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The future of physician employment


a recruiter hand with a magnifying glass over physician CVs Posted by Georgia Scott
a recruiter hand with a magnifying glass over physician CVs

It would be simple if physician recruiters could do open hiring, where the first person to apply for a position gets the job - regardless of experience. Unfortunately, that only works when hiring at orchards and rock quarries.

In the world of healthcare, who you hire can reverberate shockwaves through an organization and its surrounding patient community. For thoughtful, methodical recruitment, physician recruiters are compelled to scout based on competency - identifying candidates whose skills and values align with the organization’s needs, mission and vision.

Over the next few years, hiring goals will also be impacted by physician shortages, technology-enhanced workflows and smoldering embers over the noncompete clause. Here’s what physician recruiters need to know about the future of physician employment:

  1. Candidates won’t compromise
    Residents and fellows are increasingly aware they have the power to negotiate their contracts and are encouraged to think about how they want to live as much as what kind of practice they want to join. Additionally, angry voices on TikTok and in physician forums on Reddit have done much to illustrate the painful, agonizing side of physician life, while the pandemic-era physician exodus from toxic work environments showed healthcare organizations and the future physician workforce that working hard should be synonymous with working to death.

As a result, physician candidates will take advantage of the provider shortages to more heavily weigh opportunities based on their individual desires for uniquely challenging work, self-care, and a fulfilling home life. They will press recruiters and physicians currently at the organization to gauge the workplace environment, interaction between colleagues and how physicians are acknowledged.

Mentally tough coping skills

The shift toward wellness and self-awareness has switched coping skills from the more passive positive thinking and visualization, where physicians steeled their resolve in the face of burnout, to embracing more deliberate actions to take control of what’s controllable and walk away or find new opportunities if too much seems out of their control. That’s not to say they can’t handle difficult situations. It’s just that physicians are keener to exert their self-worth and recognize they have options when it seems like management or the healthcare organization is unyielding.

Alarm bells to overlook

While plenty of cautionary items such as spelling errors, not having done any research and arriving late to an interview are understandable full-stops for physician recruiters, there are some traditional red flags that could simply be written off as amber.

For instance, if the applicant applied weeks or even days before you call and they can’t immediately recall the name of your organization, that can reasonably be overlooked. The average person, particularly an active job seeker, can get tens of dozens of clicks, calls, texts, emails and other impressions a day. Physician recruiters should be understanding and take a moment to outline the organization and the job opportunity.

Another minor flag is a gap in the applicant’s work history. The mentality of living life on one’s own terms can sometimes breed intermittent, quality-of-life breaks. If the candidate has a gap in their work history, give them an opportunity to explain while also being on alert if they attempt to sidestep or avoid the question. 

  1. AI will assist with prescreenings

Innovations in recruitment platforms will be tasked with identifying and verifying applicants’ job-related skills, credentials and other prescreening requirements, sorting through large volumes of resumes, identifying suitable physician candidates and conducting preliminary assessments. This includes assessing their qualifications, experience, and likely retention and performance predictors.

Digital resumes

While static resumes such as downloadable PDF and Word documents aren’t going away anytime soon, physician candidates hoping to stand out will start using cloud-based digital resumes. These are dynamic online portfolios that update themselves using badges, graphs, and automatically calculated scores to represent the applicant’s capabilities and potential.

Specialized job portals

AI-enhanced portals use natural language processing and other algorithms to match candidates to job openings, considering hard skills, cultural fit and career goals. Niche physician recruitment companies such as PracticeLink are great for candidate sourcing and matching. These talent recruitment pipelines offer targeted recruitment marketing, engagement features like campaign broadcast emails and machine learning to identify potential candidates based on specific criteria such as qualifications, experience and specializations.

PracticeLink also hosts free virtual career fairs and employs teams of customer success managers to assist with effective job postings and descriptions, as well as provider relations specialists to conduct in-depth interviews. By utilizing specialized job portals, you’re ensured a constant pool of quality candidates, reducing the lengthy physician search and giving you a competitive edge in the talent landscape.

Generative AI

Generative AI, which uses machine learning to generate original content, allows physician recruiters to track, reach out to and engage applicants. AI works with your organization’s hiring requirements to generate deep insights beyond a candidate’s CV to deliver a comprehensive understanding of the candidate and their potential compatibility with the organization’s culture. These include online assessments, which analyze the physician candidate’s responses to provide insights into their skillset and potential job performance; competency mapping, which aims to present a perfect match between job requirements and candidate abilities by analyzing a candidate’s skills, knowledge and traits, and mapping them against the competencies required for the position; behavioral analysis by leveraging data to predict candidate behaviors, such as their work style, ability to handle stress or likelihood of team collaboration; predictive analytics forecast potential hiring outcomes by probing historical data and identifying patterns to predict applicant suitability within the organization and their likelihood of staying; and diversity and inclusion analytics which scours the candidate’s background and highlights potential biases.

