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How to Leverage Email as Part of Your Physician Recruitment Strategy

Jackson Physician Search
August 25, 2021

When facing a physician vacancy, listing the position on a few key job boards is often the first step a physician recruiter takes to begin sourcing candidates. A well-written job description and physician job ad can be a very effective way to generate candidate interest in your opportunity.

But it pays to know that your efforts are likely to reach only 10% of all practicing physicians, as these are the ones who are actively searching for a new opportunity. Your perfect candidate might be in this pool, but the odds aren’t in your favor. The physician who best fits the job opportunity and your facility’s culture is likely a passive candidate who won’t ever see your well-written, enticing job ad if the only place it appears is on job boards.

Nearly 75% of all physicians are considered passive physician candidates. These providers aren’t proactively searching for a new role, but they are open to receiving information about job opportunities. And according to the 2021 MMS Annual Physician Survey, email is how 97% of physicians prefer to hear from physician recruiters about new positions.

An added benefit of email sourcing is that 86% of physicians check their email 2-3 times every day, giving you multiple opportunities to get your job noticed and to make a connection.

Email will continue to be a very effective and efficient method to candidate sourcing, but understanding and applying best practices can be the difference between filling your physician vacancy or discovering that the bulk of your emails landed in the spam or junk folder. Let’s dive in, so you can increase your success with email as a key part of your physician recruitment strategy.

Building and Segmenting Your Email List

Hopefully, your healthcare organization maintains an active presence on social media and uses the various platforms to highlight employee and patient stories, awards and recognition, healthcare educational content, as well as open physician jobs. There is no better way to develop a database of physician candidates than via organic traffic and content engagement. Use forms to collect contact information and to ask permission to email them.

At the same time, as you’re building your email list of potential candidates, you should be segmenting them by specialty so that you’re only sending relevant job opportunities. There’s nothing more annoying to physicians than finding their inbox full of job opportunities that are in other specialties. They might choose to delete the emails at first, but rest assured, they will eventually unsubscribe, or worse, report the email as spam.

Borrow, Don’t Buy Email Lists

When incorporating email marketing into your comprehensive digital recruitment strategy, it can take a significant amount of time to build a large database of physician candidates. It is often tempting to consider purchasing email lists, but under the wrong scenario, the consequences can be swift and severe. First, all organizations must take caution not to violate the Can-Spam Act. There are also ever-increasing privacy laws to consider. Finally, a bad email list can harm your sender reputation, which limits your overall deliverability or can even cause your organization to be blacklisted.

Even if your digital strategy is in its infancy or you are struggling with gaining traction in email candidate sourcing, all is not lost. There are options available to access a curated list of potential physician candidates. Consider partnering with a physician recruitment firm (like Jackson Physician Search) that has a demonstrated track record of success in sourcing candidates via email.

Another option is to use Doximity. More than 80% of doctors have claimed their Doximity profile, making it a goldmine for candidate sourcing. Depending on the number of vacancies you are trying to fill, it can be a significant investment to acquire a license. Often, it makes more sense to partner with a recruitment firm that holds its own Doximity licenses. Before you make that leap, however, be sure to ask how many licenses the firm holds and how it uses the platform. Jackson Physician Search, for example, has chosen to provide every recruiter with a
Doximity license. In fact, we’re the only recruitment firm to have done so.

6 Email Recruitment Best Practices

Just having a list of physicians to email does not constitute an effective email recruitment strategy. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best practices.

1. Avoid the Spam Filter.

How you craft your email message impacts whether it will be seen by the intended recipient. Spam filters built into email platforms are getting more robust and more stringent every day. You can avoid going straight to spam by paying attention to the following:

  • Never use ALL CAPS.
  • Avoid trying to trick the recipient into thinking you have emailed back and forth before. Do not use “Re:” in your subject line.
  • Don’t send your email marked as “High Importance.”
  • Share content via links to your website instead of attachments.
  • Test your email using a spam checker to see if any words or images will trigger the spam filters to send your email to the junk folder or block it altogether. Some common spammy words include guaranteed, satisfaction, dollars, as well as the $ sign and large numbers like 1,000,000.

2. Good Subject Line = Increased Likelihood of an Opened Email.

Think of your own email routine. When you have an inbox filled with unread emails, how do you determine which ones to open? Like most people, you probably skim the subject lines to see if anything grabs your attention. In fact, MMS found that 71% of physicians open emails based on the subject line alone.

  • Include these three data points in every subject line: specific specialty, compensation information, and location.
  • Keep it short. Nearly 75% of emails are read on a mobile device, so 40-50 characters are ideal.
  • Leverage your organization’s name recognition, create a sense of urgency, and inspire a candidate’s curiosity.
  • Don’t forget to use the pre-header space as a secondary subject line. Include key selling points about the job opportunity to entice physicians to engage with your email.
  • Use A/B testing to increase the total number of emails opened. Your email provider should have a mechanism to allow you to test two different subject lines to a portion of your list and then send the winning one to the rest.

3. Create a Compelling “Why.”

Once you have succeeded in getting your targeted candidate(s) to open the email, your goal is to get them interested in the position and to apply. The email must contain enough information so that the physician can easily see the value proposition available. Whether it is the compensation package, desirable schedule, or leadership opportunities, draw the candidate in so they want to learn more.

4. Simplify the Call to Action.

Unclear directions or an overly complicated response process is a sure way to ruin all the good work you have done to this point. Like the proverbial “EASY” button, give your reader a streamlined mechanism to quickly apply, learn more, or set up a time to speak with a physician recruiter.

5. Cadence and Timing.

An integral component of effective email outreach is how often you are sending emails and at what times. There are no hard and fast rules for every situation, but the answers can be found in the data. For example, you may find that the best time to send a physician a job opportunity is in the late evening when many are decompressing at home.

6. Test, Test, and Test Again.

The only way to perfect email candidate sourcing is through testing and analysis. Pay attention to the performance of your emails with different subject lines, different calls to action, and link placements. For best results, only test one item at a time.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Personalize your email message by addressing candidates by name, preferably Dr. (Last Name).

Do: Segment your email database by specialty so that Pediatricians do not receive emails about Gastroenterology positions.

Do: Pay attention to your email metrics, including open, click-thru, and unsubscribe rates.

Don’t: Avoid emailing candidates who haven’t opened or engaged with your emails in more than two years.

Don’t: Never use a “no-reply address” as your sender address.

Don’t: Ignore privacy changes being implemented by Apple and Google.

Email is a vital element of your digital recruitment strategy. Keep in mind that the average physician receives up to 40 job opportunities a month. It takes a considerable amount of effort to create a winning message that drives them to action.

If you missed our last installment in our series on digital physician recruitment where we discussed utilizing social media for candidate sourcing and engagement, you can find it here.

Jackson Physician Search is an industry leader in sourcing physician candidates, no matter how unique the specialty. Our team of recruitment professionals is equipped with the knowledge, technology, and tools to execute a digital search strategy to help healthcare organizations achieve quicker ROI on every physician vacancy. Contact us today to learn more.

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