How Physician Employers Get the Maximum Results from Recruitment Agencies

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One of the most common mistakes made when dealing with a physician recruitment agency is the lack of management of that agency on the client’s part. The majority of healthcare organizations assume the agency knows its business – and indeed it should, or the wrong group has been picked. But to let the agency go its separate way without keeping up with what is happening is a BIG mistake.

In a successful working relationship, it is in the best interest of the client organization to assume some management responsibilities. Here are some tips to assist with this task.

Weekly Activity Reports

The client should insist on a weekly communication with the agency to keep current with activities. This can be either a quality telephone call or report, or an informal email. In addition, the client should expect – and if necessary, demand – a monthly synopsis of just what has been done in the search. A reputable recruitment firm will have no problem communicating its search activities on a regular basis. This information should include difficulties as well as successes. In working with an agency, no news is certainly not good news!

Keep Close Rein on Finances

Require a projection of costs for the various sourcing activities – such as job boards – and make sure that the firm sticks to it. In addition to their fees, retained recruitment firms charge clients for all expenses they incur in locating physicians. These expenses include email lists, printing, on-line journal advertisements, exhibits at specialty conferences, telephone charges, and travel.

Expenses for a search completed in 12 months generally average between $4,000 and $7,000. However, these costs can be quite a bit higher for searches that take longer than a year to complete and for positions that are, for whatever reasons, not desirable.

The best approach is for the client organization to set a total limit or to require the firm to obtain their approval before making expenditures.

Monthly Billing of Expenses

In order to get and keep a better handle on expenses, require a monthly billing of all expenditures. Firms usually bill clients monthly for these expenses or they will bill them in accordance with a previously agreed-upon schedule.

Do not hesitate to question each item – and especially those which seem exceptionally high or out of the estimated cost range.

Unfortunately, over-charging for out-of-pocket and other expenses is the area of greatest abuse by those few firms that tarnish the rest.

Expect Results

A reputable recruitment agency will be honest about a client’s recruitment chances for success, and will offer recommendations that can facilitate the search’s timely completion. Then it will make a diligent effort to find and present to the client as many candidates as possible.

Unless your opportunity is a particularly difficult or undesirable one, the agency should present one or more qualified and interested candidates within 30-45 days. If this is not the case, statistically speaking, you have not had good results with your physician recruitment firm.

In a nutshell, best practices for utilizing physician recruitment agencies can be summarized as follows: by properly identifying when you need an agency, by selecting the agency that best meets your particular needs, and by closely managing the agency’s activities on your behalf, you will find that working with these firms can be very helpful in your physician recruitment campaign.


Physician Recruitment is challenging enough without our own self-made problems. Learn more about AAMM’s seminars and resources.

Roger Bonds is the founder of the American Academy of Medical Management and president of The National Institute of Physician Recruitment & Retention, based in Atlanta, GA. Find AAMM on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter.and YouTube. Email AAMM at [email protected], or call their main office at 770-649-7150.