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Journal of ASPR - Spring 2013 - Taking the fear out of tracking: Keeping it simple
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Taking the fear out of tracking: Keeping it simple

By Shelley Tudor, FASPR and Lynne Peterson, FASPR

In our fast-paced, changing healthcare landscape, in-house physician recruitment professionals are relied on more and more for their knowledge and expertise in attracting, hiring and retaining the right physician or healthcare provider for the job. Whether you’re recruiting for a small hospital or a statewide multi-facility health system, your responsibility is much the same: Assessing recruitment needs; sourcing for candidates; conducting phone screenings; hosting site visits; tracking data.

Tracking data? Who can afford to spend valuable time on that?

The simple answer is that you can’t afford not to. Tracking your recruitment data is well worth the time and effort, and the good news is that it doesn’t have to take much effort at all.

Facing your (tracking) fears

Tracking your recruitment activities doesn’t have to be a job in itself. It can be as simple or as complex as you make it — but one thing’s for sure, it can yield big results. Collecting and interpreting key search data points such as the number of applicants received, candidates interviewed, offers extended, source of candidates and the time it took to fill a position, can paint a very clear picture of where you are — or where you should be — spending your time, talents, and financial resources on filling open positions.

It’s more a matter of process than time or effort. Most recruiters do some sort of tracking, but taking a few simple steps to make it more efficient can mean the difference between simply recording raw data and gleaning valuable information. For instance, when you’re conducting a phone screening, add a couple new fields to your screening form. How did the candidate hear about the position? What date did they apply and what date did you conduct the screening? Did you refer the candidate or disqualify following the screening? Why? Documenting basic information such as this can help you evaluate your candidate pool, the effectiveness of your sourcing strategy, and possibly shorten the recruitment process.

Keeping it simple makes tracking easier to adopt as a habit. A practical data collection system, some advanced planning, and a little time each day or each week dedicated to it will save a lot of time and aggravation at the end of the year. That’s important because the task of going back through a year’s worth of searches may be so overwhelming that you may decide that it’s just not worth it. In that case, all of that potentially valuable information would be wasted.

Making use of what works for you

Some recruiting departments purchase comprehensive applicant tracking systems while others record data on a basic Excel spreadsheet. No one way is right; it’s whatever is usable, comfortable and efficient for your recruitment needs. Remember, the important part is to find something that you can do easily and consistently.

The Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (ASPR) has recently introduced our free “on demand” tracking tool to record key data. The questions are aligned with the annual benchmarking survey so that when completed, the year’s data can be seamlessly uploaded into the survey. Yet any tracking method you choose — with the same information collected — can also be uploaded to survey via the import wizard. The combined results of participating organizations provide measurements that are used to establish industry-wide benchmarks. It’s a way to identify trends and develop best practices that enable all recruiters to operate more effectively.

Just as important, your individual tracking results (you can crunch the numbers yourself if you prefer not to participate in the ASPR Benchmarking Survey) can provide a detailed analysis of your year-long recruitment efforts. Will it confirm what you believe you already know about your business, or will it reveal some surprising outcomes? Most likely, it’ll be some of each.

So, what does it all mean?

Would you say you get most of your applicants from Internet job boards? Do you know what percentage of candidates screened make it to the interview stage? What about the number of offers that were extended and not accepted? Do you know which sourcing methods have produced the most viable candidates?

You may be able to make an educated guess, but a process for tracking data can provide measurable results, enabling you to provide accurate statistics. Knowing the answers to these and other questions improves your ability to find and retain the right providers quickly and effectively.

Regardless of the results, tracking information will help, not hinder you. You’ll know what gets the most bang for your sourcing bucks and how to make a realistic search schedule. If you need to justify a bigger budget or additional staff, you can support your request with cold, hard facts. If asked why an open position has remained vacant for so long, you can explain what you have done to try to fill it — and, perhaps, it may reveal an underlying issue that’s beyond your control.

Let’s get tracking!

Fear tracking no more. Are you ready to get started or eager to enhance your process to make it more efficient? Select the method that best fits into your routine and meets your needs and you can get going today.

Information on the ASPR In-House Physician Recruitment Benchmarking Survey and Report:

The ASPR In-House Physician Recruitment Benchmarking Survey is open annually from January through March. The final report and searchable results are published in August. For more information, visit

Journal of ASPR - Spring 2013

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