Push through Omicron, and whatever variant is next, with your Physician Recruitment efforts

It’s been almost two years since the Pandemic began, and it’s starting to get more difficult to remember the pre-Covid days of free movement and sold-out concerts. We’ve all had to pivot in order to keep the recruiting train moving along, with most of us leaning hard into “remote” lifestyle. For a short period of time, it seemed things were settling down, then Delta showed up. Now, Omicron is running rampant throughout the country and filling up hospitals in every part of every state. It seems no region is immune to this fast-spreading, easily transmitted variant of Covid. Staffing has been especially difficult, as those affected with the virus have had to sit on the sidelines for several days. It’s probably just a matter of time before a new strain moves in and is just as contagious as Omicron, or as deadly as the Delta.

Through it all, the show must go on. The show I speak of is your organization’s recruitment, and hiring, of new physicians. The start of the Pandemic brought lockdowns, major travel restrictions, and proliferation of the ZOOM interview. To an extent, the industry has weathered the storm and moved many physicians into new, unique opportunities throughout the country. Here at Curare Physician Recruiting, we have enjoyed record-setting placements in back-to-back years, and 2022 looks to continue that trend.

The noted success has come with extreme challenges for all parties involved. Hospitals, and Private Practices alike, have been hit hard by staffing issues in all departments, and have required many All-Hands-on-Deck scenarios in relation to the demands of covid admits. Frequently changing rules and restrictions caused many organizations to halt their recruitment efforts completely. Physicians have not been able to travel to on-site visits in any sort of pre-pandemic fashion, and many are having a difficult battle securing the time-off necessary to make a visit. Some, already towards the end of their career, opted for unplanned, early retirement. The firms that help match these physicians to practice opportunities are stretched thin, as well, and most went from an office-base setting to a remote work environment. The Great Resignation hit our industry as hard as any, during a time when demand for our service has never been greater.

It’s the demand that has been severe.

Between my founding partner, Dave Witte, and I, we have over 55 years’ experience in contingency-based physician recruiting. We have overseen thousands of successful placements and have many stories to tell. We’re good at what we do, and we’ve both been doing it for a long time. Neither of us has witnessed demand for physicians higher than it is today. From major metros, on down to one-stoplight towns, are all in need of physicians of almost all specialties, with a major push for office-based Primary Care physicians. Simply put: it’s a Buyer’s Market. Physicians have always had many options available, but, it’s options on steroids, now.

The available options are why, as an employer of physicians, you cannot afford to pause your recruitment efforts due to the current, or any forthcoming, Covid crisis. That ship has sailed with the first wave of the Pandemic. Now is the time to double down the efforts and be aggressive. The several months’ pause in 2020 is still being felt by many of our clients. Instead of their normal seasonal needs of 2-5 new physicians, they need 8-12, and, so do their nearest competitor. The early, unexpected retirement of many physicians, or those that just left the profession, have left many organizations seeking to backfill positions that they were not intending to have to fill now.

The best way we have witnessed to set yourself apart from your competitors is to shorten the time of your recruitment process. Make yourself, and your hiring team, available. Be decisive in each stage of the process, from initial contact, on through to the contract offer. Our #1 rule is TKD: Time Kills Deals. Never, in my time, has this been more accurate. Accommodate visiting physicians’ difficult schedules; many are in work situations in which, due to Covid admits and low-staffing numbers, are unable to take time off work. Consider weekend visits, or virtual visits along with a ZOOM interview that, if appropriate, ends in a contract offer.

Don’t let your process let you down. It’s easy to increase a salary, tweak production formulas, add a couple weeks of PTO, or any other form of negotiations. All of this is effective, ie: makes your job very difficult to turn down. The often less-discussed part of getting a new candidate is your hiring process itself. Make your process stand out from your competitors. Move quickly, communicate often, and treat the candidate as the highly-coveted asset they are. Make them feel wanted, from start to end, and do this is as quickly as possible. This action alone will see your team closing more physicians in 2022.

We’re here to help. If you are seeking candidates to hire before the end of the summer, you should be engaged with those candidates now. We’d be happy to provide more candidates and can generate multiple options in almost any given situation.

Whatever your course to success, I wish everyone great success with their 2022 physician recruitment goals.

Recruit On!

Jerry Ramusack, CEO

Curare Physician Recruiting