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Reaching out to potential physician candidates


fingers on a laptop keyboard reaching out to potential physician candidates Posted by Georgia Scott
fingers on a laptop keyboard reaching out to potential physician candidates

There are more than 6000 hospitals and hundreds of thousands of physician practices across America. Nearly all of them have physician recruiters, working tirelessly behind the scenes to find the right fit for each vacancy. This is no quick-and-easy task. According to the physician strategy firm, Marketware, it takes an average of four and a half months to hire a physician. Every placement begins with the simple act of reaching out. Easy as it might be, reaching out can be as exhausting as it is rewarding, with no way to predict if it will lead to signing on a new hire or fizzle out as just an exploratory conversation.  

However, there are steps you can take to ensure you are making the most out of reaching out to potential physician candidates.

Manage alerts for new registrants and relevant leads

New job seekers register on PracticeLink every day, often with larger numbers joining soon after specialty conferences. Take advantage of PracticeLink’s features, such as Daily Candidate Messenger emails with new registrants who match your criteria and exclusive conference leads.

According to the American Association of Physician Leadership, candidates should be called quickly, preferably within two days after the candidate submits their CV. Even if the full hiring process can take months, a prompt initial response can help secure top talent, create a positive impression and maintain the healthcare organization’s image.

Research before making contact

Compare the candidate’s profile with your checklist of core requirements and questions, such as: 

Do they meet the required skills for the position?

Can they perform the procedures needed?

Do they have the necessary certifications, credentials, etc.?

Consider how the presentation, writing and content of the resume shed light not only on the candidate’s job history but also their personality and organizational skills.

Check the "in-depth interview" portion of their physician/APP profile to see if the candidate has completed a pre-interview. This useful feature from PracticeLink delves into why they became a doctor, chose their specialty, desire a specific geographic location and other insights.

Evaluate your introduction

Whether it’s your very first time reaching out to a physician candidate -  or you’ve been doing it for years - it never hurts to prepare a solid introduction that spends a few seconds giving your name and the name of the healthcare organization.

Mention the point of connection and why you’re calling. For instance, you received their application and want to follow up, you saw their profile and would like to find out more or you’re acting on a referral and are hoping to gather more information.  

Keep an outline of important points

Talking points help physician recruiters stay on track when reaching out to potential candidates. While the initial conversation shouldn’t be stiff, a clear structure can ensure all essential information is covered. The outline should include relevant data and helpful information about the organization, such as any awards and recognitions, the names of the medical director and head of the department, a competitive salary range, the shift they’re hiring for, how many physicians are in the department, support staff and what the community is like.

When initially reaching out, avoid topics or situations that could be misinterpreted or lead to conflict. Gradually ease into difficult questions like biases.

Call at the optimum time

Reaching out at the right time - and sometimes even the right day - can mean the difference between having an immediate conversation or having to wait for a response. Send emails early in the morning and evening when physician candidates (other than nocturnists and other night-shift doctors) are the least preoccupied. Emails on Sunday also yield quicker responses because people are bombarded more frequently during the week.

When reaching out by phone, physician candidates are more likely to pick up calls between 10AM and 11AM and tend to shut down after 4PM.

Be enthusiastic

It is critical the contact person is enthusiastic, positive and good at meeting new people. Enthusiasm can be infectious. Additionally, it gives the impression you like your job and believe in the work you’re doing. It gives you the motivation to keep reaching out to one candidate after another and helps create momentum for the conversation.

Don’t take it personally

If a job seeker doesn’t get a response for weeks after submitting their application, it should be understandable they may not immediately recall your healthcare organization. Just take a moment to review the job post and allow them time to remember.


Stay on track

Keep questions, answers and comments tightly focused so 10 to 15 minutes is all that’s needed for you and the physician to showcase your best assets and decide if the other is what you’re looking for. Longer conversations should be reserved for candidates with strong potential and interest in becoming recruits.



Listen to what the candidate has to say without criticism or judgement. If they mention a concern or even a passion, don’t dismiss it. Ask follow-up questions so you can get a better understanding of what’s important to them. Show you can be attentive and supportive, and that your organization might be able to come up with a compromise. If you don’t have an answer or clear response right away, make a note to follow up.

Additionally, people often reveal their true selves without even knowing it. Pay attention to how the physician treats you and perhaps other people in the background. Also, try to gauge if they can fit in with the overall culture of the organization.

Be clear about next steps

After hanging up, is that the end of it or should the job seeker expect further contact?  Will it be a phone call or email - and within what timeframe? Clear expectations show respect for the candidate’s time, help prevent misunderstandings, promote an understanding of how the organization operates and provide a positive foundation for future conversations.


It takes time and preparation to effectively reach out to potential physician candidates. In doing so, physician recruiters are able to match the right candidate with their healthcare organization, helping to build a cohesive team of colleagues and ensure the surrounding community has a new neighbor they can go to and depend on.


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