You’ve probably noticed announcements regarding a physician retiring. You may have seen a similar announcement about a new physician joining a practice. But have you ever wondered about the process that goes into filling positions in the medical field? It’s not always easy, especially given the current physician shortage. Recruiting firms often assist hospitals and medical practices in this somewhat complicated process. Adkisson Search Consultants (ASC), a local recruiting firm, has many clients nationwide that are repeat customers for finding and placing physicians, advanced practitioners, or medical executives.
Michelle Houchin, CMPE, President of ASC, believes the high quality of the people they present as candidates for various positions is one of the main reasons so many clients turn to them to find new physicians. The recruiters at ASC go through a detailed process of determining what the hospital or practice wants and needs and then searches for the best candidate to interview. In short, they recruit top notch physicians with the best skills and career aspirations to fill the positions offered by their clients. Bringing the two together is what ASC does best.
“Our goal is one candidate, one interview, one offer,” says Shannon McKay, Vice President at ASC, “although realistically that doesn’t happen every time. We do know, however, that if we offer three really great candidates, one of them will be the perfect fit.”
In addition to the business of physician recruitment, ASC is happy to serve as consultants to clients who are thinking about hiring a new physician, either due to the growth of the practice or because one of the current physicians is leaving. Because the process may be somewhat lengthy, Houchin advises clients to start the recruiting process sooner rather than later. “We can’t promise a specific timeline to get candidates,” she explains. “If a practice or hospital administrator knows that one of the physicians is going to retire in two years, it’s not too early to start recruiting now—don’t wait until six months out.”
The recruiters at ASC are constantly on the phone speaking to people and gleaning information that will be useful to their clients when they are ready to hire. “We are out there talking to people, finding out what the market is like,” McKay explains. This up-to-the minute trend analysis allows ASC to help clients in many ways; one way involves creative payment strategies for retaining the new physician.
For example, clients may offer stipends or sign-on and start bonuses. Some hospitals offer student loan forgiveness, meaning they will pay a fixed amount per year to pay down school loans. Relocation assistance, vacation time, time off for continuing education programs, 401K packages, and health insurance are all typical components of attractive offers as well.
Interestingly enough, ASC fulfills more than just being the middleman/matchmaker role between clients and candidates. “We do it all,” says Houchin. “At times we are the advisor, fashion consultant, realtor, researcher, problem-solver…and more!”
Coaching the client and candidates of things that may seem unnecessary but can help in making a difference, such as reminding the client to call the candidate. Medical practices are busy treating and caring for their patients, so the additional task of contacting a candidate can be overwhelming in light of the daily duties of meeting the needs of patients. They simply need to be reminded sometimes.
On the other side of the table, ASC helps candidates prepare as well. McKay shares, “They are well prepared in their clinical skills, but for 8-10 years, they’ve been told what to do because of the educational path they’ve taken. Sometimes we have to remind them to show an interest in the position…and even to dress appropriately for the interview.”
Working with both the client and the candidate to find a perfect match is exactly what ASC does. “We know the market because we’re out there talking with people every day,” says McKay. “We’re experts on what you need to do to get a perfect candidate.” Matching the client and the candidate regarding specialty, location, and pay are the biggest factors to consider. When they all dovetail nicely, it’s a perfect fit…and patients ultimately benefit!
Wiese, B., (2011) Matching Physicians with the Right Practice: The Recruiter’s Job. Bloomington, IL.