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3 Qualities of an Attractive Physician Executive Job

Jackson Physician Search
February 21, 2023

An increasing number of organizations are realizing the benefits of hiring physician executives. Physician executives are not only ideal liaisons between the administration and staff, but they also have firsthand experience with the needs and wants of patients and can advise on how best to grow the program’s offerings.  

Physicians with leadership experience are in high demand. As a result, many physician executives are contacted regularly about jobs for which they would be a good fit, so the opportunity has to stand out to get their attention. So what makes a physician executive job opportunity attractive enough to lure these leaders away from their current jobs? To learn the answer, we spoke with Dirk Jansson, Director of Physician Executive Search at Jackson Physician Search. Dirk speaks to dozens of physician executives each week, so he understands what it takes to pique the interest of this highly sought-after group.  

1. Opportunity to Make an Impact in a Physician Executive Job

Big titles and compensation are nice, but physician executives tend to be driven mainly by a desire to make an impact. For this reason, it’s important that physician executive jobs provide challenges that appeal to a candidate’s sense of purpose.  

“Most physician executives have followed this path because they want to make a difference,” says Dirk. “The jobs that appeal to them are those with worthy challenges where they can impact healthcare at the population level.” 

Organizations should first have a clear understanding of what they need the physician executive to achieve and be able to articulate short- and long-term goals for the position. If they can connect those goals to the organization’s broader mission — and highlight how success will improve healthcare access or delivery in the community — they are more likely to attract candidates who are up to the challenge.

2. Organization with a Clear Identity and Direction

Just as important as a worthy challenge is the physician executive’s alignment with the organization’s direction and identity. Of course, this requires organizational leaders to accurately assess the direction and identity of their organization, so candidates can better determine whether or not they are aligned. 

“The physician executives I speak to who are leaving positions after just 12 or 18 months are often missing this alignment,” says Dirk. “It’s not that they were intentionally deceived, but when organizations inaccurately evaluate their internal situations and/or external factors, they are more likely to lead candidates into thinking they are more aligned than they actually are.” 

To successfully recruit physician executives, organizations must be critically aware of their own identity and direction and be able to accurately convey that to candidates. 

3. Ongoing Transparency

Physician executives need to know how and why decisions are made in an organization. For a candidate to seriously consider a physician executive job, he or she needs to believe that the administration has put all its cards on the table and represents the organization/position in good faith. 

“Organizational leaders need to be clear about where they are and what they anticipate the challenges to be both internally and externally,” says Dirk. “Good candidates won’t shy away from the challenge, but they do want to know what to expect.”

Ideally, this kind of transparency is not limited to the recruitment stage but is an ongoing corporate value that is felt at all levels of the organization. 

The Ideal Physician Executive Job

Attractive physician executive jobs offer candidates an opportunity to positively impact patient populations on a large scale. For candidates to seriously consider the job, they want to know the organization has a strong identity and clear direction. Administrators should understand the importance of transparency in the recruitment process and beyond and be prepared to have honest conversations about how decisions are made and what challenges the organization is facing.   

“What makes a physician executive job attractive is often less about a flashy title or big numbers in the job ad,” says Dirk. “It’s just as much or more about the organization’s integrity and the opportunity to make an impact. This is what I’ve found drives so many physician leaders.”

Organizations seeking physician executives must have a well-defined physician executive recruitment process. The first step in this process should be developing a unified vision of the function and purpose of the role. Keeping in mind the qualities discussed here, organizations can create a physician executive job description that will attract high-caliber, mission-driven candidates who are sure to succeed in the role. 

Our Physician Executive Search team has the experience, network, and expertise required to provide organizations of all types and sizes with the physician executive recruitment support you need. Contact our team today to learn more.  

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