“These ads try to appeal to your life other than medicine,” says Cecelia Wong, MD, a hospitalist with Med One Hospitalist Physicians in Columbus, Ohio.
Rohit Uppal, MD, medical director of the hospitalist program at Grant Medical Center, also in Columbus, says job hopefuls now know they can be picky when it comes to looking at positions in markets struggling to maintain a job candidate pipeline. Dr. Uppal uses a fellowship program as a recruitment tool, but he concedes he’s not in a power position when it comes to negotiation. “We’re not saying ‘Here’s our great hospitalist group, move to Columbus,’ ” he says. “We’re hearing ‘I’m moving to Columbus … looking to be a hospitalist.’ ”
Sweeten the Pot
Another potential recruiting tool some groups might overlook is physical office space. While many groups search for cost savings by moving to a “virtual office,” don’t underestimate the value a candidate might place in having a nice office to do their paperwork, says Joseph Ming-Wah Li, MD, FHM, SHM board member, director of the hospital medicine program at Harvard Medical School and associate chief of the division of general medicine and primary care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “What does that say to a hospitalist?” Dr. Li asks. “I take them to this nice suite with outside-looking windows—it sends a nice message of how you’re valued at your institution.”
Just don’t tilt too far toward fancy offices and big salaries. Mathews cautions clients not to focus solely on compensation, because it doesn’t solve long-term recruitment issues and might attract candidates only interested in short-term commitments. “It’s not wise to buy loyalty, because then you never know when it’s paid for,” Mathews says. “I’m going to throw a $40,000 signing bonus at this doctor. … Two years from now, somebody else can throw $50,000 at them and they’re gone. It’s not the candidate’s fault. They’re at the smorgasbord table.” TH
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.