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Personalize Your Recruitment Strategy

Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, July 20, 2010

Organizations need to be proactive. Nyman asks his more recently trained physicians to contact their program or colleagues about job opportunities at Marshfield.

"There are surveys of how candidates find jobs, and usually No. 1 or No. 2 is referral from colleague," he says, adding that the referring physicians also receive a small monetary incentive.

Another trend is hiring people further out. "We are targeting first-year residents," Nyman says. "We are willing to sign them now and pay them a small stipend while they are training." It's not a lot of money, but an extra $1,000 per month for residents on a tight budget makes their lives easier, he says.

"It is a way to distinguish yourself, and you may offer that [stipend] in replacement of a signing bonus or offer less of a signing bonus and a stipend," says Schutte. "It says to the candidate-you are committed to us. There is something about signing a piece of paper."

Recent family medicine graduate Amy Muminovic, DO, says that student loan assistance, sign-on bonuses, flexible scheduling, housing stipends, and comprehensive tours are all effective tools for recruitment. However, "new grads often find that some of the most lucrative offers may be compensating for a burnout lifestyle," Muminovic says.

Tailor your plan to the doc

As the saying goes: What one physician wants, one physician wants. For example, a doctor who is 10 years from retirement may want to relocate to be closer to family and may be willing to trade some compensation for more flexible hours. On the other hand, a physician who is only a few years out of school is in his or her peak work years and will probably prefer a productivity model.

It is important to know what is driving physician candidates and be able to adapt your model to that situation, says Schutte. In today's environment, "the more progressive groups realize that's what they have to do."

Tracy Geiger, MD, a family medicine doc who recently finished his residency and will start practicing in Phillips, WI, in August, looked first and foremost at the guaranteed salary along with the sign-on bonus when interviewing physician practices. "I weighted these higher because my school loan is less than half the average these days for other residents, and I would rather have the freedom to use benefits as I see fit instead of being locked into something like a housing or school repayment loan," Geiger says, adding that he was impressed when practices had flexibility in what they could offer. Flexible scheduling was less of a concern for Geiger, who is "raring to go," but he is happy to know it is an option for the future.

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