In my first installment of this series on modern physician recruitment, I turned to the great philosopher Socrates to drive home the importance of self-awareness when vying for clinical talent. In this, part two, I will lean on the celebrated Abraham Lincoln, credited with first coining the phrase, "Actions speak louder than words."
Honest Abe was on to something, and this phrase couldn't be more applicable to the physician recruitment landscape today. Let me first remind you that 76 percent of residents receive 50 or more job solicitations during medical training and 55 percent receive 100 or more. Experienced physicians who are actively seeking a new position will get multiple offers. Your understanding of the market and your efforts to demonstrate and act based on that awareness directly impact your success. Following the advice of Lincoln in attracting physician talent to your facility is yet another vital step in winning the war on talent.
Action: Making a Great First Impression
We make important decisions every day based on data and analytics. But even as we become savvier at making data-informed choices, our perceptions and first impressions shape our choices. That's why it's so important to pay attention to the little things when you're hosting physician candidates.
That physician candidate you'll be interviewing next month? She's also interviewing with your competitors. Everything you do (reinforced by what you say) demonstrates your awareness of the market. The efforts you make should work to differentiate yourself from your competition every step of the way.
What can you do to roll out the red carpet in a way that's memorable and meaningful? How can you convey your interest and show that your organization is serious about establishing a long-term relationship? Make a great first impression by following these strategies:
Arrange an onsite visit. Nothing says you're serious about a candidate like investing in a face-to-face visit. Arrange for a date(s) that is convenient for your candidate and extend an invitation to her family if appropriate. Take note of travel preferences and accommodations. Be sure to arrange for enough space, ample (even extra) amenities and think of ways to make her feel welcome.
Make it personal. A candidate is not one of many; she's an individual who has unique training, skills, goals, and interests. During your initial interactions, make a note of any personal details shared about her life and interests, as these bits of information may provide clues as to ways you can accommodate her during her visit. For example, if she indicates or alludes to having a family, make a note to find out if they will travel with her. If she mentions children, find out about the family interest in school districts. If your candidate is new to the area, find out what kind of accommodations work best, the foods she prefers, if she would like to look at homes in the area, see local attractions or attend events. In other words, consider the information your candidate shares as an opportunity to personalize the experience for her in a profoundly memorable way.
Have a plan. Give careful thought to how you want the visit to go. Then, create a list of everyone you'd like the candidate to meet, everything you'd like to cover and show her. From this information, finalize an agenda and send it ahead of the visit, so she has a good feel for what to expect. Don't forget about the family! Find out their needs and wants and make sure you have an agenda built that may be of interest to them.
Arrange for transportation. Have a car waiting at the airport and hotel. Leave a handwritten note and gift basket with the driver and include a card with the driver's contact information. Include another copy of the agenda as well. Be sure to allow enough time for her to acclimate and prepare before she has to jump into interview mode.
Designate a guide. Decide now who will dedicate themselves to making sure the day goes smoothly. This person should be friendly, knowledgeable and accessible, ready to greet your candidate and to guide her throughout the day. It might also be a small team of people. Just be sure each person knows his or her role and that someone is always accountable.
Show don't tell. Instead of talking about how well the ER and hospitalists work together, let your candidate see them in action. Don't talk up the fresh, healthy choices in the cafeteria; let her taste for herself. Rather than giving a presentation or handout on opportunities with committees, research or incentive compensation, let her talk with others about these things. Talking about culture and opportunity isn't the same as seeing for yourself.
Walk the talk. Whenever possible, put yourself in your candidate's place. Compensation, schedules, opportunities, and incentives will be pivotal to her decision. But, so will first impressions.
This isn't about putting on a front or pretending you or your organization is perfect. Remember the advice in my last blog – know what you distinctly have to offer, your strengths and drive those home to the candidate. Be genuine in your efforts to make it a meaningful and personal visit and walk the red carpet right along with her. And, stay tuned for part three of this series for more tips on creating a red-carpet experience for candidates. Because in this case, you can guarantee you will be competing for talent.