s the right fit. Resist the urge to spend too much time in your interview on this topic, as it can be effectively addressed during negotiations. Also, it could inadvertently give the interview team the impression that you value compensation more than long-term fit.

When it does come up, be prepared to discuss what best meets your present needs. If you’re early in your career, student loan forgiveness may be most desirable, while mid-careerists may be more interested in a partnership track.

When it’s all said and done, the goal of the on-site interview is information gathering and putting yourself in the best position to receive a job offer for you and your family to consider. Taking the time to thoroughly prepare for the interview increases your odds of achieving both.

If you are planning on entering the physician job market, it may be the right time to discuss your options with an experienced physician recruitment professional. Contact our team today and learn how we can make a difference in your career search. We also invite you to try our physician salary calculator. You can see compensation information based on the specialty, state, and rural versus urban location.

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The Physician Recruitment Process Under Transformation: Will Video Interviews Become the Norm Post-COVID-19?

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A slow return to a new normal means some of the millions of displaced Americans will begin returning to work, and financially hard-hit medical groups will schedule previously postponed elective procedures. Additionally, hospitals and other healthcare organizations can start hiring more physicians to handle the inevitable rush of patients and to meet 2020 staffing planning goals.

Of course, there’s great concern among the medical community, political officials, and citizens that successfully reopening the country come in tandem with improved diagnostic testing to keep the virus at bay. As history has taught us, a pandemic seemingly under control can return for a second wave with a vengeance. We are right to be cautious, which means some degree of social distancing will remain part of our daily lives for months to come.

Surprisingly, as a physician recruitment firm, we have found that the current shelter-in-place orders, travel restrictions, and banned onsite interviews haven’t halted physician recruitment. We’ve seen an increase in candidate activity, likely because physicians remain future-focused, and summer is an ideal time to make a major move to a new part of the country.

Knowing that 50,000 physicians are expected to relocate before the end of 2020, the majority of healthcare administrators have also kept an eye on the future even while battling the pandemic. We learned from a live poll taken during last week’s MGMA20 | The Operations Conference Online that only 14% of medical groups aren’t currently interviewing due to COVID-19. For those that are, they’ve adapted the interviewing process to continue filling key vacancies and to keep candidate pipelines full.

With the light beginning to appear at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, it’s becoming clear that the initial, in-person physician interview seen as a staple in the recruitment process may not always be necessary.

Video Interviews are Here to Stay – Potentially Reducing Recruitment Costs and Time-to-Fill

Another discovery during last week’s MGMA conference poll is nearly 63% of medical groups are currently interviewing candidates via video and phone, and some have no intention of stopping, as was uncovered during the subsequent Q&A. In the executive search realm where competition for candidates is sometimes less intense, the initial slate of candidates is usually interviewed via video. Only the final contenders are invited onsite for face-to-face interviews, as well as facility and community tours.

Now that tech-savvy healthcare organizations and recruitment firms who were already set up to deliver a digital, yet personalized, candidate recruitment experience have learned that the initial interview can be effectively done via video, it may be difficult to justify going back. Yes, for those physician searches that are ultra-competitive or where the need is immediate, the initial onsite interview may be the best approach. But for others, time and expense can be saved early in the recruitment process. Here are a few tips to provide an outstanding candidate experience:

  • Choose a Professional Location Where You Won’t be Interrupted. Make sure your office is well-lit, avoid having visible clutter, and eliminate the risk of interruption. You want to provide a professional atmosphere just as you would if the candidate was onsite with you in a boardroom.
  • Test Your Setup. Even if you are familiar with video conferencing technology, always do a test run with a colleague. This is to make sure your internet connection is stable, your webcam produces a clear picture, and your audio is working well.
  • Close Unnecessary Tabs and Turn Off Your Cellphone. Before the video call, shut down programs on your computer that aren’t needed and turn off your cell phone. The candidate is your number one priority.
  • Have the Candidate’s CV and Prepare Your Questions. In a typical interview environment, you would have questions ready. Physicians want to know that you are prepared and respect their time just as you want the same.
  • Focus on Connecting with the Candidate. Demonstrate engagement by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and smiling as you normally would. Remember, culture fit plays a huge role in a candidate’s decision to accept a job offer. So, be yourself and connect with the candidate authentically.
  • Follow-up. Provide timely follow-up and next steps, so that candidate interest remains high during any delays.

Create a Virtual Community Site Visit that Increases Enthusiasm

During the MGMA20 | The Operations Conference Online, a medical group administrator asked if the virtual site visit will also be the norm post-COVID-19. Permanent physician recruitment is unique in that it almost always requires relocation. Even the most adventurous prefer to visit the new location before uprooting family. But this doesn’t mean the virtual site visit can’t play a role even when travel resumes.

