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December 23, 2020

How does your offer compare?

One of the best feelings for a recruiter is ending the recruitment process with a signed contract and agreed-upon start date.

Physicians and advanced practice providers are the frontline workers for treatment, but when it comes to finding, vetting and ultimately hiring them, recruiters man the front lines.

The role can come with a lot of pressure. And while making a hire is among the best feelings, one of the worst is the prospect of starting the process over after negotiations break down with a preferred candidate.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the chance of that occurring and instead receive a signed contract and excited new hire eager to begin their new role.

How does your offer compare to that of competitors?

Consider the competition

Are you familiar with other health systems’ hiring practices and customary offers and approaches to the job search? A competitive analysis can help reveal their approach and how you stack up in the marketplace, whether it’s areas where you outshine others or those with room for improvement.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting an analysis:

  1. Identify your competitors. Consider other organizations in your vicinity as well as similar-sized ones across the country, particularly in comparable cities. Also look at organizations to whom you may consistently lose candidates and those you admire.
  2. Learn salaries and benefits. By knowing these details, you’ll have a better idea whether your organization’s compensation options need updating or if there are other areas to identify for improvement to get your candidates to sign. Look for organization-specific information, and also use resources like the S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to stay up to date on median income for specific specialties and for state and metropolitan statistical area details.
  3. Note the presentation. Review your competitors’ websites and social media channels. Is the layout clear and engaging or cluttered and uninspired? Note whether the images help support the message or feel disconnected. As for the message, does it promote their mission and accomplishments without sounding arrogant?

Also explore their physician application process to gauge the user experience. The more you understand their process, the better you can see how your organization measures up.

Know the right numbers

It’s natural to want to build a contract that supports an organization’s financial health. From a physician’s standpoint, it’s understandable to want the highest possible compensation considering the years of training and associated expenses, the importance of the job and their focus on long-term wealth planning.

Assume they’ve researched what similar peers earn in the position to avoid making what may be considered an unrealistic low offer. In addition to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, other organizations like the Medical Group Management Association offer annual reports with a comprehensive view of provider compensation and trends.

When forming the offer package, account for your system’s pay scale vs. your competitors. Also factor in the area’s cost of living and your candidate’s experience, accomplishments and likely responsibilities. Understanding motive can also help determine what may be acceptable. Is it their first practice? Are they leaving a bad one? Are they relocating to be closer to family?

Also consider the associated costs of a vacant position, including recruitment and interview expenses, lost revenue and the pressure on existing and contracted staff. Overtime also strains your current employees, and temporary help requires a learning curve.

How is to recruit is another aspect that warrants a little more flexibility when building a contract.

Active listening throughout the recruitment process can also help alleviate contract challenges. Ask questions about candidates’ expectations and needs as you develop your relationship. Note their reaction, body language and word choice in their responses. The goal is to avoid surprising them with your offer’s details.

No matter the amount of research you do, you still can’t control whether your candidate will catch you off guard with unreasonable demands. In case that occurs, have an idea of your organization’s maximum offer and at what point you’re willing to break off negotiations.

Look for unique perks

Every town, organization and doctor is different. Based on your local amenities, the candidate’s interests and the organization’s access, look for local memberships and subscriptions that appeal to your candidate. In addition to providing a unique benefit, it adds a personal touch that helps strengthen the relationship between the physician and organization.

Be a go-to destination

Your competitive edge may be culture, not just incentives. According to MedScape’s 2020 Physician Compensation Report, participating physicians listed the amount of rules and regulations as their number-one challenge, followed by working long hours and dealing with an electronic health records system. Your organization’s ability to assist with some of these factors - plus a reputation for being physician-focused and friendly - can be an attractive option to the physicians who’d rather focus on what they love most about the job: relationships with their patients.

Read PracticeLink articles by Drew Terry

Drew Terry

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