Discover Your Differentiators to Recruit Physicians


In today’s ultra-competitive environment for recruiting and retaining physicians, many hospitals and healthcare systems have slowly come to the realization that it is about more than money. Compensation will always play a role in a candidate’s choice of a job, but surveys show that other factors are increasingly important to physician engagement and satisfaction. Knowing them can help you establish your own differentiators, set yourself apart from the competition, and successfully recruit physicians who will fit, succeed, and stay.

According to a Rand Corporation report factors such as autonomy and control over their clinical work, organizational leadership style, and perceptions about fairness and respect were as important to physicians as the quality of care they were providing. A more recent engagement survey published by Jackson Healthcare echoed this. Physicians cite trust in the leadership team and quality of communication as important satisfiers, and also as areas where most employers need to do better.

The key is understanding your organizational culture and recognizing how it will fit the motivations, needs, and personality of your candidate. In your recruitment and hiring practices, you can differentiate yourself by demonstrating these important qualities, in addition to the more tangible differentiators.

Rural facilities may emphasize their location away from the chaos of larger metro areas. Candidates will be attracted by the lifestyle benefits, like being able to attend their child’s soccer game or the simplicity of the morning commute. Facilities in a metropolitan area may highlight access to career opportunities for the spouse as a trade-off for the higher cost of living. In both scenarios, administrators can demonstrate that transparent internal procedures, clear communication channels, a collegial call group, and excellent practice support will simplify the physicians’ life and allow them to focus on their patients.

For example, electronic health records (EHRs) play a large role in physician satisfaction. If your current physicians are clearly frustrated with the time-consuming nature of your EHR technology, it can quickly derail a candidate. Even if you can’t completely overhaul your EHR, the use of a medical scribe or other support staff can relieve physicians of data entry and administrative hassles, allowing the physician to concentrate on patient care. An affordable resource investment can show that you respect your clinicians’ time and offset the million-dollar-plus cost of turnover.

The problem is that many organizations do not have the objectivity and competitive intelligence to effectively package their differentiators and successfully display them during the interview. Avoiding the heavy lifting on the front-end is the most frequent – and costly – mistake you can make. Likewise, putting every candidate through the same stagnant interview process is a recipe for disaster.

Engaging a trusted recruiting partner will help you eliminate the derailing factors and reveal the differentiating factors to attract candidates who will fit and flourish there. The recruiters’ groundwork with you and the candidate will help determine which interview team members best exemplify the culture and are the natural “brand ambassadors” for that candidate.

Remember: Your organization is being interviewed by the candidate and their spouse. The interview process and the people involved will be key in displaying your organizational culture, the quality and type of communication practiced, and what makes your organization a place where the physician will feel engaged and appreciated.

The competition for quality physicians is fierce, and the stakes for making the right choice are very high. Knowing – and highlighting – what sets your organization apart geographically, operationally and culturally will reveal the type of physician who will thrive in your environment. That is the critical foundation to being able to successfully recruit physicians.

Contact us for more personalized consultation into your unique differentiators.

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