HealthFebruary 22, 2023

Enhancing engagement in physician recruiting

A competitive guide to connecting, interacting, and building relationships with prospective hires.

In today’s job economy, physicians expect more

As physician recruiters compete in an increasingly difficult job market, they must use a combination of methods and approaches to engage and then acquire new physicians effectively. But distinguishing their organizations and open positions requires candidate engagement centered on relationship building rather than messaging alone.

Recruiters sometimes only leverage professional publications with specialty-specific content to draw physicians’ attention to their organizations and available positions. Similarly, recruiters only seek out job boards with high concentrations of candidates. But recruiters often struggle to cultivate sustainable relationships with new candidates via these channels—beyond simply broadcasting advertisements or job postings alone.

In this guide, we explore how physician recruiters can use a combination of methods to target, attract, and engage physicians in ways that lead to successful hires. Most importantly, we demonstrate how recruiters and department leaders can sustain relationships with candidates on their journey into and throughout their new roles.

Physician recruitment is growing more competitive

Healthcare organizations are struggling to attract new staff after facing unprecedented levels of burnout and growing resignations over the past two years. “Nearly two-thirds of doctors are experiencing at least one symptom of burnout, a huge increase from before the pandemic,” The New York Times reports. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) found that 40% of medical firms experienced early retirements among physicians due to burnout in 2022.

Increasingly, these organizations are not only competing with other healthcare establishments, but they are also competing with other industries because highly skilled physicians are leaving the field. “Frustrations run so high that more than half of the physicians in a national survey have considered leaving the profession in recent years,” a Fierce Healthcare article reports. This is due in part to the perceived failures of the institutions that employ them: “About 39% of doctors said they don’t think their facility supports a healthy work-life balance,” the article continues. MGMA also reports an increase in early retirements, resignations, and physicians leaving the field altogether.

Institutions now face a perfect storm of recruitment and retention challenges associated with physicians, not to mention healthcare providers more broadly. As a result, physician recruiters need more nuanced techniques to engage candidates effectively.

Recruiters must take a more targeted approach

Fortunately, recruiters can adopt new marketing best practices, leverage high-impact environments with high concentrations of physician candidates, become a resource to physicians, and build relationships with candidates as those prospective hires continue their education and seek out the next step in their careers.

Opportunities at a glance:

  • Using a combination of traditional and digital channels to reach prospective hires—for example, using professional publications, direct email, and digital outreach campaigns simultaneously to increase the ubiquity of available positions.
  • Connecting with groups, organizations, and tools that physicians use to stay informed—for example, trusted environments where prospects are more likely to perceive promotions as curated resources rather than intrusive ads.
  • Providing prospective hires the opportunity to interact with department leaders outside of the interview process—this brings prospective hires closer to a recruiter's institution before hiring.
  • Creating content hubs or other online resources for physicians interested in learning more about their specialties.

Each of these methods goes beyond advertising, helping recruiters build closeness between prospects and employers. In time, those physicians will come to understand how their roles would fit into their organizations’ workplaces and cultures in the long term.

Five recruitment methods that help secure physician hires

A recruiter’s first challenge is identifying the right channels for relationship building and then engaging physicians directly via those channels in ways that begin productive interactions leading toward employee acquisitions. Here we explore five methods for successful recruitment that physicians can use to build relationships with physicians.

1. Become active in existing physician networks

Physicians currently on staff can serve as an important resource when it comes to networking with physicians of particular specialties. That’s because recruiters can leverage their existing networks as potential sources of referrals and leads. This approach helps recruiters establish more trusted, sustainable relationships with prospects they might not have reached via other means.

Strategies to consider:

  • Encourage and equip staff physicians at conferences, seminars, and other related events that prospective hires may attend.
  • Encourage existing staff to offer referrals and recommendations from their networks.
  • Provide existing staff with suggestions to reach out to physicians within or adjacent to their networks.

