The Search for Effective Physician Leaders: New Strategies for New Challenges, Part V

Posted by VISTA Staffing on Oct 1, 2010 4:29:00 PM

Note: This is the fifth installment in a seven-part series on best practices in physician executive recruiting. To download the entire document, click here, or call Kurt Scott at 800-66-1884 to request a printed copy.

Part V:

On-site interviews that WOW them

The competition for great physician leaders is intense. You have to develop an on-site interview process that far exceeds candidates’ expectations. Your goal is to have each candidate leave your organization feeling like he or she is THE most important candidate, THE ONE in your eyes.

This requires that you customize the interview to the needs and preferences of each candidate. For example, a candidate who expresses an interest in research should spend a good amount of time with leaders and colleagues in that area. Schedule 45 minutes for each interview, with a 15-minute buffer to allow the candidate and host to get to the next interview on time. Make sure water and bathroom facilities are easily accessible.

Always assign a “host” to shepherd the candidate to interviews and appointments. He or she should be conscientious about maintaining the flow of the day, keeping interviews within time limits, answering questions as they come up, and developing contingency plans if things get off track. The host should be alert to potential “red flags” in the candidate’s behavior or comments, and alert the hiring manager as soon as possible. This will allow the hiring manager to investigate or address an issue immediately.

The host should also be a warm, subtle advocate for the candidate, a great contribution to the selling process.

Selecting a savvy realtor is another important success factor. Recruit a realtor who will act and be perceived as an extension of your organization. Make sure the realtor contacts the candidate and spouse before the on-site interview to develop a good understanding of their needs and priorities. The realtor should lead a valuable, time-wise community tour that leaves the candidate and spouse feeling that the community could work for them and they have a place to start further investigations.

Round One

The first round of on-site interviews should be conducted by members of the Executive Search Committee, plus any ad hoc members closely connected to the search based on position, specialty, or candidate’s area of interest.

Remember that ad hoc members should have been recruited to the committee at the outset, and should be very familiar with the position and criteria you have established. For example, if you are recruiting the Chair of Neurosurgery for your facility, you may include the Department Head of Neuroradiology, the VP of Operations for Neurosciences, and the Department Head of Neurology.

As noted each Executive Search Committee member should be assigned a section of the criteria to focus on but should feel free to let the conversation flow naturally to areas of interest to candidate or interviewer.

The Executive Search Committee should meet weekly to discuss and evaluate candidates interviewed that week. The job of the committee, remember, is to recommend candidates with the highest likelihood of success who should move on to Round Two.

Round Two

The second round of interviews should be conducted by additional Executive Search Committee members plus the organization’s executive leadership team, including the CEO, CMO, and COO. Leaders from other departments can be included based on the position and the candidate (e.g., the VP of Information Technology or the Director of Graduate Medical Education.)

Once again members of the Spouse Recruitment Committee should be included because the spouse’s level of interest can make or break the deal. In addition, as committee members spend time with the spouse they will uncover any potential family issues that might influence the decision or fit for the position. For example, in one recent situation a candidate had a son in a very challenging magnet high school, despite the son’s mild learning disability and need for slight accommodation. A member of the Spouse Recruitment Committee set up brief appointments for the parents to meet administrators at two schools in the new town, which gave the parents confidence that their son could find a positive fit at one of the schools.

The Executive Search Committee should meet immediately after all second round interviews are complete to do a final review of all candidates. They should make final recommendations in support of the top two or three candidate they can fully support for the position. These candidates’ profiles and interview summaries should be presented to the hiring manager.

Check back next month for Part VI, The Final Step and The Offer and The Close, or go to to download the complete document.

 VISTA Industry Updates

Topics: Industry Updates

About VISTA Staffing Solutions

Founded in 1990, VISTA Staffing Solutions helps hospitals, medical practices, and government agencies in the US optimize their physician staffing, ensure quality and continuity of care for patients, and maintain financial stability. A leading provider of US Locum Tenens and Permanent Physician Search Services, VISTA has over 28 years of experience providing award-winning service in the locum tenens industry.

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