Not much about life in the United States at the present moment resembles our usual definition of normal, but still life goes on and so does physician recruitment. A hospital in Western Kentucky needed to hire a Cardiologist and reached out to Jackson Physician Search for help with the search in early February. Fortunately, at that time, the devastating impact of Covid-19 was not yet taken hold, and JPS Senior Search Consultant Ross Hegenwald jumped on the opportunity with his usual energy. He immediately traveled to meet with the hospital system executives and interviewed several of the other physicians on staff to formulate an idea of what personality traits would be a good cultural fit for them.
Shortly after the site visit, the pandemic had become serious within the United States. Ross and his recruitment counterpart with the hospital system knew they needed a completely different game plan for this critical placement. With the hospital campus shut down for on-site interviews or site visits, they collaborated on a video and virtual approach to recruiting candidates.
First, the hospital created a video to display the their campus, both inside and out, to ensure that potential candidates had an opportunity to see the facility and surrounding areas.
Then, Ross began screening candidates and quickly connected with Dr. A., a Cardiologist that was practicing in Wisconsin. Dr. A. explained to Ross that he had previously practiced in Kentucky, in a town about two hours away from the current opportunity. He went on to say that he and his family were interested in moving on from the colder winters in Wisconsin. Ross sent him the newly created video of the facility, and quickly arranged for Dr. A to participate in virtual interviews.
Before Covid-19, a well-planned site visit would have been organized with Dr. A. and his family to allow them to have an opportunity to visit the campus and meet with administrators and other physicians and staff. Instead, to keep the recruitment process moving quickly, many of the staff members participated in video conference calls, where it was established that Dr. A would be a good fit culturally and professionally.
However, the challenge remained that Dr. A. wasn’t going to have an opportunity to experience a typical site visit. To put his and his family’s minds at ease, they decided to hop in the car and make the eight-hour drive from their Wisconsin home to visit the community.
Upon arrival, everyone “masked up” and met with a real estate professional that worked with the hospital system. She showed Dr. A. and his family around town – driving through several local neighborhoods which allowed them to get a good sense of the area. While certainly not a typical site visit, Dr. A. was sufficiently impressed, and after spending a couple of days, he decided to negotiate an employment offer.
One of the most amazing aspects of this particular placement is that the typical time needed to fill a cardiologist vacancy can be anywhere from six to eight months. In this case, even in the middle of a pandemic, and with so many challenges to overcome, Dr. A. accepted the offer within 30 days.
It is no coincidence that this vacancy was filled so quickly and under such challenging circumstances. This placement culminated because of the excellent teamwork between Ross and his hospital system recruitment counterpart. Fortunately, Ross didn’t delay his visit to the hospital to see the facility and meet with the staff at the beginning of the search. This allowed him to have first-hand knowledge of the hospital, its people, and the community, which in turn allowed him to share that with the candidate. The creative use of video to showcase the campus and community and several of the hospital’s physicians on staff getting involved in the virtual interview process also played a huge role in this successful placement.
Every recruitment experience is inherently unique, but this one in particular inspires all of us. The hospital administrators forged ahead during a pandemic knowing the need for a cardiologist was still going to be there whenever life returned to normal. Their willingness to adapt in real-time to create a candidate experience that would attract a top-notch physician is a testament to their culture of excellence. Equally moving, for a physician to take a leap of faith and accept a position after a two-day road trip is more proof that healthcare providers can overcome just about any obstacles and challenges placed in their path.
The Jackson Physician Search team is comprised of healthcare industry professionals who have the skills, experience, and relationships to be your trusted physician search partner. Our recruitment professionals have access to industry-best technology to streamline your recruitment process and find quality candidates under even the most difficult circumstances. Contact our recruitment team today and learn how we can make a difference for you.
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