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The candidate’s face on Facebook: Should a hiring decision be based on social media conduct?

Would you hire a physician who posted questionable photos or comments relating to his or her personal activities on a social media site?

With escalating frequency, hiring managers are confronted with information about candidates that pushes them into uncharted waters. Do you know what information you can legally, ethically, and practically consider as part of your hiring decision?

Sharpen the tools in your interactive recruitment marketing kit

In the physician recruitment cycle, we are at a critical stage when residents and fellows who completed training in 2010 have started practicing, and the members of the class of 2011 have started searching for their dream jobs in earnest. Our current Cejka Search focus group of 2011 residents and fellows revealed that more than half of residents and fellows have already started, or will begin, to interview before the year’s end, and more than one-third say they hope to sign a contract by that time.

The urgency for reaching out to these young recruits is high, and the channels with which to reach them are diversifying with every new technology that emerges. Manhattan Research stated that the “professional use of smartphones and online user-generated content are no longer early adopter activities of a tech-savvy few; these types of activities are the norm for the majority of physicians today.”


Q&A with IMI’s David Cornett on hospitalist recruitment

Editor’s note: We sat down with David Cornett at the 2010 Society of Hospital Medicine annual meeting to pick his brain on the evolving strategies on hospitalist recruitment and retention. Cornett is the vice president of business development at Inpatient Management, Inc., based in St. Louis. Hear what he has to say.

Q: Have you noticed any changes in hospitalist recruitment given the current economic downturn?

A: For practicing physicians, there are instances where it’s been harder for them to move because of the real estate problem. It’s not that there aren’t jobs for them—unlike most of the rest of the economy—but sometimes, they’re trapped in a house, and they may have planned a move and just can’t afford to. I have heard of, on occasion, for some specialties, healthcare organizations help fund some shortfall on that regard; that’s still pretty rare.


The deciding recruitment factors: Location, environment, compensation

It is an honor to be asked to share my opinions with HCPro’s readership, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and ideas with you over the next year. Our time together will be more interesting if we dialog about topics of interest to you, so please feel free to share your opinions and ideas. Since recruitment is what Cejka Seach does, I thought I would begin by sharing some thoughts about the state of recruitment today.

A wise consultant once told me that the odds of filling a physician opening were significantly influenced by three factors: the location, the practice environment, and the compensation package. To be successful, two of these three factors must be in your favor. This leads me to ponder two questions – What can we control? What can we change?


A Cautionary Tale: Drug abuse among physicians

A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association [McCracken C. Intellectualization of drug abuse. JAMA 303(19) p1894-5 (May 19,2010)] contained an op-ed piece by a former addiction researcher who thought he could dabble with controlled substances but ended up losing his career, the love of his life, and his freedom.

It reminded me of an experience I had several years ago when I was trying to rebuild a failed hospitalist program in upstate New York. Recruiting physicians to the rural location was extremely difficult. A physician that was referred by a recruiter looked like a reasonable candidate, except that he was under psychiatric care for an anxiety disorder. I spoke with his psychiatrist, who assured me that his condition was under control. He needed a little time to get up to speed with our heavy caseload, but he proved to be a wonderfully caring and attentive physician. That is, when he did not fall asleep while examining patients. I sent him for medical exams and sleep studies, but the real cause of his problem did not come to light until a narcotic investigator stopped in to inform me that the physician was being arrested that day for passing fraudulent narcotic prescriptions around the area. He surrendered his medical license and went to rehab.

The story does not end there. I received a phone call several months later from a recruiter representing a hospital in northern Maine about this physician. I asked the recruiter if he knew the man’s history, which he did, and I said “He’s a nice guy, and I would like to see him get back on his feet, but it’s a big risk.”


When in doubt, book a hotel room

Having a physician candidate stay at the home of a physician already on your staff is a bad idea, says Shannon Penney, director of recruiting at Delta Physician Placement in Dallas. I recently interviewed Penney for an article in the July issue of Hospitalist Leadership Advisor, a supplement to Medical Staff Briefing, and here is what he had to say:

A good interview is orchestrated from A-Z. From the time the candidate agrees to the interview, you have to orchestrate how quickly you buy their plane tickets, their experience at the airport, their experience at the rental car company, their experience at the hotel, and their experience at your organization. We’ve had some candidates that, when getting ready for an interview, go to book their hotel, and the hospital has made plans for the candidate to say with a physician and his or her family. One, that is awkward. Two, I’ve had a physician call me and say “I was going to be practicing with this guy? You should have seen the way his disciplined his kids!” It was a real negative.

