January is the Best Month to Hire a Doctor

Finding and hiring doctors today is a challenging task. Talent is in short supply: Over the next decade, researchers project a shortage of up to 94,000 US physicians. Holding onto doctors once they’re hired is imperative, but in the first three years of physician employment, the aggregate turnover rate is a steep 25%. And employers working to fill open positions often face a lengthy process. One report found the average time to fill for primary care doctors in 2015 was 204 days – more than six months.

But the importance of having healthcare institutions reliably staffed with physicians can’t be overstated. We all rely on access to skilled physicians to stay healthy, happy and productive. So what can healthcare recruiters do to improve hiring processes for doctors? Let’s take a closer look at how the timing of job posts come into play, along with other challenges physician recruiters are up against today, and explore tips for optimizing recruitment processes.

Could bad timing be causing you to miss out on a wealth of physician talent?

Indeed’s data suggests there’s a timing mismatch between employers and candidates for physician positions. Our job posting data from 2015 and 2016 shows that employers post the most physician jobs on Indeed in October, but job seeker searches for these positions peak in January. This month is consistently the best time for employers to find a doctor looking for work.

January is a combination of more people are looking and less people are hiring. You could reach a greater number of physician candidates by shifting more recruiting and hiring efforts to January, when job seeker interest spikes.

Location, intensive vetting and shifting candidate priorities

When it comes to hiring physicians, location is a critical factor. According to the NIH, roughly 20% of the US population lives in rural areas, but only 9% of the nation’s physicians practice in rural communities, and the South is expected to see the greatest physician shortfall through 2025. Most medical schools are in urban centers and many doctors choose to practice near the area where they trained. Even medical students who hail from rural areas often choose to remain in cities after graduation – attracted by things like cultural activities and dining options – rather than returning to their rural hometowns. Our data shows searches for doctors in smaller urban areas are well-below the national average in 2016.

Searches for Doctor Jobs are Down in Southern Metro Areas

Metro Area% Change From Average
Lake Charles, LA-93%
Ocala, FL-93%
Savannah, GA-87%
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA-87%

Based on Jul 1 – Dec 14, 2016 data

The vetting and hiring process for doctors also tends to be more intensive than for other healthcare roles. When investing in highly skilled physicians, hospitals want to ensure a strong match so they can retain valuable talent amid fierce competition. The renowned Mayo Clinic, for instance, keeps physicians on for three years before deciding whether to commit to making them full consultants. Also, many organizations are now…

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