As recruiters, we’re accustomed to physicians occasionally rejecting a location before visiting. It’s our job to help them consider the total picture, which often includes a professional opportunity that could be a great stepping-stone towards their goals or a culture that is better aligned with their values. When this happens, we use a variety of tools that the travel and tourism industry has been using for decades to create a virtual visit. It’s effective in combatting pre-conceived notions about a region, state, or city.

As we anticipate seeing the initial interview done more often via video, consider adding a virtual site visit as part of your organization’s candidate experience. Here are some tips:

  • Schedule a Video Chat with Fellow Physicians. Typically, the site visit is an opportunity for physicians to get a first-hand look at the facility and to meet potential colleagues. If there’s a mismatch in personalities or culture, it can result in a lost candidate. This is an efficient way to introduce candidates to potential colleagues sooner in the process. Ideally, you would also connect the physician with someone who recently relocated and can relate to what the candidate is facing.
  • Show Off the Best Side of Your Community and Facility. Physicians are concerned with the well-being of their families when considering relocation. While you will still invite a candidate onsite for a final interview, don’t delay building excitement about the community and your facility. If your organization hasn’t already delved into video, hire a film crew to interview key stakeholders and get drone footage of your facility. Then, look to travel and tourism websites to find video footage of the community. Whether you upgrade the careers section of your website or have a standard email you share with candidates, these can go a long way.
  • Introduce Physician Candidates Early to Professional Resources. Candidates facing a relocation will seek out a real estate agent to assess the housing market. Save them time by vetting these professionals. Also, you could include school district information, religious institutions, personal banking advisors, sporting and cultural events, and anything else unique to your community.

For many of us, life feels upside down. We are optimistic that the world is starting to come through to the other side thanks to the tireless and heroic efforts of healthcare providers and other front-line service workers. While many lessons learned will be focused on improving the procurement of testing supplies and personal protective equipment, as well as accurate anti-body testing and vaccine development, there will undoubtedly be other valuable lessons available in all walks of professional and personal life.

More than 50,000 physicians will relocate in 2020 – Here’s how your organization can get ahead of the curve and hire faster post-COVID-19.

Once you identify there is mutual interest between your organization and a candidate:

  • Set up a phone call or video conference between the candidate and key stakeholders to conduct an initial interview.
  • If interest remains high, stay in touch weekly with the candidate, arrange additional discussions with potential colleagues, and send links to community information.
  • If appropriate, share potential agreements with the candidate.
  • Tentatively schedule the final onsite interview and explain the post-interview process.

Jackson Physician Search is currently the fastest-growing physician recruitment firm in the nation. A decade ago, we pioneered an all-digital recruitment methodology that helps hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, and medical groups to recruit physicians, physician leaders, and advanced practice providers.

We are recognized for our track record built on trust and transparency of processes and fees. Lean on the Jackson Physician Search team for guidance on how to jumpstart your hiring.

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How the Traditional Physician On-Site Interview is Changing During Covid-19

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We’ve reached a point where the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is affecting us all. While this is uncharted territory for many, our healthcare system has successfully responded to pandemics and outbreaks in the past – always coming out stronger and wiser on the other side. We understand that this is an unprecedented time for physicians, nurses, and other care providers, and we are grateful for your dedication to protecting and restoring health in our communities.
 
As a physician recruitment firm, our mission is to facilitate the perfect match between a physician and a healthcare organization. We serve as an advisor to both throughout the recruitment process, ensuring a positive candidate experience. Currently, many of the healthcare organizations that we work with are making temporary changes to their on-site interview process for the safety and well-being of everyone. But even with these temporary changes, our clients are actively recruiting to fill physician vacancies.
 
So, as you keep your job search on track, we’re here to prepare you for three possible interview scenarios.
 

1. Continuing with on-site interviews but implementing additional screening

 
Understandably, some healthcare organizations have growing concerns about on-site interview visits. Pre-screening candidates is an effective strategy to mitigate exposure to COVID-19 on their campuses. Below is a sampling of screening questions you may be asked prior to scheduling an interview:
 
  • Are you currently under self-quarantine for COVID-19, because you have been diagnosed or have had direct exposure to an infected individual?
  • Have you traveled internationally in the last 28 days to China, Italy, South Korea, or any other countries with wide community spread?
  • Are you experiencing any flu-like or respiratory symptoms common to COVID-19, such as fever, sore throat, runny nose, and cough?
 
Furthermore, healthcare organizations that are continuing with on-site interviews may medically screen candidates for fever and other symptoms upon arrival.
 

2. Moving the interview off-campus

 
Some healthcare organizations are eliminating the risk of exposure to patients, providers, and other employees by moving interviews to an off-campus location. Any location that offers a distraction-free and private area to focus everyone’s attention on the interview will work – hotel or airport conference rooms are two viable options.
 
