If you’ve ever had reason to find a new physician, you know it can be frustrating at times. You might consider the physician’s credentials, reputation, personality, availability, and medical perspective (for example, does he have an aggressive or conservative approach to treatment or medication?), not to mention whether or not the one you find is in your insurance network. And if you’re looking for a certain type of physician, the current shortage of specific kinds of physicians may make it even more difficult to find the one you need.
Now, magnify the complexity of your search by adding in issues that come with hiring an employee, and you’ve got a little taste of what it’s like for a healthcare facility to find a new physician. The entire procedure can be time consuming and complicated, and if for some reason the candidate doesn’t end up taking the position, the process starts all over. Unfortunately, a practice manager or hospital administrator has other responsibilities as well, so their time cannot be focused entirely on finding another physician.
Enter the headhunters or recruiters. “Our clients, typically hospitals and medical practices, often call us after they have been looking for a while and have become frustrated in finding that perfect fit,” explains Michelle Houchin, CMPE, President of Adkisson Search Consultants (ASC), a firm specializing in recruiting physicians, advanced practitioners, and medical executives. “We put our full attention every day, 24/7, on finding the physician our client needs. They don’t call us if it’s easy,” Houchin adds.
“Our job as recruiters is to listen to our clients’ needs and find that person who is the right fit for them,” says Shannon McKay, Vice President at ASC. Ultimately, finding the right physician for the client leads to better patient care. In a typical recruitment scenario, ASC will do a site visit with the client and basically act like a candidate. “We’ll talk with all the integral people that will be involved, ask about specific skills they are looking for, find out about processes, hours, pay—anything that a candidate would want to know.” They then create a very detailed (typically several pages) job description that they can present to potential candidates.
Interested candidates sign a reference release form that enables ASC to do background and reference checks—all before an interview is even scheduled. This allows them to present the very best candidates for consideration by the client. “We don’t want our clients to waste time or money on a candidate who isn’t viable,” states Houchin, especially since the interview itself is a time-consuming and expensive process.
Potential candidates come from a variety of sources. ASC recruiters are constantly searching databases, making phone calls, attending job fairs, networking, and following up in order to find the physician who is exactly what the client wants. Some are new medical school graduates, some may be foreign physicians, others are “passive candidates”—meaning a person who has not posted on a job board, but is recruited based on a networking contact or cold call.
One of the biggest draws for potential candidates is the location of the job. “We always try to find a tie to the area—we want them to stay,” says Houchin. If that tie happens to be going “home,” so much the better. Sometimes, especially in situations in which the candidate is a foreign medical school graduate, the tie won’t be “home,” but perhaps similar to home. “We placed a physician from Ghana in a rural US setting—he loves it because Ghana is largely rural, so he feels at home and is very active in the community,” says McKay. Plus his patients and co-workers love him because he cares about and understands what rural communities face.
This exemplifies the goal at Adkisson Search Consultants: a physician who goes to a new position and stays, and a client who is happy to have that physician fill the position. In that respect, ASC is akin to a matchmaker—after all, finding that perfect fit is the reason they exist.
Wise, B., (2011) Finding Physicians that Fit: A Recruiter’s Goal. Bloomington, IL