The Passive Physician Candidate: The 86 Percent Solution

Bob Miller

Here is the gist of what you will really like about the most qualified physician candidates you may never meet. They are employed and performing at the top of their game.

They’re highly motivated, will need little or no training, and may bring new insights and a fresh perspective to your current physician staff.

Those are attractive qualities for a potential hire – except these physicians are already working. There are a lot of them, and in healthcare employee recruiting circles they are identified as Passive Physician Candidates. On the other side of the spectrum lies a smaller group that is active in the job search arena. Digital Research Inc. (DRI) conducted an independent blind survey which reported only 14 percent of physicians in the U.S. are actively searching job listings, attending job fairs, or knocking on doors looking for a position. Do you have openings to fill?   You will certainly meet many of those physicians, especially if you have a healthcare recruiting agency that is only communicating with the Active Physician Candidates. They are not serving your best interest by eliminating 86 percent of the potential hiring field.

In that larger group are the highly qualified specialists in a variety of fields, using their skills and broadening their knowledge and experience. On that basis alone, they hold an edge over those who are actively seeking a job, either because they are currently in a less challenging environment or may be out of work, and not practicing. That is not to say the smaller group – the 14 percent – does not include outstanding physician candidates. However, recruiters and employers who limit their choices to just the Active Physician Candidates are positioning themselves against hundreds of competitors trying to hire by using the same narrow approach.

Third Party Medical Recruiter MedSource Consultants

It is important to view the 86 percent as Candidate Physicians, who happen to be currently passive. They are certainly more difficult to find, but there are key advantages to developing a strategy aimed at recruiting physicians from that sector.  For starters, these passive candidates will likely not be interviewing with anyone else so there will be very little competition for their attention and consideration.

In a practical sense, these are untapped candidates who value their privacy and may have a large stake in their identification with their current employer. For most, changing jobs can be very sensitive and needs to be handled delicately and professionally. The best way to attract them is through the confidential approach of a skilled, third-party recruiter.

Better Healthcare recruiters have established networks and sourcing tools to prospect and identify passive candidates and the most experienced recruiter is adept in their approach to these select individuals.  Since these physicians have not really focused on changing jobs, there are particular motivators, other than compensation and security that may potentially catch their attention. They may be high achievers, looking to further improve and harness their skill sets: career advancement and self-improvement can be strong motivators for opening the discussion of changing jobs.  Experienced recruiters will also be able to source passive candidates that they already identified as possessing your required skills which saves valuable time. As an intermediary, the recruiter can manage a very personal process which exponentially improves the likelihood of a very fruitful and time-sensitive hire for both the employer and the candidate.

Hiring a physician is a lengthier and more complex process than staffing other healthcare positions. These roles are highly specialized and can bring financial value to a healthcare system, independent hospital or medical practice.  At a time when an imminent shortage is making the recruitment of physicians enormously competitive, attracting qualified and interested candidates into the selection process is a critical objective. Partnering with an experienced healthcare recruiter will ensure that your physician position is given serious consideration by all candidates, active and passive.  Make sure the 86 percent solution is part of your strategy.