Blockchain verifications

Blockchain technology will grow as a trusted recruitment ally because the chain of data that’s written to it cannot be deleted or altered. At the forefront of blockchain-based credential verification is MITs digital diploma, a coded, digital version of a graduate’s diploma that allows organizations to easily authenticate credentials.

Background checks to confirm the provider’s education, licensing, work experience, criminal history, civil court history, drug screenings, national sex offender search and more can also be written to blockchain-based recruitment and background verification platforms.

Automated next steps

Once an applicant is screened and ready to shift toward potential candidate, several automated platforms are emerging to assist with the next steps in the hiring process. Fully automated on-demand interviews prompt candidates to respond on camera to predetermined questions. Similar to phone interviews, questions are limited to no more than 12 and are usually open-ended, behavioral queries such as recent work experience, and motivation-related questions such as "Tell me what you’re passionate about?" and "Why do you want to work for our organization?"; automated reference checks quickly reach out to references, gather feedback through structured questionnaires and provide comprehensive reports; automated interview scheduling applications instantly match the availability of candidates and interviewers and also sends automatic reminders so no one forgets.

  1. Motivations will drive engagement

Physician recruiters and hiring organizations will continue their efforts to understand what motivates candidates and how those motivations align with their hiring goals.

Creative compensation packages

Regardless of the outcome of the FTC’s ruling to ban noncompete clauses, top physician talent will be wary of its inclusion in a contract. Here are creative ways to woo physician recruits while still protecting the hiring organization.

  • 401(k), 403(b) and 457 retirement plans where the percentage the organization matches activates and/or increases in intervals over time, such as after one, three and five years
  • Sign-on bonuses payable after the first year or first 18 months
  • Childcare/elderly parent support and flexibility
  • Stock options. These are more commonly associated with corporations; however, publicly traded hospitals (as opposed to private and university hospitals) may also offer stock options to their physicians
  • Contract wording that allows senior physicians to receive payments directly from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, publishing and speaking engagements
  • Employee referral incentives and annual bonuses
  • Employee sharing, where doctors are shared with other practices to help cover salaries
  • Reimbursed expenses for attending conferences
  • Cafeteria vouchers
  • End-of-year car maintenance reimbursement for long commutes
  • Home IT support for hybrid work
  • Student loan assistance and continued education incentives
  • Wellness programs such as gym memberships or mental health stipends

Continued efforts with current trends

Popular physician recruitment measures that will continue to gain traction include increased transparency, where the organization provides clear job descriptions, explains next steps in the recruitment process, offers feedback and makes conscientious efforts to be honest without being vague; work-life balance initiatives such as hybrid work arrangements and ways to integrate the physician’s personal life with their work life will continue to give organizations a competitive advantage; sentiment awareness, in which organizations and physician candidates are expected to be empathetic and mindful of their tone, language, and interactions to avoid any perception of bias; onboarding strategies that continuously review and improve those first three to six months of the physician’s job experience.

  1. New programs will be created

To help bring in new talent plus keep existing providers feeling valued, employment initiatives won’t stop once the contract is signed. Organizations will continue to implement schemes to find talent and maintain an efficient, personalized work experience.


Recruiters can start grooming future candidates with strong potential by proposing noncommittal shadow opportunities. Shadowing is commonplace for students before medical school but relatively rare for graduating residents and practicing providers. Savvy recruiters will change that by culling a willing roster of physicians in different specialties and presenting it to talent they want to bring in down the road.

Retention interviews

Sometimes called a stay interview, these are developed to engage and retain current providers. Championed by AAPPR, effective stay interviews gather feedback and insights from providers about their job satisfaction, career aspirations and overall experience within the organization.

Improved support and protections

A huge driver of provider stress and burnout stems from a lack of support, from support staff to actionable administrative and organizational support. Moving forward, physician employment will include measures to increase RNs and MAs as well as the use of telemedicine, patient-assistive AI and mentoring programs.


Organizations will also review and improve their policies on employee conflict resolution, commitments to employee safety, support toward hardship-impacted employees and mental health support.


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