While this means you likely won’t have an opportunity to meet quite as many staff members, take a campus tour, or get an overall “feel” for the environment, many healthcare organizations have professional pictures and recruitment videos that will suffice. Plus, you can still visit the community to better assess your family’s interest in relocating. If you need help with that, check out our blog about preparing for an on-site interview.
 

3. Using video conferencing to conduct a “virtual” interview

 
With some areas experiencing more rapid community spread than others, such as New York City, or in states under a stay-home order, travel is not advised. If the organization must temporarily suspend face-to-face interviews, many are inviting candidates to participate in a video interview using Skype, Zoom, or another video conferencing tool. First impressions are still key to recruitment success, so be sure to make eye contact and eliminate potential distractions. Prepare for it as you would an in-person interview. It might help you to make notes about what you want to talk about. Our guide on defining your physician brand can help you refine your talking points and zero in on what you want the conversation to focus on.
 
Our expert physician recruiters should be viewed as a resource and are happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have. Part of their responsibility is to aid communication between you and the hiring healthcare organization. Keep in mind that finding the perfect opportunity can take some time, so we will continue to share job opportunities with you via email. You can sign up for job alerts to receive those emails or visit our job board to see all our open searches.

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Why an Experienced Recruiter is Invaluable

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A 15-bed, critical access hospital, in remote, rural Colorado contracted Jackson Physician Search to recruit a Family Practitioner who has additional training in Obstetrics (FPOB).  The story behind this search illustrates the advantages of partnering with seasoned physician recruiters.  The combination of years of experience, a good relationship with the hospital, and above all else, the generous hospitality of the community were all factors in successfully finding a physician that is a great fit.

The first challenge of any primary care recruitment undertaking is the limited supply.  Add to this hurdle the very rural and remote nature of this town, coupled with having no local hotel to even accommodate candidates during an onsite interview, and the implications of this challenge were compounded.

Following a search kick-off phone call, we were quickly able to find and contact an FPOB candidate, Dr. M.  One of the keys to a successful placement is to keep the recruitment process moving as quickly as possible. With the demand for physicians so high, physicians, whether actively seeking a new position or not, regularly receive job solicitations.

The next challenge occurred right after the introductory phone call between Dr. M and the hospital’s CEO.  The CEO resigned leaving the process at a standstill.  With his contact at the hospital no longer available, we did some investigating and reached out to the Hospital’s Board President to carry on the recruitment process with Dr. M.

Next steps included an onsite interview.  Dr. M has a family with three young children and had no one with whom she could leave her children to allow her and her husband to make the trip to Colorado alone.  With the closest hotel to the facility 40 minutes away, the Board President graciously offered to have Dr. M, her husband, and their three children stay with him and his wife. Their home was well equipped for littles having grandchildren of their own, and they even prepared home-cooked meals for the weekend.  As if playing host was not enough, they also watched the children throughout the weekend while Dr. and Mr. M explored the community.

As luck would have it, Dr. M’s interview was to take place on the same day the interim-CEO candidate was visiting the hospital. Even the greatest amount of strategery and best laid out plans are sometimes spoiled. Dr. M interviewed under the impression she would be joining a staff that included two other FPOBs; however, one of the FPOBs called out “sick” that day and ended up resigning shortly after Dr. M’s interview.

After the onsite interview, we spent a great deal of time working with the Board Chair, the interim CEO, Dr. M, and both party’s legal representation to keep the recruitment process moving forward. Given the position went from joining two to only one other provider, Dr. M was very concerned about the workload, call requirements and other issues created by being short-staffed. Miraculously, through trust, open communication, and professionalism by all parties, mutual interest continued.  Before making an official offer to Dr. M, the hospital needed to first onboard the interim CEO.

Working together as a team, the greatest contributing factor to this search’s success, the recruiter, the Board Chair, and interim CEO were able to alleviate Dr. M’s concerns.  4 months after the interview date Dr. M signed her employment agreement!

This successful placement story is a strong reminder of how an experienced recruiter can be such a valuable resource throughout the recruitment process. One of the difference makers in this scenario was our recruiter’s wherewithal to seek out and involve the Board Chair after the CEO’s resignation.  It was then the generosity and hospitality of the Board Chair, his wife, and the community that sealed the deal. Dr. M even commented afterwards that she had interviewed with large systems in the past, and to experience the level of community involvement in helping facilitate the site visit, was a breath of fresh air.

It is the genuine partnership between Jackson Physician Search and this hospital, each playing their respective yet collaborative roles, a small community in Colorado got new access to quality healthcare close to home.  If your physician recruitment process could utilize the experienced partnership of recruitment professionals, contact Jackson Physician Search today, and learn more about what our national team of consultants can do for you.

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