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Show leadership your value in four easy steps – Summer 2014
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By Shawn Kessler, Senior Strategist, ab+c Creative intelligence

Becoming more successful in your recruitment efforts doesn’t always take more money; however, given today’s ever-dwindling supply of physician candidates, it sure does help.

In order to get extra funding, you need buy-in from your organization’s senior management team—and that can be difficult. CEOs, CFOs and other financial executives tend to view physician recruitment as an expense to the organization, rather than an investment. It’s your job to convince them otherwise—and that requires conclusive numbers and a step-by-step plan.

Step 1: Mention the physician shortage.
Inform your management team of the growing physician shortage, looming only a few years away. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), within 10 years the physician population will be short by about 130,600 doctors. What’s more alarming is the number of Americans over 65 will have grown by 36 percent by as early as 2020, yet the number of physicians will have grown by just 7 percent, leaving a significant deficit in providers.

As the shortage worsens, the time to fill vacant physician openings increases. AAMC research shows that searches open for more than one year rose from 36 percent in 2010 to 42 percent in 2011.

Step 2: Share the costs.
Management may see a vacant position as an inconvenience. However it is much more than that – it amounts to substantial lost income for an organization. The national average for net revenue lost per position is $1,404,980 according to Merritt Hawkins’ 2013 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey. Consider these questions:

  • How many vacancies does your organization have?
  • How long have they gone unfilled?
  • How much revenue could you generate for your organization if your positions were filled in less time?

Visit to get answers specific to your organization. On the site, you can calculate exactly how much your organization loses when a physician position goes unfilled—by the number of days, number of searches conducted and annual revenue lost. You can also calculate how much increased net revenue your organization could earn by shortening time-to-fill by just 5 percent, 10 percent or more.

We guarantee the numbers will get your attention. Once you’ve seen them, you’ll want your chief financial officer or other financial executive to see them, too. Invite them to run their own organizational numbers on the site with you. Keep in mind, net revenue gains in the millions are not unusual.

Step 3: Share your plan.
Now that you’ve informed senior management of the growing physician shortage and the dollars your organization loses per vacant position, you can explain how their support can enhance your recruitment efforts. Describe, in detail, how you would use additional dollars to identify your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, differentiate your brand from your competition, and promote these differences in order to attract the most coveted candidates.

Ensure management also understands the measurable value of a strong brand in landing the most sought-after physician candidates. Nationally recognized studies by CareerBuilder and LinkedIn confirm that having a strong employment brand draws 3.5 times more applicants per position and gets passive candidates to seriously consider your opportunities. In many cases, a strong brand from a seemingly strong organization is a major factor in many physicians’ willingness to work for less than their desired salary.

Next, share the value of robust marketing tools, including: banner ads, pURL-style emails and QR codes that direct candidates to a recruitment-specific Web portal. Keep in mind, the portal should have tracking technology to identify visiting candidates - which pages they explore and how long they stay on those pages - so you can follow up soon after their visit.

Step 4: Request the resources.
Now that you’ve fully defined your new recruitment strategies, components and goals, ask your leadership team for the additional funding needed to succeed. Share the projected return on their investment and your proposed timeline. Knowing you have the numbers to fill in the blanks, you may confidently say, “If you invest $X in our recruitment efforts, we can improve our time-to-fill by X%, which could provide a return as high as $X in just X months.” They’ll find it hard to say no to such a well thought-out strategy.

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