In July, the Medical Group Management Association released the results of a member survey that ranked members most pressing practice-management challenges. In this edition of Practice Makes Perfect, well tackle No. 4 on that list: physician recruitment.
Where do we find candidates? What should we be paying? How do we keep the new physician once weve recruited him or her? Regardless of group size or specialty, medical practice administrators and physician group leaders often ask these questions as they struggle to recruit and retain physicians.
Here are practical tips that will increase your chances of success:
Have a plan. Consider when youll need new physicians and what level of resourcesboth personnel and financialyou can apply to the effort. Research the recruitment marketplace. Determine compensation levels and benefits before you begin.
Start early. In the past, groups could start their recruiting efforts 12 months before they needed a physician in the slot. Not today. Start your efforts two to three years prior to the need.
Look everywhere. Use every means available to locate candidates. Consider either retained or contingent recruiters. Use Web sites and candidate databases. Evaluate journal advertising and conferences. Develop personal contacts with residency programs in your area.
Engage your physicians. Ask your doctors to continually reach out to residency directors and sell them on your practice.
Do your homework. Ask potential candidates lots of questions. Understand what is important to them. Discuss their expectations from your practice and your expectations of thembeyond seeing patients. Be prepared to speak about leadership opportunities and obligations in the future, contributions to marketing the practice and other nonclinical issues.
Make the interview and site visit work. Too often, medical groups lose recruiting opportunities through poorly planned site visits, poor interview techniques by the practice and the candidate, and a general lack of understanding of the motivations of both parties.
Make your best offer. Once youve found your ideal candidate, try to establish trust to form the foundation for a relationship. This is not the time to scrimp on a salary offer. If you want this candidate for your practice, let him or her know it in words, actions and in the offer.
These tips can help you develop a more successful recruitment program for your organization.
Kenneth HertzPrincipalMGMA Health Care Consulting GroupEnglewood, Colo.