COVID-19 has changed the way we recruit physicians. I have seen similar titles on posts and articles regarding how physician recruitment has changed for several months.
First, physician recruiting in and of itself has not changed. As a recruiter, have you ever had someone ask you what you did for a living - not what your title is, but what you do, and then look at you after answering the question with a puzzled look?
I started in the days long ago, as in the "if you wanted your CV to be received by the employer fast, you had to use FedEx" days. It was exciting when the large recruiting firm I worked for was one of the few firms that started to use a fax machine, the kind that had the paper on rolls and the printed words would eventually fade away.
Of course, things have evolved, and even employment agreement signatures can be binding over email! Have there been changes over the past year? Yes, but there are still some principles that have stood the test of time. Here is some of what has changed, and what has remained the same about recruitment.
Screening your candidate
Old Days - We would look at someone’s CV, then pick up the phone and call them.
Current Way - We look at someone’s CV and email them. Email may work great to ensure the doctor still has some interest in your position, but you must also make a phone call, and don’t procrastinate. You know how quickly time passes and how fast a hot candidate can become a cold one.
2020 Change - Screening a candidate should not have changed because of COVID; you still need to screen a candidate’s interest. The candidate’s interest may have changed from wanting the metro area to being closer to family. Many of us realized how important our family is to us outside our four walls and have missed the opportunity to be closer.
Paying attention to the candidate’s significant other
Old Days - We paid attention to the significant other, but we used different words. In those days, the wife or husband’s career was discussed but not focused on because the physician’s career always came first.
Current Way - You must pay attention to the significant other and the whole family. If you do not, you will lose the potential placement; if you get lucky and get the placement, but don’t discuss the significant other in the beginning, the likelihood of your doctor staying long term is slim. You’re probably thinking, "I know this already!" However, it is easy to get excited when you see a perfect fit, and the significant other becomes the last person discussed when he or she should be among the first.
2020 Change - This is a big change. In 2020 I saw the significant other play an equal or major role in recruiting. His or her decision is as important or more important because of the way COVID-19 has changed the lives of us all, primarily health care providers.
Old Days - Interviewing a physician was something you did to confirm everything discussed ahead of time. There should be no discovery on the interview. For me, this is normal; this is the way I was taught to recruit.
Current Way - I think seasoned and well-trained newer recruiters know this makes the most sense; however, I have seen many situations where, under pressure, recruiters will use this opportunity to show activity to a hospital group with a hard-to-fill position. Avoid this. You are wasting your interviewing budget, your time and the group’s time. Show them the CVs you have and send them notes you took and the reasons you believe the doctor would not be a good fit.
2020 Change - The COVID-19 blessing in the recruiting industry is virtual interviews. In my 20-plus years of recruiting, I have had only one client employer willing to do a video call interview. Now it is the new normal. Virtual interviews are a great way to tap into resources without overspending recruiting budgets. This is also good for the environment and saves everyone valuable time.