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January 12, 2022

Questions to ask during your 2022 strategic planning

As the challenges and opportunities of 2021 came to an end, you may have found a moment to sit back and exhale.

And then your mind started thinking, "Well, what about the coming year? What will 2022 bring? Are we prepared for whatever direction it takes us?"

While none of us has that proverbial crystal ball in hand, there are some steps one can take - and lots of questions to ask - to lessen the stress and prepare for a successful 2022.

First, take a step back from the day-to-day work. Start at the beginning, meaning work through all aspects of your provider recruitment process. If you bring an open mind, and possibly a set of fresh eyes from a colleague to the table, a review of the existing steps, procedures and processes may prove to be enlightening.

Questions like, "How did we come to take this approach?" or, "Why was that particular procedure added to the process?" and, "Does it still make sense for it to be there?" are worthy of consideration and discussion.

Throughout this exercise, it will be helpful to keep in mind the successes and the misses that occurred during the past year of your recruitment efforts. And to ask the pertinent questions to determine what - if anything - needs to change for a more successful 2022.

Job requisition

If the first step is awareness of a new physician need for the organization or group, think about how that occurs. For example, is there a form to be completed by the requesting practice/group/entity?

If it’s word-of-mouth, maybe establishing a form to capture the pertinent information would shorten the initial step of communicating the need. If there is a form already utilized, does it include all the appropriate fields to be completed, or are there opportunities to enhance the form? If it needs to be enhanced, would it benefit from some simple modifications and being streamlined, or should it be expanded to include information not currently captured but necessary for recruitment efforts to commence?

Also, how are open positions prioritized so the focus of the recruiter or recruitment team is aligned with the organization’s most critical needs? In some instances, needs may be addressed on a first-come, first-served basis, while in other situations an individual or an oversight team may solicit input from the appropriate senior leaders to set the recruitment priority.

Dividing recruitment responsibilities

How are search needs divided within the provider recruitment area? Does each recruiter take responsibility for a certain number of searches, or do recruiters focus on specifically assigned specialties? Whatever the current approach, does it need to be reviewed and possibly modified to accommodate other changes that could have happened within the organization or across the industry during the past year?

Job posting details

What about the position descriptions? Is there a consistent approach for the organization’s needs, or is each position description written independently by various individuals? If it’s the latter, is there a cohesive approach that conveys the group’s or organization’s mission? If not, would there be a benefit to having that type of approach incorporated into the coming year’s recruitment process?

Candidate interview prep

a physician recruiter screening candidate CVs

How successful have the initial candidate screenings been? Have they resulted in qualified, engaged candidates who readily moved to the next step in the process? Are the right individuals involved in the initial screening process? Should that process be streamlined?

What about the in-person interview process? Assuming your organization has been able to resume in-person interviews, how is that working? Is everything ready upon the arrival of the candidate (e.g. hotel reservations, agenda provided in advance to the candidate, as well as available in the hotel room - along with a welcoming gift basket of some type)? Is the candidate’s significant other and/or family involved in the visit? Has that agenda been prepared and provided to all staff involved? Have arrangements been made for at least one social activity that minimally involves the candidate?

From the employer’s standpoint, are the appropriate individuals included in the interview schedule? Are there too many administrators and not enough clinicians meeting with the candidate? Is there sufficient time built into the schedule that allows the candidate to get a real sense of the team within the clinic, group or department that is recruiting to fill the position? What type of feedback have candidates from the past year provided as it relates to their interview experience?

Decision-making process

Another area for review is the decision process. Who provides input once the candidate has completed the interview process? How is that input gathered and communicated internally? Who is the decision-maker that makes the final go/no-go determination? Is that clear to all involved parties?

Has there been a single point of contact for the candidate throughout the process? If so, does that individual circle back to the candidate to communicate interest in extending an offer? Or does that individual make the candidate aware the organization will not be continuing the process with that candidate?

Post-recruitment activities

Regardless of the outcome of the candidate’s experience, is a post-mortem conducted? If not, this is an opportune method to collect feedback while it is still fresh in the minds of the involved parties. And, if something needs to be addressed and modified, by including this step in the process, it allows that modification to occur quickly and, hopefully, avoid any repetitive missed opportunities along the way.

Once the search has been successfully completed, it is always beneficial to obtain the new physician’s feedback about the process. Having recently experienced the recruitment efforts, the physician may provide helpful insight into how their expectations were met and/or where an opportunity exists to provide an even better outcome for the next candidate.

Recognizing that each candidate brings a unique experience to the recruitment process and each interview has its own unique elements, taking the time to pull back and reflect on the consistent elements in the recruitment process will often reap rewards that set everyone up for an even more successful new year. And we, at PracticeLink, hope yours is Happy and Healthy!

Read PracticeLink Articles by Maureen Zvanut

Maureen Zvanut



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