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November 10, 2020

Recruiting in a virtual world

Virtually everyone has taken some type of personality test as part of a job search, team-building exercise or simply out of curiosity. Whatever the test, it’s a pretty sure bet the results for physician recruiters reveal a propensity for relationship building and spending time with others.

Months of being physically distanced and likely working remotely may lead to feelings of being more alone than ever. Fortunately, technology allows us to remain connected to family and friends, and continue seeking, meeting and hiring physicians and advanced practice providers for your organization.

No one knows for sure how long these COVID safety measures will remain necessary. Even when they subside, a lot of those temporary virtual solutions will likely become a part of your permanent long-term strategy in the new normal.

As you plan for 2021, review your successes and challenges over the past year to determine which virtual tools should have a more permanent place in your physician recruitment strategy to help you find candidates, move them through the recruitment funnel, and ultimately hire and onboard them into your organization.

Shift your recruitment to adapt in a virtual world.

Finding candidates

Career fairs became one of the most noticeable networking shifts in 2020, converting from live events to virtual ones. This transition will continue in 2021.

While they lack the intimacy of meeting in person, virtual events have their advantages. They often expand your candidate pool and, depending on the platform, allow you to prescreen candidates to identify better matches and chat with multiple candidates at once. They can also give you the ability to customize your booth to provide the candidate experience you desire.

Many other core tools - online job boards, internet searches, networking with graduate medical education programs - used to find candidates remain the same even when travel and face-to-face interactions are limited or impossible. While the tools may not change, you should consider how you’re using them to get the best possible results.

Job boards

If you’re hiring for open positions, you’re almost certainly posting jobs. The quantity and quality of your job postings have a direct effect on the quantity and quality of the candidates applying to those opportunities. Consider posting all of your available positions, and ensure your postings include details that help distinguish your opportunities from the same openings at other organizations.

Also look for features that may help find candidates faster, like options to feature job postings or designate them as rapid response needs. This could more quickly get your posting in front of qualified, interested candidates.

Candidate databases

Continue to search active candidate databases for likely fits, and email opportunities to passive candidates taking a stealthier approach to their job search. Also, look for new database options that can expand your reach to virtually all residents, fellows, physicians, APPs and even GME programs.

Navigating the recruitment funnel

Virtual recruiting starts to look more different as prospects become candidates and candidates become applicants. Fostering those relationships will eventually lead to face-to-face meetings. The steps to get there, though, could continue to be virtual to ensure any travel and interaction is reserved for only the best candidates and applicants.

Shift your recruitment to adapt in a virtual world.

Look for ways to keep your candidates moving through the funnel, even if physically distanced for a little longer:

  • Use all communication options at your disposal - Be available and accommodating. As anxious as the experience has been for you, think about the feelings your candidates may be experiencing as they navigate their job search and possibly relocation. Remind them you’re a resource for them, and utilize the communication channels available to you, whether it’s providing updates or confirming appointments through email or quickly providing answers via an instant message system.
  • Nurture candidate relationships - As you build your candidate pipeline, look for opportunities to provide educational and awareness information. These may be materials from your organization about your facilities and culture, tips based on your own experience or research, or free educational materials on your community or the job-search process.
  • Video interviews - Though most hires will involve a face-to-face interview at some point - unless the applicant is familiar with the area or organization - video interviews could continue to be used for earlier screenings. Ensure they’ll run smoothly by confirming you have a strong internet connection and your organization’s representatives are familiar with the system. Also prepare your candidate for a virtual interview by detailing the process and what to expect when they join the call. If the situation warrants, offer to set up a test-run with the candidate before the actual call.


You found a few great candidates. One emerged as a front-runner and you’ve made the hire. Time to put the virtual tools away, right? Not necessarily.

Many organizations implemented virtual processes even after the hire, including virtual onboarding. Whether it’s through a series of calls or online courses, rethinking the onboarding process in this way can take care of paperwork and introduce your organization’s culture before your new hire is on-site. So when they finally do arrive, those first few hours and days can be focused on the staff and responsibilities.

Also keep in mind information that can help ease their mind and smooth the transition. Provide updates on recent news and happenings at the organization. Help them understand how they’ll fit within the team and what to expect when they begin. Were there measures put in place during the coronavirus pandemic that may be removed later? What services are available to learn about the facility and community? Are there any mentoring, counseling or growth opportunities for them to access and more quickly acclimate?


We’re here to help!

Contact to discuss more solutions for your physician recruitment needs.

Drew Terry

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