As the Vice President of Human Resources at vRad, I have the distinct privilege to oversee the recruitment and retention of our 500+ physicians. A strong focus for my team is keeping our physicians engaged and happy as they are our most important asset.
This can be a daunting undertaking given the demand for imaging services is increasing and the radiologist candidate pool is decreasing.
After a bit of a roller coaster ride in radiologist demand since 2003, Merritt Hawkins, the nation’s largest physician search and consulting firm, is reporting in their 2017 Annual Survey that requests for radiologists have spiked in the past several years – becoming one of the most sought-after specialties.
But will that demand be met with an ample supply?
Merritt Hawkins data shows close to 50 percent of radiologists are 55 or older and attrition is beginning to reduce the pool of available candidates. At the same time, rising salaries and subspecialty reading preferences are having an impact on staffing strategies.
How healthcare facilities and medical practices can weather this significant challenge is the topic of an upcoming webinar we’re hosting (See the sidebar below for more information.)
I encourage anyone charged with recruiting radiologists to make plans to participate in this informative discussion.
In the meantime, however, here are five recommendations for improving your radiologist recruiting and hiring activities:
1. Be responsive and prepare to move fast
Radiologists interviewing to join your organization want to feel important. They not only appreciate but also expect prompt communication after interviews and inquiries.
And they also don’t like to wait an extended period of time from the start to finish of the hiring process. So be prepared to move quickly. Standing out in a positive way for your responsiveness could be just what you need to land your top candidates.
2. Meet face-to-face
As part of the goal of making radiologist candidates feel important, try to conduct as many face-to-face interviews as possible. While there’s added expense and time involved with in-person interviews, they offer significant value to both parties.
For a radiologist candidate, it allows them to see a potential employer’s facilities and interact with future co-workers. For employers, it helps demonstrate a sincere interest in candidates and offers a more in-depth opportunity to assess their strengths and ability to fit in with your team and culture.
3. Offer an attractive lifestyle
What will a radiologist’s lifestyle look like as a member of your practice or facility? Does employment at your organization offer a good work/life balance? Do radiologists have the flexibility to work from home? Can you point to existing radiologists who are happy advocates for your practice and its culture?
In a competitive market, offering attractive answers to some of those questions can help tip the scales in your favor.
4. Offer strong technology, resources and support
Radiologist candidates are curious about the technology tools and other resources to which they will have access. What kind of PACs system will they use? What does the workflow look like?
They also want to know how they will be supported in their work. At vRad, for instance, we assign liaisons to new radiologists in an effort to ease their transition to our systems and culture. That personal support continues throughout their career and also includes access to a 24/7 operations center.
5. Determine if candidates are a good match
Given the high demand for radiologists, it may be tempting to extend offers to any qualified candidates who show an interest. But you owe it to your organization and to those candidates to assess whether they are truly a good fit. Do they really want to work for you? Or are they just looking around? Explore what it is about your organization that they appreciate and gravitate to.
After all, hiring a radiologist who isn’t a good fit can be an expensive mistake and will likely soon land you back in the same place: looking to fill an open position.
My team works hard to find radiologists who are passionate about radiology and committed to providing quality patient care. And just as our radiologists serve our clients, the team members at vRad work tirelessly to serve our radiologists. Through innovation, technology, leadership and clinical excellence, we all strive to improve the practice of radiology, and care for patients the best way we know how.