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Ten steps to building a recruitment strategy that will impress leadership - Summer 2015
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By Jenna Thayer, MA, FASPR, Physician Recruiter, Mercy Health West Michigan

Building a recruitment strategy for your organization is one of the most powerful mechanisms you can produce in your job. Demonstrating your ability to think innovatively and execute a strategy will increase the trust, confidence and respect your leaders have for you. These ten essentials will lead you toward a path of success.

1. Make a case.

Whether you are educating leaders on the turbulent candidate market, or giving background around why you need a recruitment strategy, making your case helps set the stage for your entire plan. When I approached my leadership team about establishing a recruitment strategy, I chose to cite sources regarding the shortage of primary care physicians in a well prepared proposal document. Rather than simply hearing about the physician shortage, they saw facts and figures to support my case. This put power behind my words, my work and my challenges.

2. Establish goals, be explicit.

The goal of our recruitment strategy was to increase the number of candidates and hires specifically in primary care. Your goal may be that simple or you may have multiple complex goals. No matter the goal, ensure that it’s explicit to everyone. All eyes should be set on the same targets.

3. Brainstorm.

Be sure to list all the ways in which you recruit and source physicians. Some of mine included partnerships with residency programs, connection with recent hires, internal referrals, online databases and social media. I even added other programs or incentives that help fill physician openings, such as loan repayment or retention initiatives. You’ll want your strategy to include all avenues, large or small, that you or your team use to find physician candidates. Be sure to also include any new ways in which you’d like to source candidates. This is your chance to publicize the diversity and abundance of your work, and the work you will do in the future.

4. Capture current state.

For each of the categories you list during the brainstorm, state what you are currently doing in that respect. An example would be, “Recruitment team has previously held an annual booth at a CareerMD Job Fair.” Or, “Open positions are listed quarterly in the e-newsletter.” Citing your current work will demonstrate your value but also give you a platform to build future strategies.

5. Stretch for the future.

Under each category, next to where you list your current state, record any upcoming action items. Think of future initiatives, and see if you can stretch them a little further. How can you enhance your internal referrals? What does your online marketing approach really need? Dream big, be realistic and write it down.

6. Add clear/attainable timelines.

For each future action listed, assign a specific, realistic timeframe to complete the task. It could be listed as a specific date or a recurring timeline. This will help your leadership know when to expect items to be accomplished, giving you a method for personal accountability. It may also be helpful to create a calendar format for easy reference throughout the year.

7. Don’t forget responsibility.

Along with your timeline, it’s best to assign tasks to specific people involved in the recruitment process. For instance, there may be pieces you or a fellow recruiter will handle, an assistant will coordinate or a medical director will lead. Creating an easy-to-use plan, which outlines each person’s responsibilities clearly, allows the team’s energy to be focused while working together to achieve the goals.

8. Break it down.

Establishing a strategy can be overwhelming. Prioritizing your top projects and splitting them into smaller work packages will make the implementation more manageable. After all, you want these strategic plans to actually happen.

9. Connect.

Make sure your leaders are aware of the strategy, ask for their feedback and continue to share it with them over time. Add yourself to the agenda of a meeting where key players will listen. Their engagement and support can make or break your plan. By continuously connecting, your strategy will stay in motion.

10. Evaluate.

Sometimes the best laid plans are not the most effective. Once you have implemented pieces of your strategy, be sure to evaluate if they are truly working. Where are you getting the most value? Where are the outcomes lacking? Being open and objective will help your strategy remain significant and relevant.

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