Decisions, Decisions…

Turning on your television in 2017 can be quite overwhelming.  When it comes to entertainment, modern satellite TV offers hundreds of options.  Add on additional choices like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, YouTube, PlayStation Vue, Yahoo Video, Facebook Live, Goldfish Video (okay… that last one’s not real) and the possibilities are truly endless.  So, how do we decide what to watch?  Do we try to catch a bit of everything, or do we stick to our handful of tried-and-true favorites? Is the amount of options so positively overwhelming that it ultimately cripples us from making such a monumental, life-altering decision?

The truth is… probably not.  We’re used to it.  Choices, that is.  We make choices every day and are fully capable of handling a multitude of options at every turn.  In fact, most of us enjoy those choices.  We like to see what options exist so we can make the best, most well-educated decision possible.  Believe it or not, this fact even remains true in physician recruiting.

“The Grass is Always Greener”

It is clear that within the United States, there is a physician shortage to some degree.  Healthcare reform has put more pressure on physician access, and there are just not enough physicians to cover all of the needs that exist.[1]  Hospitals and clinics are constantly trying to recruit physicians of all specialties to further their efforts of caring for the community around them.  The need to procure physicians is high, yet healthcare professionals often insist on addressing recruitment like every other other decision, with the mindset of “the more options, the better.”  Sure, we all like choices, but is our desire for choice sometimes overshadowing our ability to do what is in the best interest of the community?

Truthfully, we carry this mindset of choices and possibilities too far at times.  For instance, when presented with a quality physician who is interested in our opportunity, we still find ourselves thinking about the next CV that might hit our desk.  We get so excited about the possibilities of the future, we may not give the person right in front of us the consideration he or she deserves.  This whole “the grass is always greener on the other side” approach can hinder our success.  Sure, there might be a physician somewhere out there who is a five percent overall better fit than our current candidate, but who knows how long it might take to find that person.  Who knows if that next candidate would even take the job!  This recruitment style, often known as the “beauty pageant” approach,” is one in which decision makers wait and see what might come next instead of locking down a great candidate, just because that candidate was the first to express interest in the opportunity.  Beauty pageants may have their place in society, but let’s not allow that place to be physician recruitment.

“This recruitment style, often known as the “beauty pageant” approach,” is one in which decision makers wait and see what might come next instead of locking down a great candidate, just because that candidate was the first to express interest in the opportunity.”

Lost Potential

Let’s think about this: the average lost revenue per month for not having a physician in place is $130,049.[2]  If a hospital waits an additional six months for that perceived “perfect” candidate, they will have lost $780,294 in potential revenue.  That is not even considering the implications of unseen patients and overworked providers. The stress of an unfilled need can lead to a lot of stress for all of those involved in the recruitment process.  So, maybe waiting to gain that extra five percent compatibility is not be the best decision.  Perhaps, decision makers should take a second look at the candidate who is already interested, with an eye to find the potential that already exists.

Making This One Count

The most successful hospitals and clinics treat each candidate like he or she is the last candidate they will ever see.  Sure, that is probably not going to be the case, but this mindset helps them be consistent in hiring great candidates for their facility and community.  Astute decision makers make candidates feel important and cared for, not like just another CV being filtered through a list of qualifying questions.  A sharp decision maker is not thinking about the possibility of another candidate to consider.  They are completely engaged in that moment, because they know the truth so many others have a hard time considering: it only takes one.

David Cox, Director of Physician Recruitment at Livingston Regional Hospital in Livingston, Tennessee, shared what he does to make a candidate feel important.  Once David finds a candidate in which he is interested, he says, “[Moving quickly] shows a candidate that we are serious.  If the candidate is ready [to make a decision], we want to be the first to have a phone interview.  We want to be the first to have an on-site visit”.  This strategy gives their organization a competitive edge, and they ultimately bring on board nearly 70% of the candidates to whom they extend offers.  Everyone likes choices, but when it comes to recruitment, it only takes one strong candidate to fill a position.  Don’t let the first one slip by while waiting for someone “better” to come along, because the fact is, the first candidate was probably a great physician.

“‘[Moving quickly] shows a candidate that we are serious.  If the candidate is ready [to make a decision], we want to be the first to have a phone interview.  We want to be the first to have an on-site visit’. –David Cox, Director of Physician Recruitment, Livingston Regional Hospital”

From Wishful Thinking to a Consistent Reality

Being aggressive is a major key to success when it comes to recruiting physicians.  The current nature of the industry demands expediency, and the industry will not be slowing down anytime soon.  One of the best ways to set your opportunity apart from the hundreds of others is to be an engaging and timely recruiter.  This is how to make candidates feel important and wanted.  This is how you can make a difference.  If you commit great effort to the small details, landing candidates will no longer be wishful thinking, but will become a consistent reality.

 

[1] Bernstein, Lenny. “U.S. Faces 90,000 Doctor Shortage by 2025, Medical School Association Warns.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 03 Mar. 2015. Web. 08 May 2017.

[2] https://www.merritthawkins.com/uploadedFiles/MerrittHawkins/Surveys/Merritt_Hawkins-2016_RevSurvey.pdf

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