By Miranda Grace, FASPR, Professional Staff Recruiter, Geisinger Health System, Lewistown, PA
This summer has been, somewhat tragically, consumed by sharks – literally and figuratively! With a whopping twelve shark attacks off the shores of North and South Carolina, it has been hard not to have sharks on the brain. (Also, as I write this, it’s Shark Week on the Discovery channel – they’re everywhere!)
Healthcare and physician recruitment has also been circled by sharks in the form of recruitment barriers. There are three types of barriers that we all encounter: Barriers over which we have no control, perceived barriers which we must work hard to overcome, and internal barriers that can be tackled or confronted from within. Are we to ward off these predators, and try to keep from getting bitten? Or, when necessary, learn to swim with the sharks?
As recruiters, it’s in our nature to want control, at least over our work. To us, losing control is equally as scary as losing our minds; however, there are many circumstances that affect recruitment over which we have no control. The looming physician shortage that many of us are already experiencing is a good example. Knowing that this is something that is out of our control, we should be doing our best to stay ahead (in an ideal world, right?). When possible, be proactive about your approach to recruitment but most importantly, educate others about the state of the market and what you do have control over and what you do not.
Many of us must overcome perceived barriers in recruitment as well. Perceived barriers can range from geographic location to organizational culture and are often wrought from reputations or assumptions. Reputations can be both good and bad for an organization. Geisinger Health System, for instance, has a great reputation for its innovative approaches to medicine and strides in population health. This reputation helps pique many candidates’ interest and aids in the recruitment of physicians. On the other hand, it is also one of the largest rural healthcare organizations in the country, which means some candidates assume they won’t fit in if they’re not from rural Pennsylvania. These defeating assumptions must be overcome during initial conversations with candidates or in marketing pieces geared to attract applicants from all backgrounds, nationalities and locations.
Finally, we’ve all faced internal barriers in our efforts to recruit a new physician. Sometimes these obstacles come in the processes we put in place, the team members involved in recruitment and/or the packages that we’re able to offer. If you find out that what you’re doing is not working, do everything in your power to change it. If you find that you’re running into more and more obstacles, be upfront with leadership about these barriers and what needs to happen to overcome them. If everyone has the same goal in mind, the recruitment of top-notch medical professionals, things will change.
Remember, we all face barriers in recruitment. If you’re facing a problem that seems to have stumped you, chances are your fellow ASPR members have faced it too! If you’re having trouble overcoming geographic obstacles or a candidate’s assumptions about your community or organization, reach out to colleagues who can share insight as to how they overcame similar hurdles. Finally, if there are processes in place, or people who seem to be sabotaging your recruitment efforts, go to leadership (if you can) to kick start positive change in the way you recruit physician candidates. In recruitment, we’re faced with challenges every day; it’s how we overcome them that determines our success.
As always, thank you for your continued support of ASPR and JASPR!