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5 ways to capture residents’ attention - Fall 2015
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By Jenna Thayer, MA, FASPR, Physician Recruiter, Mercy Health West Michigan

Connect with residents! Build relationships! Sell them on the organization! Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? With an incredibly competitive market and a shortage of physicians, we are all on the same hunt to capture and keep residents’ attention. Here are five surefire ways to do exactly that.

  1. Listen. It’s first for a reason. Listening should always be step number one. Before spouting off a list of reasons someone should join your health system, or the three awards your internal medicine group received last year, let the residents talk. What are they looking for in an opportunity? What is important to them? What do they want to know? When you allow someone to talk about what they value and what they want, you’ll be able to create a personalized response and approach to recruiting them. You will know what components they care about, which details to share, and how to align them with the right fit in your organization. It also shows you are interested in who they are, which generates a sense of feeling valued and distinct. Time spent listening is a recruiter’s finest instrument.

  2. Seek what’s new. The VP of Physician Alignment and I brought lunch to three family medicine residents last week. We talked about Dr. Sauer’s baby girl born last Saturday. Then we talked about what was new in the marketplace. One of the residents recently received an offer which provided a stipend for their last 22 months in residency. He explained why that was so beneficial and how it was a huge draw for him. It gave us ideas of how to provide something similar. By seeking out what is new and how other organizations are being creative, it can lead you to exciting solutions and ways to draw in physicians even more.

  3. Deliver the right information. Because you’ve done such a good job listening, you know what information to provide. But really, it matters. Send what they care about. Offer a few options of what you can provide. Maybe it’s office culture and structure information, hiking trails in the area, benefit coverage, or loan repayment details. Do they want to hear the facts over the phone or via email to review later that night? I try to make it as simple as possible for the resident. Asking what they want to know and how to conveniently provide it makes for an accommodating and supportive experience.

  4. Be a resource. Whether you are giving interview advice to a group of third years, or casually socializing between meetings, there are opportunities to be especially helpful to residents. At last night’s residency appreciation dinner, two residents pulled me aside. “Jenna, we need some advice. When should we start our interview process? When should we sign a contract?” By being approachable and transparent, we as recruiters can form strong bonds with potential candidates. Even if the residents are looking at other organizations, it’s smart to provide guidance. It builds trust. And word travels in a group. If a resident feels they can come to you for insight, they will become closer with you and your organization. At the least, they may tell a classmate about you or give you the name of their friend who is looking to relocate.

  5. Keep it on the lighter side. There may be a snag in an interview day. Or an opportunity to joke during an educational lunch-and-learn. While you certainly want to remain professional and dedicated to helping residents in their search, it’s best to be relaxed. You want to connect with them on a personal level and make it a comfortable atmosphere. Residents have a lot going on at the hospital and at home. If we can be a little reprieve from that and act as a friend, it will bring a smile and a welcomed sense of ease.

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