Healthcare facilities in rural or “less popular” locations face an uphill climb in physician recruitment due to the growing physician shortage and maldistribution of providers. So, when a physician candidate shows genuine interest in the opportunity and appears to be both a clinical and cultural fit, a well-organized, on-site physician interview that includes a customized community tour is your best opportunity to seal the deal.
A Women’s Health Center in a community of 30,000 people in western North Dakota needed to recruit an OB/GYN to join its practice and came to Jackson Physician Search for help. Located close to the borders of Montana and Canada, the leadership team knew it needed a targeted and agile recruitment strategy that would identify physician candidates who would be a great fit overall with the group and who wouldn’t be turned off by long, windy winters in a remote location.
Since the Women’s Health Center had already received notice from the departing physician, identifying candidates quickly was a big concern. To alleviate that, Jackson Physician Search Divisional Vice-President Brent Barnacle shared with the leadership team that our 100% digital sourcing strategy allows for real-time adjustments to improve physician targeting and messaging strategy, often resulting in reduced time-to-fill.
Highlight the Strengths, Minimize the Weaknesses
While it is not always possible – especially during COVID-19 – a key component of successful recruitment is developing a comprehensive profile for the physician vacancy by traveling to the facility, meeting with key stakeholders and staff, and touring the community. As the health center’s ambassador, Jackson Physician Search Regional Vice-President of Recruiting Tara Osseck began the search by making the effort to fully understand the location, workplace culture, leadership philosophy, and staff. During the profile visit, she was also able to spend valuable time with the departing physician, who provided further insight about short- and long-term opportunities available to the right physician.
This first-hand knowledge is how Tara was able to look beyond the CV and identify candidates who were an ideal fit. By focusing on the many strengths of the opportunity, Tara connected with Dr. W and immediately had a sense that she would be an excellent fit. Originally from Toronto, Canada and currently in residency at the University of Buffalo, in New York State, Dr. W was not opposed to North Dakota winters but did have concerns about the remote location making travel to visit family difficult.
A strong match clinically and culturally, the candidate was open to considering the opportunity. Tara and the leadership team worked together to create a “red carpet” interview experience tailored to the physician’s individual needs. While at the facility, Dr. W met with all key stakeholders, physicians, and staff.
It was also crucial for Dr. W to spend time socially with leadership and her colleagues so that she would feel welcomed as part of the team and excited about the opportunity – two key factors physicians consider when deciding to accept or reject a job offer as noted in the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey. Additionally, she received a full community tour and was able to see for herself that everything she enjoyed outside of her career was readily available.
“This client mastered the art of the client/recruiter relationship and adopted recommended best-practices to provide presented candidates with a “red carpet” experience during the entire recruitment, negotiation and onboarding process. It made all the difference!”
– Tara Osseck, Regional Vice-President of Recruiting
Small – but Meaningful Gestures – Helped the Physician Recognize Just How Much Her New Practice Cared.
The leadership team was very impressed with the physician from the moment Tara presented her. They felt she had the perfect interpersonal dynamics and practice approach that would mesh perfectly within the physician group. In such a competitive market, one small way that they were able to set themselves apart for Dr. W was the effort they put into learning about and understanding her.
To start, they helped Dr. W tap into North Dakota’s sponsored grant program to offset her medical student loan debt – a relief to a physician coming out of residency.
And knowing that she had family living in Canada, they routed her flight home from the on-site interview and community tour through Toronto. This not only allowed her to spend time with loved ones as she considered a major career decision, but also showed her how easy it would be to visit once she was living in North Dakota.
This small act of kindness left an impression on Dr. W and demonstrated just how aligned and connected she already felt with the leadership team and staff. Delighted, she received an offer and signed her contract shortly afterwards.
From Search Initiation to Placement in Under 90 Days
The leadership team and Tara partnered seamlessly to achieve a time-to-fill that is half of the national average. Some highlights that contributed to this success include:
- Excellent communication. From the profile visit to weekly recruitment updates, the leadership team was readily available, pulled in partners for pertinent discussions, and provided timely feedback about presented candidates.
- Market-competitive compensation and benefits package. The leadership team was open to adjusting the compensation package to meeting the needs of the candidate. Younger physicians often have different priorities than late careerists.
- Designed a well-planned, on-site interview experience. Included all key stakeholders in the interview process and tailored the community tour to the candidate’s interests and needs.
- Left no questions unanswered. The leadership team knew the practice from the inside out, including schedule and call requirements, patient volumes, equipment and ensured that every clinical and business question was answered.
“Recruiting an OB/GYN Physician to a smaller community in North Dakota in under 90 days is almost unheard of. It’s a testament to our recruitment methodology, by combining both the art of and science of candidate sourcing, Tara was able to match the right candidate to the right job.
– Brent Barnacle, Divisional Vice-President
Brent, Tara, and the rest of the Jackson Physician Search recruitment team are well-versed in helping healthcare organizations find, recruit, and retain physicians who are a clinical and cultural fit. Contact us today to learn how our track record is built on trust and transparency.
Key Takeaway From the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey: Six Steps to Delivering an On-Site Interview that Wins Over Physicians
- Commit to a single, comprehensive on-site interview that is customized for the candidate and leave no questions unanswered.
- Designate key players in the interview process.
- Generate feelings of collegiality, excitement, and a sense of being welcome.
- Clearly communicate the shared values and mission of your organization.
- Tailor the community tour to the candidate and their family.
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