Recruiting for Physician Retention: New Tools & Essential Steps

When providers play an integral part in your growth strategy, physician retention can be just as important as recruitment for overall success.

Do you know what questions to ask, what to look for and how to organize your site visits so you get, and keep, the best candidates? Here are several tools and tips to steer your recruitment efforts towards physician retention.

1. Assemble Your Physician Recruitment Team

First impressions speak volumes about your organization. So, make sure you assemble a quality physician recruitment team that can get top providers in the door… and ensure they stay for the long-haul.

For optimal success, your team should commit to a 2-year term (or at least a 1-year term with the option to extend), and include the following:

  • Ancillary department leader
  • Nursing department leader
  • Hospital-based provider
  • Physician representative (medicine)
  • Physician representative (surgery)
  • Credentialing committee chair
  • Realty company representative
  • Community or board of trustees representatives (2)

All committee members should understand your local community’s medical needs and the current local/regional/national recruitment environment. Some key responsibilities they can provide are:

  • Helping with your medical staff & physician retention plans
  • Reviewing candidate CVs
  • Assisting with onsite visits & follow-up activities
  • Giving feedback on your recruitment program
2. Screen Physician Candidates Carefully

Of course, a physician’s background, credentials and experience are important. But, you should also focus on their personal “qualifications” to see if they’ll be happy in your community. Even if your opening is their dream position, if they don’t like your facility’s area, or their family’s not onboard, you’ll likely lose them in just a few short years.

Vet the best fit for your opportunity by asking these questions during your screening interview:

  • What drew your attention to our opportunity? [Follow up]: Do you have any ties to our area?
  • What are the most important factors when making your decision–location, practice opportunity, compensation, hospital partner, lifestyle?
  • Part of your decision will tie back to what location feels most like home. What are you looking for in a community? [Follow up]: What lifestyle factors matter most to you and what do you like to do on weekends when you’re not on call?
  • Is there anyone else who will make this relocation decision with you? [Follow up, if yes]: What are they looking for in a community? Do they have any specific needs related to employment opportunities or community amenities?

Get more questions in our Candidate Recruitment Summary.

3. Reevaluate Your Site Visit Plan (Or Create One!)

Periodically reviewing the structure of your site visits–from a candidate’s perspective–can identify missed opportunities to put your organization’s best foot forward. Follow these steps to reevaluate how you plan, execute and follow up on your site visits.

Pre-visit prep:

  • Finalize the financial package
  • Create candidate’s profile–for a more personalized visit
  • Set your agenda per the preferences uncovered in the screening interview
  • Brief everyone involved about the candidate & their role in the visit

Pre-visit communications:

  • Have leadership interview the candidate & confirm they meet the job’s personal & professional criteria
  • Share all details about the practice, hospital & area with the physician
  • Use touchpoints to keep the physician excited about the position
  • Have a realtor contact the candidate (if desired) & arrange a community tour

Post-visit follow up:

  • Address any offer gaps & answer candidate’s questions & concerns
  • Create an executable contract & communicate the offer’s timeframe (in case the candidate has other visits scheduled)
  • Initiate weekly calls to candidate rotating between recruitment committee members
More Physician Retention Tips

This is just a quick overview of some of the tools and tactics you can take to recruit providers for retention. If you’d like a more detailed physician retention plan, download our free tool kit listed in right column of this blog.