Physician job search beginning earlier

Job search beginning earlier for new physicians

The just-released Residents and Fellows Survey conducted by Cejka Search reports that 61 percent of 2013 residents and fellows began interviewing prior to January of their graduating year compared with 41 percent of the 2012 class. Among respondents from the 2013 class, 52 percent signed contracts by March, compared with 31 percent of the 2012 class, according to the search firm.

The survey noted that a majority of 2014 graduates will be looking at opportunities by late summer 2013 with plans to begin interviewing prior to year-end.

“The rise of physician employment, integration of medical practices and change in reimbursement structures will continue to pressure healthcare organizations to find the best talent who fit their organizations,” said Lori Schutte, president of Cejka Search, in a news release accompanying the report. “Physician recruiters must take strategic action -- early -- in order to recruit the top physicians emerging from training.”

Findings indicated that family needs and personal ties will heavily influence new physicians' practice choices. Three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents stated that their proximity to family will be a factor in deciding the location of their next job opportunity; more than two-thirds (67 percent) said that their choices are dependent on the interests of their spouse, significant other or family member; and 58 percent of new physicians chose their practice opportunity because they were trained in the area (an increase of 20 percent over 2012).

The survey offers compelling evidence for the adoption of recruitment and retention best practices, the report said. Almost one-third (29 percent) of respondents have a spouse or significant other who is also a physician (up 5 percent from 2012). This rise in two-physician couples may impact retention if one spouse accepts a position while the other is completing a training program in the same city. Turnover may occur when the couple decides to relocate to an area where they have personal ties.

To retain physicians during the first years in practice – when turnover rates peak – Cejka Search recommends that practices screen well for motivations with behavioral interviewing techniques, and cultivate candidates with ties to the community. Probing questions can help determine why a physician is considering your practice opportunity, and whether he or she plans to establish roots and stay for a prolonged period of time.

The survey also revealed the following job preferences and motivations for residents and fellows: 

  • Networking with colleagues (67 percent) and obtaining information from program directors and attendings (56 percent) continue to be the most common resources used by residents and fellows to look for available practice opportunities. 

  • A large majority of respondents (88 percent) selected a suburban community as their first or second choice, compared to 76 percent who selected a metropolitan community. 

  • Nearly a quarter of respondents (23 percent) chose a rural community as their preferred choice, which marks a 16 percent increase since 2012. 

  • About half (45 percent) of respondents considered a fellowship. When broken down by specialty, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of 2013 internal medicine residents considered further training, compared to only 29 percent of family medicine residents.