Despite popular belief, there is no such thing as an “easy search” or the “perfect opportunity”. Some may say that geography is everything, however there are always challenges even with the most geographically attractive opportunities. Throughout my career, I have found that the most successful clients and recruiters have been able to identify their “hook”, what it is that makes their opportunity stand out from all the other opportunities across the country.
Having an opportunity in a difficult location doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, just as having a great location doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed success. As a recruitment firm, we work in some of the most geographically challenging markets in the country.
This is usually because those are the clients who need the most help. The key is to identify what it is about your opportunity that will make it attractive to a small percentage of the physician population. No matter how great one may believe an opportunity is, that doesn’t mean it will be attractive to all or even most of the physician population. Realistically, when marketing your opportunity, you are looking to identify the top 2-3% of physicians who are attracted by what you have to offer.
When determining what differentiates your opportunity, remember this; physicians will relocate for one of four main reasons: 1) Quality of Life 2) Quality of Practice 3) Financial 4) Geography. Everything will almost always boil down to one of these four items. If you are like a large majority of hospitals/clinics in the country, geography isn’t exactly something you can put in the “pros column” and it’s also something you can’t change, so you should focus on the first three aspects you can control because this is where you will differentiate your opportunity from the rest. Whether it’s being able to offer a better Quality of Life because you offer more vacation time or a flexible schedule, or you have a better Quality of Practice because you have adequate office support & mid-level support, your patient volumes will not cause burn out, your practice is extremely efficient and has the best computer systems or you even provide scribes to your physicians or because you are paying a higher salary or a higher production incentive than other opportunities….These are all items a physician considers when determining if an opportunity if right for them, therefore they are things you need to consider when you’re taking your opportunity to the national market.
Let’s look at a couple general examples:
We had a client in rural Illinois, two hours from anything. Our client wasn’t able to offer “over the top” money, but was in desperate need of a primary care physician because he had a physician retiring. It was apparent that geography wasn’t the strength of the opportunity and money was average; but he was able to offer a “Quality of Life” that wasn’t available in most other opportunities on the market. His practice was extremely efficient, physicians all had scribes and he was able to offer four-day work weeks along with extra paid vacation time (over & above the normal). As we identified this as his strength, we were able to market his opportunity to the masses and identified a physician who didn’t care about living in a metro area and was less worried about making in the 90th percentile but wanted a safe place to raise her family and an opportunity that allowed her to be home in the evenings to help her kids with homework and weekends free to spend with her family.
On the opposite side of the coin, we had a client in a mid-metro market in Tennessee who had a decent location who needed a general surgeon, but because of various reasons couldn’t offer a high “guaranteed salary”. What he could offer was a very aggressive production incentive. We were able to identify & quantify the volume potential in the community and were able to market the income potential of the opportunity. We found a physician who not only didn’t care as much about the guaranteed salary but loved the idea of “building the practice” and was motivated by the overall income potential of the opportunity.
Moral of the story is that it’s not about being “average” on all four things because then you’re just like every other opportunity in the country, but it’s about differentiating your opportunity by identifying the one or two things you can offer that can’t be found in most other locations and focus on that.
Cody Hall, CEO
Infinity Physician Resources