This post is the second in a three-part series entitled Setting New Providers Up for Success. It approaches the topic from the hospital executive's perspective and offers insights into hiring the right provider. Part one of the series addressed residents transitioning into a career as an attending physician; part three will discuss aligning providers with facility goals.

Finding and recruiting good physician candidates is one of the toughest jobs any hospital can tackle, especially if the facility is unable to offer everything the candidate is looking for. 

Factors such as facility location, compensation package, and work-life balance are always going to be important to provider prospects but are often difficult, if not impossible, to change.

Instead, focus on creating and fostering an environment that providers would be proud to be part of and only hire candidates who will support and lean into that culture.

With that approach in mind, here are seven tips for finding candidates who embody the best fit.

1. Define Your Process

Your hospital should have a “defined and trackable” physician recruiting process in place to attract the right candidates. It is recommended that you evaluate the overall effectiveness of your provider recruitment process by asking the following questions:

  • Are you generating enough quality candidates and doing so in a timeframe that meets your hospital staffing needs?
  • Are you relying on temporary staff, such as locum tenens, for longer than is financially feasible?
  • Are you meeting your goals for quality, consistency, community involvement, or team cohesiveness?
  • Are the doctors you're trying to recruit turning down your offer and going elsewhere? If so, why?

Whether it’s the practice environment, compensation package, work-life balance issues, or differing priorities, defining your process starts by knowing your hospital’s recruiting challenges. That’s the only way to gain the necessary insight you need to land the best candidates.

2. Perfect Your ‘Pitch’

Effectively communicating your hospital's culture and priorities is essential to making a good match with candidates, so take time to develop your most salient talking points to the degree where you can share them conversationally and naturally.

Your “pitch” (yes, it’s a sales pitch) should include giving the candidate a detailed idea of the program and culture, helping them see how their skills can be utilized in it, describing growth opportunities, and casting a vision of what their future can look like long-term.   

3. Sell Candidates on Your Community

Not only is it essential to sell your hospital but also to share details about your community and what makes it unique. That includes providing information about local schools, housing availability, recreational and cultural activities, job prospects for spouses, and more.

Go a step further and make Realtor appointments, take the candidate and his or her family on a tour of the community, and give them a taste of what life is like outside the hospital walls.

Related Resource: SCP Guide – How to Find Better EM Candidates, Faster

4. Look for Social Intelligence

One characteristic to look for in candidates is "social intelligence;" the ability to relate well with others — patients and colleagues alike — and get them to cooperate with you. "People skills” might be another way to define the term.

Simply put, social intelligence is the ability to "walk in someone else's shoes." It represents people who have enough life experience that they can now see outside of themselves, express a genuine interest in others, and seek to understand what motivates them. Those are the people who make the best doctors and who you want on your team.

5. Understand What Makes the Candidate Tick

Use some social intelligence yourself to understand what gets your candidate fired up and excited to practice medicine. Listening carefully to the candidate’s desires and interests may provide enough information to determine if he or she is a good fit.

6. Rely on Current Providers

Some of the best sources for finding new physicians are your current providers. Their connections can be more valuable in attracting new physicians than any ad or job board. Also, their experience with your hospital and understanding of its culture will serve as a litmus test to judge a connection’s suitability.

7. Promote Work-life Balance

Even if your hospital isn’t situated in the most desirable locale or you can’t offer the best compensation package, perhaps you can promote a healthy work-life balance.

According to Merritt Hawkins’ 2017 Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents, 74 percent of younger physicians today are seeking a controllable lifestyle that allows for a balance between their practice and their personal life.

"Today, practice hours, call schedules, and vacation times often are the key factors in physician contract discussions, supplanting salaries or bonuses, as the primary points over which physicians and hospitals, medical groups, or other employers tend to negotiate," the report said.

Tip: To learn about ways you can achieve a healthy work-life balance in your hospital, refer to the SCP Health guide “5 Ways Hospital Administration Can Promote Work-life Balance in the ED.”


To paraphrase an article in Modern Healthcare regarding healthcare recruiting — Attracting the best and brightest — your hospital's ability to hire and retain providers long-term is not so much a matter of figuring out if they can do the job as it is determining whether they fit within the culture.

Attracting the “best and brightest” to your hospital starts by defining your physician recruiting process, perfecting your “pitch,” and showcasing your community.

Then, look for candidates with social intelligence and seek to understand what makes them tick. Rely on your current providers to recommend suitable candidates and doctors they have worked with in the past and, last, emphasize your desire to promote a healthy work-life balance.

Implement these tips and you will be well on your way toward hiring doctors who will be strong advocates for your hospital and represent such loyalty with tenures to match.


Related Resources

Case Study: Florida-based Health System: Successful HM Recruiting

Resource: Happy Docs, Better Retention

Blog: Four Common Challenges of Hospital-based Physician Services & Tips for Success

Blog: Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining the Best ED Doctors