Community Hospitals are Joe Smith

A cliche-ridden 9 minute recruiting video, or passively referring a handful of websites to million dollar physician candidates? This contributes to the problem of community hospital in-house recruiting.

Community Hospitals are Joe Smith: Among the many recruiting challenges in the career search marketplace, community hospitals aren’t standing apart to compete for the best talent in today’s digital age – at a great cost.  Here’s an analysis about why and a proven modern solution.

In today’s Social Media and the online communities and technologies that are available to connect with others, make new friends, develop business relationships, and find old high school buddies, who is the only former classmate you can’t seem to find? It’s Joe Smith.

Why? Because there are thousands of Joe Smiths.

It’s not that Joe isn’t unique; in fact, he was voted the “Most Likely to Succeed” superlative by you and your high school classmates.  He was a handsome guy. Funny. Charming.  But now he’s lost amidst the massive Internet – our new life we live that has been synchronized with our everyday activities…because he’s Joe Smith.

It doesn’t matter if you have a high speed Internet connection.  Nor if you have a smart phone or an iPad. That old pal who dated your sister (what a fine brother in-law he would have made) and was your basketball teammate since middle school – he’s so mixed into all the other Joe’s out there that you aren’t going to find him.

Through the last decade, hospitals have had difficulty connecting with jobseekers while they all moved online, nor distinguish themselves, in order to compete for the best practitioners as well as improve their recruiting efficiency and effectiveness.

For recruiting physicians and medical practitioners, community hospitals are Joe Smith.

When considering careers and life in their service areas, these jobseekers – especially those completing residencies or fellowships in large urban areas or suburbs who have never lived in them,  generalize these employers to have shortcomings regarding their facilities, as well as unattractive lifestyle amenities in their smaller, often rural service areas – they are all considered to be the same, and their practices and recruiting material deepen the misconception.

Sure, there is a general and remote Norman Rockwell-type of appeal to considering living and raising kids in a small town – the concept seems nice, but today’s high-caliber jobseekers coming from large population centers ask themselves “What will we have to give up?” in order to live in a smaller community.  And if you know sales – and recruiting is selling, these practitioners also stand to make a great deal of money, or lose a lot if they make a mistake; so they will err on the side of caution, no different than consumers considering any important/expensive purchase or investment; they will NOT buy – because they never got enough information to offset the generalizations about these hospitals and their areas.

“Our community is a great place to raise a family,” “We have low crime,” “…no commute to work…,” “…great schools” – this all may be true but when everyone says it, these cliches simply don’t sell anyone.

Community hospitals don’t help their predicament.  They recruit like each other which further promotes their stereotype of being similar in what they offer.  Their recruiting staff is generally without real, bona fide professional selling experience.  After flying one unprepared “candidate” after another for their interviews, the hospital recruiters, along with their physicians and board members the candidates is set to meet, will all repeat the clichés “this community is great for families” and “no traffic jams” and “clear air” and “great schools:” these are non-defining, and cliches don’t educate, nor serve to separate the hospital and community from the other five the physician candidate is considering.

Jobseekers such as physicians need to know about the economy, economic trends, as well as the diversity of the area – not just how many big-box retailers are on Main Street, in order to project their future opportunity.  There should be a “thesis-type” of presentation covering all topics for these professionals who will drive millions in revenue to the hospital.  Not providing meaningful, educational, proprietary sales material that distinguishes their careers and service areas from others has proven penal in time and money lost as well as lost candidates for community hospitals.

These hospitals are judged by their bed size and the size of the dot of their town on a Google map.  Often a hospital will have a similarly cliché-ridden 9 minute video that opens up more questions than answers, or the hospital may passively provide ten websites of organizations of their community (content that someone else developed and not for the purpose of recruiting for the hospital)  to “help” the candidate, whom they apparently hope will “sell themselves.”  This is not  “selling” or “recruiting” anyone and has zero impact on the outcome.

The amount of money spent on recruiting, when technology suggests it should be cheaper, is higher than ever.  Third party recruiters smile and charm these hospitals all the way to the bank. They no longer cold call recruit but merely intercept the same professionals from Internet searches their own clients are advertising for.  Physician relationships developed with these people that don’t die at the placement.  In two major community hospital companies we have worked within, 50% of their physicians leave within three years.

Hospitals can spend thousands on interview trips – as many as 15, to fill one specialty physician job.  Including the spouses, these trips at $2,500 each total $37,500 just to fill one job.  Add the $25,000 “recruiter” fee.  Add the $20,000 bonus the hospital needs to throw in to close the deal.  Merritt Hawkins in 2006, and the Advisory Board Company, Inc. again in 2008, also claimed a hospital loses an additional $100,000 every month a physician job is unfilled.

  • So if a hospital can close its first physician candidate, save more than half of those interviews, eliminate the recruiter, and fill that ENT opening two months sooner with a truly sold physician and spouse, it nets more than $250,000 on one placement.  Even more,  if it is a sold placement and that doctor’s first choice, then that MD grows his life in the area and does business/invests in and strengthens that town, as opposed to coming half-committed and only to earn a green card, and leaving a hole after no flow of their earnings through that area in the form of permanent purchases and business partnerships.  $1 million total? More? This is not to mention a secure and stable continuum of care to the service area for years from improved retention.
Community hospitals must stand apart in order to attract jobseekers, and then sell their careers and their unique features with an approach that is modern and educates them.

If you are a community hospital and you want to stand apart, you need to attract jobseekers in a manner that fits with today’s career search dynamic and gets their attention on their computer devices, but more importantly, with proactive web content that defines your hospital and your service area’s unique features in a manner that educates and fulfills jobseeker needs to make their decisions while you compete against many other Joe Smiths and stand apart from all the other Joe Smiths that you are perceived – fairly or not, to be like.

A far more comprehensive, more efficient recruiting approach that physicians prefer over traditional recruiting by 89% or more on every survey question. The real interview trip can’t cover 5% of an Online Job Tour.

Recently-patented Online Job Tour® is for all of the Joe Smiths who want to stand out and compete for the best practitioners for their patients as well as create a modern approach that efficiently pre-qualifies jobseekers and sells their careers.  On a web format we build a “virtual interview visit experience” while putting the hospital and its community’s best “foot forward” that is so comprehensive that the real trip that is expensive and reserved for few, cannot cover 5% of it.

As a tool for both sides, jobseekers finally recognize you as the unique Joe Smith that you are with all of the features that make you different from all the others, and fully understand the life they will have and if it fits their dreams.  For the hospital, the challenges of standing apart and saving money thrown at recruiters, wasted trips, and lost money from unfilled jobs and poor retention are solved, which among many things actually put you in the position of being a stabilizing employer for your area.

  • In a seven year test market while we waited for our US patent, with community hospitals in 15 states, Online Job Tour filled jobs much sooner, reduced the need for third party recruiters by one in seven, and reduced overall interview trips by as much as 40%.  In one regional hospital through the installation of its cancer and heart programs the client had a 100% retention record with more than 40 physicians and advanced practitioners over a six year period.
  • Many clients of Online Job Tour now entertain candidates who are  convinced and willing to sign employment contracts upon arrival to their first and only trip; a Harvard fellow and his wife were signed 18 months before the end of his fellowship at one of our rural community hospital clients.

Hey Joe Smith, Online Job Tour will help you get found, stand apart, and get “friend requested” for the great Joe Smith that you are; after all, although your name is common, you are totally different – you’re unique and have a lot to offer.


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