Finding the ideal physician for your oncology practice can be a challenging but extremely important task. The recruiting process takes time and patience. To help, ASCO provides the following tips to help guide the process.
- Cast a wide net—Don’t limit your recruitment efforts to one or two or even four channels. The internet is the most convenient way to attract active and passive job seekers. But, which job boards are most likely to yield fruit? Ask peers about what’s worked for them. Build your own portfolio on go-to sites, including the ASCO Career Center. Career fairs, both in-person and virtual, can provide immediate access to potential candidates. Are there trade publications and journals that your perfect candidate is likely to read? If so, consider placing classifieds in each. Explore social media, particularly LinkedIn and Doximity, which gives you access to CVs for physicians who may not be seeking a new opportunity, but might consider a move for the right opportunity.
- Think globally, not locally—In light of the current shortage of doctors, don’t limit your search to only U.S.-trained oncologists. If you can sponsor work visas, consider foreign medical school graduates who completed accredited post-residency and fellowship programs in the United States. By expanding your search, you vastly increase your potential access to a viable candidate pool.
- Allow sufficient time to fill a position—Backing yourself into a corner by setting a strict deadline to fill a vacant position can result in the practice not hiring the right candidate. Be patient and wait to find a candidate whose skills, experience, and temperament fits your organization’s needs and culture. Better to leave a position open longer than you’d like and hire the right individual than to rush to hire a recruit you are unsure about and be back to the drawing board a year later.
- Develop an internal compensation strategy, but be flexible in negotiations—Outline a compensation model that works for your practice, accounts for specifics (including performance incentives and quality metrics), and is competitive in the market—but, don’t set that model in stone. If the right candidate comes along, you want wiggle room for negotiations.
- Identify and highlight benefits outside of compensation—Yes, salary is important, but it isn’t everything. Your practice may offer additional benefits that can tilt the scale in your favor, so highlight them from your first conversation with a candidate. Perhaps you offer an excellent relocation package or a strong loan forgiveness program? Maybe you can make up for a lower starting salary by providing a competitive commencement or signing bonus? If your practice places an emphasis on a healthy life-work balance, use that to your advantage. Finally, develop a formal orientation and mentoring program to aid in retention and solidify a better understanding of the potential benefits of your practice to a physician’s career.
- Build trust from Day One—Always remember that retention starts with recruitment and a strong relationship is key to both. Your first impression, starting with the written job description, needs to be one of consistent professionalism and transparency. During all communications, whether on a phone call or via email, you should answer all questions to the best of your ability. Don’t promise anything your practice cannot provide. Outline the positives, but don’t gloss over what the candidate may see as negatives. Most important, listen and respond thoughtfully to the candidate. How you communicate matters.
- Utilize the entire care team—Some of your strongest allies in recruiting may be right under your nose. Don’t just introduce a candidate to the leadership of the group, but include members of the entire team. This gives the candidate exposure to the team’s culture, mission and values. Have your PA or RN, for example, give a tour of the clinic, hospital or floor, and later follow up via a quick phone call or email. In the end, candidates need to have good chemistry with the individuals they will be working alongside. Leverage your existing team’s passions and experiences.
- Understand what experience level you need—Not all positions are created equal, so you must identify the level of experience and qualifications necessary for the specific position. Not only is this essential for your practice to successfully satisfy internal staffing needs, but candidates also want a clear understanding of expectations and responsibilities so they are not blindsided later.
- Know your local market and the dynamics of the geographic region— Showcase your community by highlighting what makes it special. Is your town known for something unique? Do you have an annual festival? Are there historical attractions or seasonal activities that can’t be found elsewhere? If so, let the candidate know. Don’t forget lifestyle. If your area offers unique advantages the candidate is seeking—perhaps, proximity to family and friends or recreational activities they want to pursue—reiterate those elements in your interactions.
These tips were provided by Stephanie Hutchens, president of the Mid-Atlantic Physician Recruiter Alliance and a physician recruiter at Valley Health Plan/Sentara RMH Medical Center