When Steve Jacobs got his first call about an opportunity to be a physician recruiter, he didn’t realize it was an actual career. He was six years into this recruiting position with a consulting firm when the client came to him with another special request: they wanted to start an in-house recruiting department and Jacobs was to take the lead. Over the next seven years, he built a great recruiting program and built new programs on as needed.
These days, Jacobs says his biggest recruiting challenge is “finding physicians to work in obscure, out of the way places they’ve never even heard of before.” He has earned his stripes getting physicians to do just that, too: Jacobs is the sole physician recruiter for Good Samaritan Health System, a hospital employer group located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the Lebanon Valley. As a “department of one,” Jacobs says his challenge has also become his specialty. “Putting physician opportunities together into a package that sells the important parts of the hospital along with surrounding area—not to mention ensuring the candidates are the right psychological fit for the community and the staff.”
Good Samaritan is close to several large cities including Baltimore, New York, Washington DC, and Hershey, Pennsylvania—which holds great appeal—but many physicians, particularly those who hail from the Midwest, are interested in working for Good Samaritan because they can buy land and have a farm in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Physicians also like the sense of community that comes with working in rural Pennsylvania.
Jacobs discovers Doximity Talent Finder.
About five years ago, Jacobs was preparing a presentation about social media (he’s a long-time fan of social media for recruiting) and during his research he stumbled upon Doximity. At a recruiting conference shortly after that, he saw a keynote presentation by Doximity’s Chris Giaccio so he headed to the Doximity booth immediately for a live demo. When Jacobs saw the Doximity Talent Finder demo, he said his only thought was:
It's about time someone figured this out! This is exactly what we need to be productive as physician recruiters.”
Doximity Talent Finder has given Jacobs the ability to do searches for any U.S. licensed physician and have all of the information right at his fingertips. “I can look at places in our area and I find physicians in smaller towns right off the bat.” Because he understands the reasons many physicians are willing to move, Jacobs then uses DocMail to target physicians in neighboring towns. And the best part? “These are typically passive candidates that aren’t out looking for new positions, but I can present a position that’s interesting to them and you wouldn’t believe the great responses I get.”
The number one tip he’d offer other recruiters using Doximity Talent Finder is personalize, personalize, personalize. Jacobs says, "I focus first on geography and ties to the area. Perhaps a physician graduated from an area where an opportunity I’m recruiting for exists,” says Jacobs. “So a DocMail from me might read: ‘Hello from the Lebanon Valley! How are things in Adam’s County?’”
If you target every candidate out there on every other database, the quality of your candidates will suffer. That's what I call garbage in, garbage out."
Physician recruitment is all about great detective work.
"I pay attention to the little details. Does a candidate have links to the PA area? What hospitals or medical groups is he or she affiliated with? What about clinic size—what seems to fit their current MO?” Jacobs says he also acknowledges some obvious trends. I may get a doctor or two in California who’s interested in a PA position, but overall I don’t go after them—they just can’t be expected to move back to move here from sunny California and live in the kind of weather we experience here,” says Jacobs.
Using Doximity Talent Finder, Jacobs recently discovered a radiation oncologist who grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town where Good Samaritan is located—and it turns out the physician wanted to move back. Jacobs put the physician candidate in his pipeline and when an opportunity for a radiation oncologist came up, that the physician was the first to interview.
Doximity is a vertical social network, and Jacobs has been an advocate for social recruiting since its infancy. "But," he says, “doctors aren’t hanging out on social media with their CV on their door. You have to put the work in.” He says social recruiting, including Doximity Talent Finder, is successful, mostly because doctors are using their mobile devices all the time. “But you still have to manage your brand and website—physicians are going to investigate who you are and what you do. And you have to offer interesting, helpful content. It’s not ‘automated network recruiting,’ as some would like to believe. Thinking that social recruiting will automatically give you new candidates is the same thing as posting a job on a board then praying,” says Jacobs.
One great analogy for physician recruitment: Arrows in a quiver.
“How many arrows do you need to get into the battle?” It's a question Jacobs asks all the time. “The physician shortage is here and recruiters are always in a battle for talent.” Jacobs also uses an analogy for Good Samaritan: the Little Engine that Could. He explains: “It’s a small hospital and it's the only one in the county. The hospital is sophisticated, but it still truly puts the 'community' in ‘community hospital'—offering services that a lot of large hospitals just can't or don’t," says Jacobs. "Good Samaritan also has tremendous patient support and loyalty. When I explain all that Good Samaritan offers to candidates, 90% of the physicians are left with a feeling of ‘Wow, that’s not what I expected!’”
Physician recruitment goes well beyond traditional Human Resources.
Hospitals recruit for all kinds of positions, from Cardiologists to custodial help,” Jacobs says. “Physician recruitment goes well beyond traditional HR, though due to its nuances—the fact that a physician recruiter gets very involved with a candidates on a professional and personal level," says Jacobs. "Great hospitals realize that physician recruiters are one of their best assets."
More good news for the Lebanon Valley.
Jacobs will soon be a part of larger recruiting department when Good Samaritan merges with Wellspan Health. We look forward to hearing all about the new opportunities and challenges Jacobs encounters in his new role.
By the way, Jacobs joined the Doximity Recruiter Advisory Board two years ago to put his expertise to work to create an even better physician recruitment product. Do you have a question for Jacobs? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Jacobs will happily respond. You can read about other Innovators in Recruitment right here.
We also invite you to download a case study about how Jacobs and Good Samaritan are innovating physician recruitment now: