As a physician recruiter, your job is to know how to recruit physicians for hospitals. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as the physician recruitment world faces some of the biggest challenges in decades:
- High demand for physicians as the number of Americans over 65 doubles over the coming years, increasing the number of patients.1
- A shortage of doctors that’s expected to reach 121,000 by 2032.2
- High time to fill rates that range from 88 to 226 days, depending on the physician specialty.3
- 86% of physicians aren’t looking to switch employers. 4
- 0.7% unemployment rate among physicians.5
The bottom line: There’s huge demand for doctors and a low supply, which means cutthroat competition among hospitals for top physician talent. And add to that: most doctors are gainfully employed and aren’t looking for a new gig.
Now that the problem is clear, the question is: How do you recruit physicians for your hospital in this type of environment?
The answer: You need to actively go after doctors, building a robust talent pipeline of active and passive candidates. Here are 5 physician recruitment strategies to do just that.
Strategy #1: Use Data to Find Physicians to Recruit
A question we get all the time is: How do I find physicians to recruit? As we mentioned earlier, the problem is that most doctors aren’t looking for a new job. That’s why passive recruitment strategies, like job boards and referrals, won’t be enough to fill all of your positions.
So how do you reach physician candidates who aren’t looking? Make data your new best friend. You need access to a comprehensive database of physicians in your area and across the country. National data is particularly important, as running physician relocation campaigns is one of the best ways to fill positions with top talent. These types of campaigns are especially crucial if you’re wondering how to recruit physicians to rural areas.
Keep in mind that having the names of physicians isn’t enough. You need everything from their contact information to their professional experience, including their speciality, occupation, and years of experience. All of these elements will be crucial when you run omni-channel recruitment marketing campaigns, which we’ll go into further detail about later on.
Strategy #2: Attract Physicians With Employer-Branded Materials
Once you have access to physician data, the next step is to create best-in-class materials that build your employer brand and attract top candidates to your hospital, including emergency and primary care physicians. Here are some best practices:
Create Compelling Messaging That Appeals to Doctors
- Highlight the benefits of working for your hospital, emphasizing the ones physicians care about most. While a competitive salary and benefits package are important, these may not be enough to set you apart. Physician candidates want to know that they’ll be working at a prestigious hospital with career growth opportunities, state-of-the-art equipment, and an award-winning team.
- Physicians are busy, so it’s important to get your message across succinctly. Utilize bullet points, engaging headlines, and short sentences to make the content digestible and skimmable.
- Address physicians directly by using personal pronouns. Referring to candidates as “you” will make them feel like you’re speaking to them, motivating them to take action.
- Elicit a strong response from physician candidates by using language that provokes excitement and emotion.
Design the Creatives Carefully
- As we mentioned early, physicians don’t have a lot of time, so use contrasting hues and a typography hierarchy to make the important elements stand out.
- Utilize a consistent design approach across the fonts, hues, pictures, and titles.
- Avoid overcrowding the content by leaving plenty of whitespace.
- Use high-resolution images with large pixels, and consider how they’ll look on desktop and mobile.
Utilize Effective Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
- Use CTAs throughout your materials to ensure physician candidates know what to do next, whether you want them to visit your website or apply for a job.
- Rather than using links or images, include CTA buttons, as they’ll help increase physician engagement and applications.
- Utilize strong command verbs, such as “apply,” “learn,” or “join.”
Strategy #3: Reach Physicians on Multiple Channels
Passive physician candidates will likely need at least 15 touchpoints with your employer brand before they consider switching to your hospital.6 As a result, you’ll need to target them on a variety of marketing channels, such as:
- Social ads
- Live calls
- Digital ads
- Programmatic ads
- Landing pages
- Direct mail
- Virtual solutions
Strategy #4: Optimize Your Physician Recruitment Campaigns
Once you’ve set up a successful physician recruitment campaign, the most important part is consistently optimizing so you can improve performance. Here are some physician recruiting tips for optimization:
Run A/B Tests
Enhance your physician recruitment creatives and messaging over time by A/B testing various elements. Here’s how the process works:
- Determine Your Goal
- Design a Layout
- Create Two Variations
- Run the Test
- Collect the Data
- Run With the Better Option
- Perform Another A/B Test
Keep in mind that you should only be testing one element at a time, such as an email subject line or the placement of a form.
Score Physician Candidates
For a recruitment campaign to be successful, it’s crucial to rank physician candidates based on their engagement with your employer-branded materials and their interest in your hospital. Wondering how this works? Here are the basics:
- Each time a physician candidate takes an action, they get points, i.e., clicking on an ad may be 15 points while filling out a form may be 75.
- After a physician candidate gets to a certain point total, the physician recruiter is notified via email and should conduct outreach right away.
- The scoring system is reviewed monthly to ensure it’s performing properly.
Strategy #5: Follow Up With Physician Candidates
Best Practices for Communicating With Physician Candidates
If you’re looking to recruit and hire physicians for your hospital, getting them to fill out a job application is only the first step. Physicians may have the desire to get in touch, but they’re often working long shifts, so you’ll need to stay in front of them to ensure they respond. Also, many physicians are passive candidates who may be satisfied at their job, so it takes tenacity to show them an alternative.
To be successful, you’ll need to manage the candidate relationship carefully. Here are some tips:
- Reach out to physician candidates within 24 hours of them applying to your hospital.
- Follow up with candidates at least 5 times before moving on. Studies with Adfire Health’s clients show that the response rate on email outreach increases around the 3rd or 4th attempt.
- Contact physician candidates using various types of outreach, including emails, texts, and phone calls.
- Connect with physicians during the hours they’re available. This often means contacting them outside of traditional business hours.
- When you’re reaching out, thank them for expressing interest, be concise, and use a CTA, such as “Call me at this number” or “Reply to this email.”
- During phone calls, explain who you are and why you’re calling, thank them, and always show enthusiasm.
- Keep track of the outreach process via your CRM.
Moving Forward: How to Recruit Physicians for Hospitals
Utilizing the above physician recruiting tips and strategies will help you hire and attract doctors, build a robust talent pipeline, and reduce time to fill significantly. However, implementing these tactics can be tricky if you don’t have the experience and digital marketing skills. Adfire Health has over 20 years of experience helping hospitals attract physicians, so we’ll handle the entire process, making your job easier.
- The US Population Is Aging. (2015, April 3). Urban Institute
- Boyle, P. (2020, June 26). U.S. physician shortage growing. AAMC.
- Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment. (2021, March 16). Benchmarking – AAPPR AAPPR – Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment.
- Understanding the Physician Passive Jobseeker. (2020). NEJM Career Center.
- What is the Unemployment rate of Physicians and Surgeons? (2020). StudentScholarships.Org.
- Greesonbach, S. (2020, November 18). 6 Best Practices for Recruiting Both Active and Passive Candidates. US | Glassdoor for Employers.