Why empathy and strong self-esteem make you a better physician recruiter

Posted by Doximity TF Team


It’s indisputable: physician recruitment is a tough job. 

You’re not just a physician recruiter, either, you’re also a sourcer, a marketer, a client manager, a documentation specialist, and the list goes on. Physician recruiting isn’t an administrative job, it’s a sales job—and it's one tough sales market right now. 

Case in point: Healthcare and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) roles are the hardest to hire for (according to a recent labor market report from Brookings). What’s more it now takes longer to hire for healthcare (and STEM roles) than it did prior to the 2008 recession! 

If you’re recruiting new doctors, it’s a buyer’s market for them. A Merritt Hawkins 2015 Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents shows that 63% of new doctors competing residency received 51 or more job solicitations during their training, while 46% received 100 or more job solicitations.

Yes, physician recruiters have one tough job. Physician recruiters also get a bum rap. You’ve heard the indictments: The fee for a physician recruiter is high and the barrier for entry into the field is low; when you submit a CV to a recruiter it may never actually get to the hiring facility; when you use a physician recruiter, you lose control over who has your information; recruiters don't work for physician candidates, they work for the organizations that are hiring—which means their loyalty is only to the employers.

What’s a physician recruiter to do? Be empathetic and have a big ego.

That’s right. Bob Eskridge, President of Eskridge & Associates and the author of the book “So You Always Wanted to be a Physician Recruiter,” writes, “I am blessed to be able to help people in a very fundamental way…help them find a job, manage their career, help them build their business. It is extremely rewarding every day. But you have to have really two very distinct traits. The first is empathy. You must really want to help your clients and candidates succeed. You have to have their best interests in mind. The second is an ego beyond belief. A typical recruiter will hear ‘No’ twenty times for every yes…if they are good at this.” 

A certified physician recruiter himself, Eskridge says there are five things that define a great physician recruiter: 

1. Empathetic – has a sincere desire to help clients and candidates alike succeed

2. Strong sense of self-esteem (ego)

3. Superior at sales processes

4. Offers tremendous market knowledge – is very comfortable with the specialties they recruit for

5. Continually investing in professional growth.

To counter negative assertions about physician recruitment, we offer this advice:

1. Take the time to get to know your candidates before you contact them. Putting Doximity Talent Finder to work first can help you learn a lot about prospective candidates first.

2. Serve as a consultant and a helpful resource—and try offering a preventive consultation. An experienced physician recruiter works with well over 50 health care organizations in their career, in multiple cities and multiple practice setups. You’re doing the legwork anyway, so let physician candidates know you can give them a precise picture of what kinds of opportunities are out there in his/her specialty, geographically, and be straight with him/her.

3. Physician retention is the other name of the physician recruitment game, so remind candidates that getting the right candidate—not just any candidate—is as important as an initial hire. Recruiting a new physician and getting them to full speed takes up to two years and costs tens of thousands in travel, signing bonus, moving expenses—and even more than that in potential production loss.

4. Have physician candidates list the must-haves of a job and don’t deviate from it. You know the toughest struggle is finding a place that pairs a candidate’s needs with the demand for that physician’s skills.

5. Put the power of working for the hiring facility to work for you. Health organizations are able to network to a wider pool of physicians when they use a recruiter—so you know about jobs a physician candidate either can’t find on their own or doesn’t have the time to find on their own. That makes you an advocate for both employers and candidates no matter how you look at it.

6. Do you work on a contingency basis? Remind your candidates that you don’t get paid anything unless you find a physician for the position. 

If you’re interested in professional growth, the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (ASPR) offers a Fellowship Program that can take your career to the next level. The National Association of Personnel Services has also been certifying recruiting and staffing professionals nationally since 1961. If you aren’t a certified physician recruiter already, you can learn all about certification here.

They say it’s easier to get a job when you already have one, but there’s another adage to note: The best time to find a recruiter is when you don’t need one. That means you have to establish a great rapport with physician candidates now and always serve as a vital resource—even after your candidate is hired.  

Are you using Doximity Talent Finder to recruit the right physicians? If not, sign up for a free demo now!

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Topics: Physician Recruiting, physician recruitment, definition of a great physician recruiter

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