2. Leverage societies and journals for high concentrations of candidates

In a September 2021 poll of physician recruiters by Wolters Kluwer, more than a third of recruiters (36%) claimed that society journals and affiliated websites, among other specialty-specific content, have the best concentration of potential candidates. Recruiters can leverage societies and journals—along with other high-concentration channels—to build relationships with physicians in all stages of their careers and engage with them as they move through the recruitment process. These trusted professional environments also help to validate promotions that recruiters position within them.

Strategies to consider:

  • Turn your promotions into true resources; for example, create ads that drive prospects to value-added, downloadable content tailored to candidates’ specialties.
  • Develop relationships with society leaders who already provide society members with career and other professional resources.
  • Create useful content, such as data-driven reports, that society members can easily share with their peers.

3. Advertise alongside specialty-specific content

Specialty-specific magazines, journals, newsletters, and similar publications—both in print and online—provide physicians with an opportunity to learn, grow, and discover new opportunities. Recruiters can advertise alongside these content types and reach potential, viable physician candidates. Opportunities include both traditional print ads and digital opportunities, such as sponsored content or native advertising. Physicians who engage with content via these channels are likely to be more receptive to recruitment ads.

Strategies to consider:

  • Position career opportunities in publications focused on related areas of interest to demonstrate value and relevance.
  • Create ad content that leverages peer-reviewed research or clinical data, reinforcing your organization’s credibility.
  • Include specialty-specific calls-to-action that encourage prospects to take the next step.

4. Build your network and your brand through direct emails and website content

Recruiters should make direct email campaigns a cornerstone of their recruitment efforts. These campaigns can help to create communities, curate special conversations, and build relationships with potential physician candidates. But while these are some of the most cost-effective methods available to recruiters, the wrong messaging may put them at risk of seeming generic, and thus, background noise to be ignored. Recruiters can avoid this pitfall by combining specific targeting with messaging that demonstrates a clear understanding of physicians’ needs and interests.

Strategies to consider:

  • Leverage society job boards and email lists to enhance engagement in authoritative ways.
  • Send tailored messages about job opportunities to prospects who fit specific criteria.
  • Become familiar with specialists’ unique needs and use that knowledge when crafting email content.
  • Explore opportunities with healthcare-specific search engines, news websites, and social channels, among other online destinations for physicians.

5. Create a strategy for continued engagement

Prospective physicians must continue to feel heard and understood throughout the recruitment process, which may take some time as physicians consider other opportunities. Recruiters should ensure physicians receive timely feedback from themselves and other members of their organization involved in the recruitment and engagement process (e.g., existing physicians in related departments or fields). Additionally, recruiters should give physicians information about the institution, such as its mission and values, to help them make informed decisions about their future.

Strategies to consider:

  • Develop a multistep plan to stay in touch with candidates and other networked individuals.
  • Prepare resources to follow up promptly with candidates who express interest in an opportunity.
  • Develop feedback methods that ensure candidates feel heard throughout the recruitment process.

By deploying a combination of these strategies, recruiters can find and engage physicians who are well-informed and truly motivated to join their teams. Ensuring physicians are heard, understood, and appreciated throughout the recruitment process can also drive high levels of trust and confidence that last long after they join the organization.

Recruitment success comes down to mutual gain

Recruiters must begin by building a funnel of awareness and branding before they can open doors to more sustained relationships candidates. But ultimately, recruitment is a human process. Recruitment teams that think creatively about how they can build relationships with candidates on their journey to finding their new roles are more likely to find candidates who will be excited to join their teams. Creating an engaged, trusting relationship with new hires can drive long-term organizational success as those employees are more likely to remain motivated and committed to their new employers.

Ultimately, employers should regard new hires not as employees but as valuable partners who have a vested interest in the success of their new organizations. By fostering mutually beneficial relationships, physicians, their departments, and their institutions more broadly can ensure success in any variety of collaborations, initiatives, and unique care scenarios.

Contact us to develop your multichannel campaign to recruit qualified physicians.
Lippincott® HCP Access
Engage your target audience with Lippincott’s highly trusted award-winning content to get your messaging where healthcare professionals are most receptive.
Back To Top