Penny also suggests that medical staffs host a luncheon for the new candidate and invite existing medical staff members to attend. “Any time you can bring a large medical community together to support and meet with the physician candidate, it shows community and unity in the healthcare environment.”

Live from SHM: Experts’ advice on hospitalist recruitment

“The group that can retain hospitalist can recruit hospitalists,” said Winthrop Whitcomb, MD, MHM, hospitalist at Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, MA, at the Society of Hospital Medicine Best Practices pre-course on Thursday.

Where can you find candidates? Whitcomb suggested seeking out your local primary care physicians. “The best ‘fellowship’ is to be a PCP,” he said about the training that can help prepare them for the inpatient setting.

Increasingly, more programs look to the pool of recently graduated residents. Whitcomb encouraged to draw a 75-100 mile radius around your institution and connect with residency directors and chief residents. That outreach establishes relationships. Remember to be mindful of the recruitment cycle for residents based on their graduation date.


Live from SHM: How do you build camaraderie within the hospitalist group?

“It’s not a luxury item to a high-functioning group,” said Winthrop Whitcomb, MD, MHM, hospitalist at Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, MA, about the necessity of hospitalist group camaraderie.

Although the brothers-in-arms feeling come natural to some groups, that isn’t always the case for all groups. Here’s what the SHM Best Practices Pre-course panelists had to say ways to build up the team dynamics.

SHM Best Practices Panel members answer audience questions. ( Photo / Karen M. Cheung)


Juggling motherhood and medicine

I recently completed an article on work-life balance for the upcoming issue of Hospitalist Leadership Advisor, a supplement to Medical Staff Briefing. When it comes to work-life balance, one of the first questions that comes to my mind is how do physicians juggle parenthood with one of the most demanding jobs on the market? Those of us whose jobs don’t involve the pressure of saving lives have a hard enough time! Our friends at pointed out a great blog for physician moms: Check it out!

Where’s the beef? Recruiting hospitalists requires helping them move

The Hospitalist reported in its February issue that if you are going to recruit a hospitalist from afar, you should count on forking over some cash to help them move. The article states that though many other sectors are unable to offer housing or moving assistance due to the down economy, hospital medicine is upping the ante as demand for hospitalists grows. 

However, you may need to get a little more creative than that, said Kirk Mathews, MBA, CEO of St. Louis–based Inpatient Management, Inc., a hospitalist consulting and recruiting firm, and author of Practical Guide to Hospitalist Recruitment and Retention. In the March issue of Hospitalist Leadership Advisor, a supplement to Medical Staff Briefing, Mathews suggested that offering six months of housing assistance may not be enough to recruit some hospitalists with unique needs. 

“I was once asked to relocate a herd of championship cattle. This particular physician’s passion away from medicine was beef cattle, and moving them was part of the deal. If someone has a unique need and you can find a way to meet that need with a reasonable amount of dollars, that is when you have a successful recruitment,” said Mathews. 

A situation that you’re more likely to run into is a physician whose spouse can’t relocate right away. For them, instead of offering housing assistance, you may wish to offer to pay for that physician’s transportation home during his or her time off. 

How does your program accommodate unique recruiting needs? What was the most unusual request you’ve received?

Recruiting strategies reveal programs’ health

Hospitalist program managers, medical directors, and CEOs are flexing their creative muscles—and possibly stretching their budgets—to develop recruiting strategies that will grab candidates’ attention. However, if your program is relying on hefty sign-on bonuses and relocation assistance, it may be a sign that your program is ailing.

“The idea is to be able to recruit based on word of mouth. The hospitalist programs that can do this have a strong reputation derived from happy doctors,” says Winthrop Whitcomb, MD, director of healthcare quality at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA.

Hospitalist programs that rely on word of mouth advertising tend to have more reliable, dedicated staff because more staff members are recruited from the local area and therefore understand how the program relates to the community’s needs. “They are much more likely to stay long-term.”

Aggressive recruiting strategies aren’t always a sign of a struggling program—the program could certainly be healthy and growing and just need the extra boost to meet community demand. However, “A potential job applicant should wonder why the program can’t recruit by word of mouth,” Whitcomb says.

Online videos give physician recruiters an edge

Last week, we brought to your attention some of the great tools available on the Web to help you share information and organize your professional life (By the way, Google Reader has rocked my world.). This week, I’d like to share ways you can use online videos to become a competitive recruiter. 

The physician shortage isn’t helping anyone’s recruiting efforts, so if you want to recruit competitively, you have to get creative. In addition to direct mail pieces, e-mails, ads in specialty and association journals, and a presence on social networking sites, give recruiting videos a shot. I went to YouTube ( and watched several recruiting videos. Some were terrific, and some weren’t. Here are some tips I gleaned from the good ones: