Kurt Scott Director, Physician Search and Consulting at VISTA Staffing Solutions
If your organization makes a lot of offers to physicians that don’t get accepted, (i.e., you send out a lot of contracts that never get signed), try this approach to increase your percentages. I’ve seen this process increase the percentage of signed contracts to as high as 80 percent.
“No Soup for YOU!”
The saying “Everyone wants what they can’t have” does hold true in this case. If you don’t send people a contract until you get a verbal acceptance, they will value your contract all the more.
1. Make a verbal offer
The offer should be made verbally by the Chair or Department Head. The CEO and/or CMO’s participation can also be a powerful influence.
All negotiations should happen verbally. (This eliminates the back and forth with contract changes.)
Communicate to the candidate that you don’t send out contracts until the offer is verbally accepted. You may hear, “I can’t make a decision until I see the contract.” Your response should be, “We understand the importance of the contract, though the first decision should be, is this the practice you want? Providing the contract details can be worked out, will you accept our offer?”
If the candidate is unsure about accepting your offer verbally, this is the time to explain that while they are your first choice, the recruiting process must continue until you get a verbal acceptance. (This is KEY! You don’t want them to think you are holding the position open until they make a decision.) This means you need to continue considering and interviewing candidates.
Explain that once you receive a verbal acceptance from them, you will have a formal contract prepared (Remember SPEED?) and turned around quickly. You will FedEx it to them for review and signature.
2. Include an expiration date on the contract
My experience has always been that candidates will take as much time to sign as you give them. One to two weeks is plenty of time. You can always extend the deadline if needed. It is also a real hassle to formally and legally rescind an offer with no expiration on it.
That’s it in a nutshell. Stop handing out contracts that candidates can shop to your competition. Stay the course and apply this approach consistently!