Create a Game Plan for Recruiting During the Physician Shortage

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It’s not just the FQHC market that shows an increasing shortage of primary care providers. All subsets of the healthcare field are struggling to find doctors and other clinical teams to fill positions in all kinds of facilities. We know this shortage will only grow worse as markets tighten through the physician and healthcare clinical staffing shortages predicted through 2025. Physician recruitment in particular, will be increasingly difficult, so HR teams must create new strategies for filling roles during these challenging times.

Top Strategies for Physician Recruiting in 2019

We now know the physician shortages will be in a few key subspecialty areas, including internists and family practice doctors. It is anticipated that signing bonuses and salaries will increase as the markets tighten and grow more competitive.

Too, geography will remain a challenge, with rural FQHCs struggling to attract talent, particularly in states like Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, and Wyoming, the states with the lowest ratio of physicians to patients.

To fill these roles, start with a strategy for defining the need by planning ahead. Don’t wait to fill roles when the need is urgent, instead, start now and staff up ahead of demand. Assemble a hiring team or recruitment committee with representation from the various service lines, including nursing and primary care, as well as recruiting or HR. These teams should meet regularly and have a specific charter and task list so nothing is missed. It’s important for responsibilities to be defined within this group with one key player “owning” the candidate relationship overall.

Having a sense of urgency will also help you move candidate physicians to the employed category; respond quickly to inquiries and push the interview process, instead of drawing it out. This is where the planning process will come in handy; you will be able to move faster because roles have been defined in advance and the hiring team can act like a well-organized recruitment machine.

You should also discard the old-school hiring process of assembling a qualified pool of candidates, and then making one offer at the end of the process. The vetting should be continuous and each candidate should be handled as an individual workflow, not as part of the group. That’s because your first two candidates could grow impatient waiting for your team to finish interviewing the next application in the pool. Your hiring pool is not likely deep; as physicians are high in-demand and may not wait around for your process to complete itself.

Make sure the on-site interview shows your facility in its best light. Other clinicians should know a candidate is coming and you should woo both the candidate and their spouse, sharing details on the community and facility as you welcome them to your organization and community. If you like the physician candidate enough to bring them on-site, make an effort to impress them and be sure that they know their presence is appreciated.

Finally, offer an attractive incentive package to your selected doctor to seal the deal and ensure no time is wasted on a candidate that walks away. Have the contract ready and waiting for their review the day you make the offer. Then close the deal and put the physician to work.

As today’s leading provider of talent to the FQHC market, we bring 20 years of experience recruiting physician candidates. Contact our top healthcare recruiters today for more information.

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