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Understanding, managing and exceeding candidate expectations


As a recruiter, it's important to manage, and even exceed, physician candidate expectations. Posted by Alexandra Cappetta
As a recruiter, it's important to manage, and even exceed, physician candidate expectations.

You know what you expect going into the physician recruitment process. You’ll parse through possibly dozens of candidates, find one that stands out and make contact. From there, the rest will be history. Or will it?

Candidates also have certain expectations about how they will be recruited and onboarded. As their prospective employer, it’s important to make sure you are aware of what those expectations are, how you can manage them and, most importantly, how you can exceed them altogether.

Expectation #1: Transparency

Understand that candidates are intuitive, and they can often tell when there’s important information you’re tiptoeing around or withholding completely.

Get on eye-level with your prospect. Yes, there are many valuable and enticing things about your organization you’ll cover, but what challenges can you frame as opportunities? Has COVID-19 influenced productivity? Standards of operation? How has your team worked together to respond, and how has leadership supported its hires?

No organization or practice is perfect, but the harder you try to make yours appear that it is, the more likely candidates are to be suspicious of your authenticity. Share the best of your organization, but consider how touching on challenges and solutions could help you achieve transparency, and ultimately build trust with your candidates

Expectation #2: Answers to their questions

When candidates have questions about your opportunity, they expect you to be the ultimate go-to. Make sure you’re equipped with the most relevant information, so when they ask, you can provide well-thought and straightforward answers.

Some questions are easy to anticipate, like how you would describe the work environment, what you look for in terms of staff and what your organization values. Others may be more difficult, such as, "Why has this particular position opened up? What prompted the previous physician to seek other options?" When these questions are raised, you can appeal to your candidates with transparency, and doing so might pleasantly surprise them.

Whether the position is open because the physician wanted to pursue a different practice type, another location or they just didn’t jibe with the culture, be direct. You might respond with something like, "That particular physician felt their style and personality wasn’t the right fit for our organization. We never like to see physicians go, but it opens the door for candidates like you who think they might be a better fit." Not only have you answered their tough question, but you’ve also brought it full-circle and framed it as potential for them.

Expectation #3: Strong communication

Many people think of "good" communicators as those who know how much or how little to reach out, the diction or tone used or even the methods of extending communication. While this is part of it, one of the most important aspects of being a strong communicator is clarity, which candidates will expect from you.

Over-complicating any information you’re trying to relay with too much (or too little) detail will only add uncertainty for your candidates, and it’s likely your message will lose touch with its original meaning.

Before sending, read your messages through the lens of your candidate. It can be easy to instinctively use jargon that’s more familiar to you than them, but make sure you’re not speaking over their heads. Also be sure you’ve checked (and double-checked) your messages to avoid any copy and pasting errors, typos or other issues that could confuse or subtract from what you want to express.

Expectation #4: Boundaries

Imagine you’ve just been on a first date. It went well, there was a promising connection but, afterward, you get repeated messages asking about the next time you can get together. It feels like they’re coming on too strong before you can even process the experience.

This is what many desirable candidates experience from recruiters who have taken a strong interest. Candidates expect recruiters to reach out - and it’s a necessary step of the recruitment process - but you want to ensure you’re not overwhelming them - or their inbox.

Simply put, don’t be a clingy recruiter; make yourself available, and certainly never ignore your prospects, but avoid overstepping to the point where they become annoyed or uninterested. They anticipate your recognition of the balance as you guide their candidate experience.

Expectation #5: Promptness

While boundaries are essential to avoid scaring away your candidates, you want to make sure you aren’t the one responsible for leaving a conversation hanging too long. Make a point to respond as quickly as possible, and if you can answer questions in advance - or those you see coming - take the opportunity to get ahead of them. This will free both your inboxes of one-liner email threads and give you more time to discuss what matters most in detail.

Promptness is a big expectation candidates have of recruiters. It indicates enthusiasm - about the candidate, the opportunity you have to offer and the possibility of combining the two. Make sure you’re ready to respond so your candidate can keep their search moving - hopefully, in your direction.


We’re here to help! For more information and additional guidance for assessing your candidates’ expectations or physician recruitment strategy contact


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