Don’t Put Hard Requirements on a Required Start Date: It’s a common mistake to pass on an interested physician candidate because he or she is not available to start work within the timeframe that is most beneficial to the recruiting hospital or clinic. Ideally, you will want to fill every job within the necessary timeframe, but physician recruiting isn’t always a process that will work out exactly as desired or planned.
Here is a common scenario: A longtime physician unexpectedly resigns his/her position in July, and your hospital administrators insist that this physician must be replaced within the next 90 days. Some administrators may even direct their in-house recruiters to not recruit residents or other candidates who are not able to meet the deadline. This is a big problem because only about 10% of practicing physicians will switch jobs during a given year, which means 90% of those who do take new jobs are residents who usually won’t be available until the following summer. Also, even most practicing physicians are on a contract cycle that was started when they finished residency, making them available only for a few months during late summer or early fall.
Restricting your candidates and interviews only to physician candidates who can start almost immediately is one of the biggest reasons why some physician jobs end up taking a year or more to fill. A better approach is to pursue all candidates who meet your needs, regardless of timing. Be honest with candidates about the timeframe you need, but also reassure them that they are a great fit, and if the need still exists when they get closer to being available, you will be ready to aggressively recruit them. You’ll have to focus on the goal your boss has set for you, but as the hospital’s recruiting expert, you should be able to justify at least staying in contact with these other candidates as a way of covering your bases.
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