Customer Relationship Recruitment/CRR

By: Keith Michael Sarich, MHA, CHE


To say a physician recruiter's job is easy in a most competitive environment would be like saying climbing Mount Everest is as simple as a walk in the park!

Obviously, the role of a recruiter in today's wild and turbulent health care world is at best, a nonstop flurry of e-mails, cold calls and constant disappointments. In a profession with far too many positions available across the country for the physician and literally thousands of hospitals, health care organizations and headhunters vying for a very finite number of physicians, passive or actively looking, it becomes apparent that a recruiter needs more than a great smile and firm handshake to survive.

Let's face it, with recruiters using the same technology-driven tools such as the Internet, it still comes down to a disproportionate supply and demand curve. To prove this point, a review of just one of a myriad of physician recruitment sites currently on the Internet reveal endless opportunities posted by countless numbers of search firms.

Assuming a recruiter makes all the right moves; from superb sourcing and qualifying to post-placement management, can there still be a missing element? Perhaps an untapped tool with the capability of increasing the fruit of a recruiter's labor?

To find that answer, let's first make some assumptions.

Let's assume within the world of physician recruitment, the playing field is essentially level. Populated with many well-trained and seemingly motivated recruiters, with adequate support and access to technology competing for a finite physician pool.

Now assume that job fill requirements are increasing across the board, which they in fact are. We find that one recruitment firm essentially mirrors the next one and so on and so on. Clients and candidates do differ, but much of the mechanics of recruitment remains the same today much as it was done say fifty years ago, minus the technology factor.

No doubt that technology has sped up the "process" of recruitment; increasing accessibility to both candidate and client while reducing costs in specific areas of doing business. The barrier to entrance has become easier to overcome, evident with the proliferation of small "mom-and-pop" recruitment firms that are also enjoying economies of scale and using technology to their own, cost-effective advantage. A good example of this would be the various free (still) Internet websites that offer no-cost job postings.

Enter the powerful role marketing plays. Phillip Kotler, author of "Marketing Management" describes a key concept, "competitive advantage". According to Kotler, three variables are necessary to achieve competitive advantage. With so many recruitment firms mirroring the next, competitive advantage becomes the key issue when discussing the success and failure of a recruitment firm. Kotler describes the three as Differentiation, Cost Leadership and Rapid Response to Entry. The second and third variables describe competitive pricing and rapid response/entrance into a new or existing market accordingly. They have some impact on the recruitment ...

Keith Sarich, MHA, CHE, CNC is a Lieutenant Commander, United States Naval Reserve and is the Regional Director for staffing and professional recruitment initiatives for Naval Reserve, NC, SC and TN. He has held adjunct positions with Indiana Wesleyan University, Governors State University and as a visiting Adjunct, American College of Medical Staff Development instructing in the area of physician recruitment. Mr. Sarich attained the "Recruiter of the Year-2003" and "Medical Recruiter of the Year-2003" from his parent organization, located in Orlando, FL.

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