Market analyst. Real estate expert. Community health advocate. Medical administrator. Accountant. Staff Developer. Life coach. These are just a few of the hats worn by in-house hospital physician recruiters. Their broad knowledge base and confident personality puts their working relationships with physician candidates at the top of the totem pole.
Unlike independent recruiters, in-house physician recruiters aren’t motivated by commissions and meeting quotas; rather, they work within the healthcare delivery system to ensure that the health care needs of their communities are met with the proper mix of medical and surgical specialists. They are responsible for expanding the medical staff either through start-up practices or growing practices in the specialties identified through their medical staff development plan. So when they tap you for an interview, your role could be that much more meaningful and worthwhile.
Physician recruiters: Professionally trained quasi-clinicians
Many in-house physician recruiters receive ongoing professional training from the American Academy of Medical Management (AAMM) or through the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (ASPR). The AAMM provides intensive seminars for frontline in-house professionals who are responsible for contracting, compensating, managing and retaining medical professionals. The ASPR, comprised of more than 1,000 in-house physician recruiters, also offers education and training to its members.
The typical in-house physician recruiter has spent hours interacting with hospital administrators to help prepare and develop a medical staff development plan, approved by the board of directors, that maps out policies for sourcing candidates and identifying practice opportunities. In doing so, the recruiter gains a keen understanding of the key differences among clinical specialties. Grasping the distinction between an invasive and interventional cardiologist, and what goes on in the cath lab versus the operating rooms, becomes second nature. This knowledge also comes in handy later on when the recruiter is required to explain the credentialing process with the hospital’s insurance carrier.
When a physician recruiter contacts you, it’s not some willy-nilly, seat-of-the-pants call; rest assured that you are being considered as the right fit within a strategic employment
plan. Of course, the recruiter is in the business of selling the benefits of a hospital, a community and a practice opportunity. Yet it behooves the recruiter to match the right practice setting to you as a qualified physician, so you’ll be an asset to the organization both now and for the long term.
Real estate reps and community advocates
While recruiters spend many hours researching the medical staffing needs that must be met, they have a deep appreciation for the physician as a potential colleague and even
neighbor. Recruiters realize that the physician will be associated with them both professionally and personally in the weeks, months and years ahead, therefore they have a
vested interest in lending a helping hand to the physician from day one. Thus recruiters play a dual sales role. They must convince the administrative team that the prospective
physician is the right candidate for the position, and persuade the physician and his or her family that relocating to the new community is the right decision.
The in-house recruiter is not only a believer in the local healthcare delivery system, but is naturally a strong community advocate as well. Otherwise, how can the physician be sold on the positive assets of the community? A good recruiter empathizes with the families of prospective candidates as they face the emotional challenges of fitting into the social
and cultural fabric of a new city or town. He or she is usually on a firstname basis with several real estate agents who can not only assist you in locating suitable housing, but also,
with the recruiter’s input, help you and your family settle into the neighborhood and school district in a way that fits your lifestyle.
Legal, accounting and marketing advisors
The recruiter’s ability to interpret hospital employment contracts and income guarantee agreements can often make or break a physician’s decision to practice in the recruiter’s
service area. A recruiter is often called upon to explain the nuances of such agreements in light of state and federal laws governing, and those who do may quickly endear themselves to the inquiring candidate.
A basic understanding of accounting is necessary, too. For instance, the recruiter may inform you of the requisite patients you need to see to generate pre-calculated revenue
dollars to ensure the success of the practice—particularly when an income guarantee program comes to an end.
Once you’re hired, the recruiter liaisons work with the in-house marketing department or outside advertising agency to place ads in appropriate print and broadcast media to
make sure that you, as the new physician in town, gain plenty of positive exposure. This applies to the primary care physician as well as to medical and surgical specialists.
Physician recruiting: A thankless job
Recognizing that they are only as good as their last placement, in-house physician recruiters work hard to make the right hires at the right time. This is as valuable to their job
security as it is to the communities they serve. In fact, they realize they are essential contributors not only to the healthcare delivery system but also to the citizens who are served. Physician recruiters may not admit it, but they secretly opine that one day, someone will greet them in a store on the street with an acknowledgment such as, “Were you the one who invited Dr. Smith to our town? I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart because he’s the one who saved my husband’s life.”
In-house physician recruiters deserve your trust and respect. They have the training, the experience, the know-how and the medical industry inside track to help match you with
the perfect career move.
David Andrick is the director of physician recruitment for Wilson Memorial Hospital in Sidney, Ohio, and has been and continues to be a frequent speaker for the American Academy of Medical Management, Association of Staff Physician Recruiters and the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA).