July 17th, 2013

Why do your psychiatry recruiters still cold call?

It was not long ago that I had a relatively successful physician recruiter, not affiliated with Monroe & Weisbrod, ask why we still had our psychiatry sourcers making cold-calls or “dialing for psychiatrists” as we like to call it. For those unfamiliar with where this question comes from, I will provide a little background.

At one time, a psychiatry recruiter was nothing more than a person willing to open the phonebook and make as many calls as possible per day in order to source potential psychiatrists. Gradually, over time, as technology increased the psychiatry recruiter’s reliance on the phone decreased. Mass snail mail and email gradually took over as the preferred method of candidate sourcing, not to mention the influence online job boards has had.

The most drastic decrease in use of the phone occurred immediately after the “dot com” bubble burst and overnight there were thousands of IT recruiters out of work and looking for other industries to recruit within and, quite naturally, many of them made it to physician recruitment, spawning a whole new race of beings who believed a psychiatrist could be effectively recruited almost entirely through use of the internet.

There are arguably both pro’s and con’s to this rise in technology as it pertains to physician recruitment, but call me old fashioned because I believe there is no substitute for phone time with both your client and potential psychiatry candidates. The rapport that has to be built in order to be an effective psychiatry recruitment strategist and consultant to your client, as well as a career counselor to your candidate can just not occur entirely or even largely through email. Your computer can only serve as a convenience for brief communications, but never as a substitute for proper discussion and negotiation.

Perhaps you think my stance is antiquated and I merely like the use of the phone for posterity sake. Maybe that’s some of it, but the numbers also support my stance; that is, once you scrutinize them a bit more closely.

So, admittedly, in our firm and in most firms email is the primary vehicle for candidate sourcing. In other words, of all the psychiatrists placed last year by Monroe & Weisbrod, the number one method the candidates were initially sourced were through our pretty amazing email distribution list and proprietary method for mass emailing. For many, that stops the argument right there. However, being into metrics and a bit of a numbers geek, I chose to delve a bit deeper and speculate as to if there were any other ways to gauge viability of a sourcing method.

I posited that while sheer number of psychiatrists placed was of course a great metric for the efficacy of a particular source, I decided that the ratio of psychiatrists placed to the number of candidates who responded initially to a particular method would also be quite telling.

Here’s what I found… a non-training psychiatrist sourced by cold-calling (defined as CV sent in response to phone inquiry by psychiatry recruiter) was almost 10 times more likely to take a job than someone who merely responded to an email. I exclude training psychiatrists on purpose, because they are much easier to reach by phone than practicing psychiatrists and they will often send their CV to many recruiters since they are eager to get a job upon completion of their psychiatry residency. Now, of course, in the time it takes to make 10 phone calls you can send out many more emails, but still there is something to be observed and learned.

When you source a psychiatrist through the phone, they aren’t going to hang up, fire up their computer, update their CV and then email or fax you a copy, lest they be very interested. However, responding to an email with “how much is the base?” or “where exactly is this opportunity?” is not very time consuming.

Also, there is the undeniable factor that the rapport built when connecting with someone on the phone is just much superior to any email sent. If you can effectively engage a psychiatry candidate initially over the phone, then you have earned a bit of their trust, whereas you may have almost done the opposite with an initial email contact with how much spam and fraud is brought to us courtesy of the internet.

Furthermore, is the golden candidate – a busy psychiatrist who is quite happy with where they are, but always wanted to get home to (fill in name of community you currently are searching for here) – more likely to be trolling the job boards and checking email? Or is that stance more often taken by itinerant psychiatrists who have no real idea where or why they want a particular job?

This is just food for thought, as I would never espouse a lack of email/internet use in candidate sourcing. It has proven to be quite effective. However, it is my stance and those of us here at Monroe & Weisbrod that when physician recruiter augment their online sourcing methods with old-fashioned phone calls will go from the “relatively successful” title I gave to the recruiter I referenced in the first paragraph, to the elite recruiter status which is the only status acceptable within our firm.

At Monroe & Weisbrod, we pair the best of modern technology with the attributes and methods of successful, veteran psychiatry recruiters so as to most effectively leverage our superior resources. Please call 512-270-2885 or contact us online by filling out the contact form on the contact-us page.

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