Remember that high school crush? Maybe it was the handsome star quarterback or a beautiful-beyond-belief cheerleader; didn’t we all fall for someone that we thought was way out of our league? Looking back, don’t you now realize that, in fact, your dream date wasn’t unobtainable – either you just weren’t confident enough to bust a move, or peer group pressure wouldn’t let him see your true beauty? For healthcare hiring managers trying to recruit the best Physicians, it can seem like high school all over again.
Face it – premier physicians are in demand. And, just as that quarterback and cheerleader were probably dating each other, your ideal candidate is not looking to make a career change either. But Lyle Lovett did marry Julia Roberts, and you can hire that star surgeon. Here’s how:
Okay, so I lied. This isn’t Disneyland, and lowly housekeepers should not expect to marry Prince Charming. There are no fairy godmothers to magically turn your small-town hospital into the Mayo Clinic long enough to seal the deal with Ben Carson. However, with reasonable expectations and the proper preparation, your Organization can compete for Doctor DoRight against more handsome recruiters.
As The Godfather Says…
Regardless of your competitors, you won’t recruit a talented physician who is content in a current position by making an average offer. A career change represents risk and disruption to the comfy doctor. She will have to be motivated to take that plunge. If your opportunity requires relocation, the diving board is even higher, so your pool must be deeper. But make no mistake – if a physician agrees to stick a toe in the water of your open position, she will almost always consider jumping in. Get her to interview, and you have a chance.
Understand that a good physician is highly paid, regardless of the employer, so there’s a chance that money isn’t her primary motivation. This is when an independent healthcare recruiter can earn his fee. To wit: you probably can’t have that conversation with a physician candidate. She will instinctively evade such questions in order to retain her negotiating leverage should she decide to consider your offer. The headhunter can. Ask your recruiter what it will take to hire the candidate – the best headhunters will already know – then make her an offer she can’t refuse.
Become the Dream Date
Star quarterbacks and successful physicians don’t have to impress anyone, and they know it. Your organization, on the other hand, better make a big impression if you want that prom date. Be the giddy teenager about to pop the question – shiny shoes, fresh haircut, organized and a professional appearance. Know what she likes – research LinkedIn, social media, a Google search, ask the headhunter, etc. – and then, reveal that she’s been on your mind by casually dropping something into the conversation – a shared interest would be ideal – that didn’t come from her resume. She will notice, and everyone wants to be wanted. This isn’t the time to play hard-to-get; although, of course, you don’t want to appear desperate either.
Bring Your Wingman/BFF
Strike your sexiest pose, and Dream Doctor can still pass you by. Sometimes you need an unbiased third person to point out what she’s missing. Make your presentation a team effort. Introduce the other administrative staff that will be responsible for her success (after prepping them per this article). Have one or more of her prospective peers make an appearance to extol your beauty, brains, and personality. Their testimonials will mean more to the candidate than anything you can say.
Recruiting a successful physician is not a “one-call close,” so include new team members in each meeting to reinforce the message. Don’t let so much time pass between meetings that the afterglow fades.
Significant Others Are Significant
Okay, so the dating analogy was a reach. The truth is, physicians work under tremendous stress with many responsibilities, and your candidate will almost certainly have a support system in place that allows her to focus on patients – a spouse or significant other, an office manager, an assistant – and probably a family with their own lives – schools, church/synagogue, friends, and community. You have to consider these people as well because Dr. Desirable certainly will.
If your candidate is married or has a significant other – and you should know that in advance – the spouse’s concerns could very well be the deciding factor. Family concerns, social obligations, schools, and relatives could all impact when, where, and why a physician would consider a career change. Your offer could be the best opportunity possible for the physician’s career and yet still be rejected if the timing isn’t right.
Proffer a dinner invitation to the candidate and spouse. Include, again, physicians from your organization and their spouses to share personal experiences from working in the organization and living in the community. Have information on local housing, public and private schools, churches/synagogues, and other lifestyle issues to share. Do not underestimate the spouse’s influence on the career decision.
Close the Sale
Any good salesperson knows that you have to ask for the business. Listen for “buying signals,” such as the candidate speaking of herself as part of your organization. When you hear one, throw out a trial close – “We’d like to have you come onboard. Do you have any questions we can answer?”
Objections can be buying signals as well. If she raises one, propose a solution and ask again – “If I can make that happen for you, are you ready to join our team?” Doing so will uncover any hidden objections preventing her from signing on.
Finally, know that your organization just may not be the best fit for the targeted candidate – you can’t know, and the reasons probably won’t reflect on the organization or your team. However, recognizing that the process is a selling situation that your team must prepare for and effectively execute will ensure that both parties make an informed decision in their best interests and that ultimately you do get the best candidate possible.