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6 ways COVID-19 is changing physician recruitment and what that means for your strategy

Posted by Alexandra Cappetta on Mar 31, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Overcome the hurdles you're currently experiencing in physician recruitmentYou’ve already experienced the effects of COVID-19 on your day-to-day recruitment processes. While we can’t predict every change physician recruitment will undergo, we do know the coronavirus has had immediate implications for recruiters.

Michele Gutermuth, PracticeLink Director of Provider Engagement and a physician recruiter for over 20 years, shared her thoughts on how our world’s current events are impacting the physician recruitment industry. Here are some of the trends – and how you can respond to establish a new normal that still helps you work toward your next hire.   

Working remotely

Most businesses and organizations have closed their doors to excess activity, and at this time, that may include recruiters. While many of your recruitment methods may feel compromised by a remote setup, you can still be connecting with candidates. Now is the time to shift your focus to your online recruitment strategy. Without conferences, meetings and other in-person activities, your schedule will likely have some gaps that give you more time to explore a larger number of candidates in greater depth. This additional time can also be used to explore other ways to contact more candidates and grow your confidence in holding virtual interviews.

Interviews have gone digital

For the time being, you can’t gauge a candidate’s preparedness by their early arrival for the interview, their handshake and thoughtfulness to come ready with their resume. The transition to virtual interviews could mean stripping away any unnecessary formalities and allowing the interview to do what it was designed to do: help you and your candidate discover if it’s a good fit. Face-to-face interaction is usually preferred when meeting candidates, but another thing to consider is that when you’re trying to fill positions as quickly as possible, the format of these interviews might lend you the ability to assess more candidates than your schedule would typically allow.

Postponed site visits

Site visits are an important step in a candidate’s search, and when that step is removed as an option, it adds a layer of complexity to their decision. “If you don’t already have a video that markets your facility and community, get someone to get that done immediately. Even if it’s as lowkey as an iPhone video – that’s something,” Gutermuth said. When inconveniences such as postponed site visits become a reality, your process’ success may come down to how well you can sell your organization to prospects who don’t have the advantage of touring.

No events, no leads

The bad news? Canceled conferences mean lead reports can’t be collected, requiring recruiters to come up with alternative ways to find and source candidates. The good news? Job-seeking physicians who aren’t attending these events will be looking for new ways to connect with you as well. Even better news? The upcoming spring PracticeLink Live! Career Fairs haven’t been canceled – they’ve just gone virtual. So although not in-person, you still have the option to attend online networking events and link with candidates. The PracticeLink Candidate Database is another great resource for recruiters to access thousands of job-seeking physicians and APP profiles without attending events.

Contract flexibility

As candidates are limited in the ways they can assess opportunities and organizations, recruiters may need to get creative with their contracts to get candidates in the door. Gutermuth says this might look like a one-year contract instead of a three-year contract with an option to renew. Another option could be offering candidates the option to keep a prorated portion of their signing bonus in the event they can’t fulfil their contract. Although adjusting contracts to recruit more physicians in the short term will require more work to retain them long term, for now it can help you prioritize filling the immediate needs of your facility.   

Physician shortages

Before the arrival of COVID-19, you likely already had open positions at your facility that you were trying to fill; not to mention, the pre-existing shortage of physicians that has been facing the health industry as a whole. If a physician shortage at your facility isn’t a priority right now, it needs to be, says Gutermuth. Make sure your administrators have prepared the documentation needed to bring on more staff before an extreme need arises. Her advice is to be ready: “Don’t make your crisis worse by not providing an agreement to a doctor who’s ready to sign.”


Beyond these immediate impacts on everyday routine, physician recruitment as a whole is bound to see even more changes as COVID-19 cases increase. In the meantime, prepare the best you can, recruit who you can, reassure new hires and provide them with new information as timely as possible. We’re here to support you as we all navigate this unexplored territory together.

For more resources to help with your search for the right physician, or to start exploring candidates nationwide, visit for more information or contact

Topics: Physician Recruiting Tips, Industry News, physican recruiter

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