The Stoplight Paradigm

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Director of Brand Marketing & Communication

The Stoplight Paradigm

The healthcare field and the physician recruiting industry are coming head-to-head with big challenges during COVID-19. Some healthcare organizations have paused hiring due to the pandemic, while others need physicians as soon as possible.

Depending on a variety of factors such as practice type, specialty, and region of the country, physician recruiting continues to evolve as the pandemic maintains its hold on the country. As a result, recruiters must be ready to adapt their strategy depending on what their organization is comfortable with.

What Stoplights Have to do With Physician Recruiting

Let’s picture the current state of recruiting as a traffic stoplight. Both candidates and healthcare organizations fall into one of these three categories. Green means that they will hire or take a position through a standard or completely virtual interview process. Yellow signifies they are open to virtual interviews but will not take or offer a position until they have visited or interviewed on-site. Red indicates that a candidate or organization prefers to do nothing virtually and would rather follow through with traditional on-site visits.

It is vital to know where your organization and the candidates you speak with fall on the Stoplight Paradigm.
Tim Ketterman, VP of Operations
Adaptive Medical Partners

In an ever-increasing virtual world, it is vital to understand where your organization falls on the spectrum. Equally as important, you will want to understand up front where each candidate you speak with falls.

Green Light

The green-light candidates (GLCs) make your recruiting efforts easy. Because of their flexibility, the chances of placing these candidates are much higher than those that have any reservations about virtual interviews.

A GLC is comfortable learning about an organization, its culture, and what it’s like working there via calls and other virtual interactions and are willing to make a decision based on those interactions. However, not all candidates will be GLCs. According to an article from the American Medical Association, a fellow stated:

“You want to see the facility in which you are going to work. Is it a work space that is conducive to you being able to provide optimal patient care the way you think you should… Also, there are things about the culture of an organization that you are only going to pick up through smaller interactions you have with individuals or the way you observe people interacting together? You are not going to see those on a Zoom call.”
Hans Arora, MD, Pediatric Urology Fellow
Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

As this doctor’s quote illustrates, candidates may view virtual interviews as a setback.

Yellow Light

Yellow lights candidates (YLCs) are likely the biggest group within the three categories. Open to electronic screening, they may follow through with the entire interview process.

However, they will only accept a position contingent on a personal visit to the facility and community. Yellow light Healthcare organizations may have similar limitations. Either due to medical staff preferences or even an unexpected increase in COVID patients – these facilities will only be confident when they have met candidates in person and have experienced how they interact with their staff.

Both candidates and recruiters have valid reasons for not moving all the way through the process. The biggest challenge with YLC’s is maintaining the momentum and interest after a virtual interview has taken place.

Red Light

The red-light candidates (RLCs) are not open to virtual recruiting efforts. This may be for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they don’t trust virtual sourcing and screening, or they are used to traditional in-person recruiting.

Maybe they have had a bad experience with virtual processes before and would rather be on-site. When dealing with RLCs, your timeframe to hire for the position will determine the next steps with the candidate.

If time is on your side, you can keep them as a viable option. If time is of the essence, you will have to move on to other candidates that are either GLCs or YLCs.

Moving Forward

All recruiters are facing the challenges of recruiting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of a candidate’s group placement, it is essential to understand that everyone has been impacted and has had to adjust to the current normal.

In the meantime, maintain contact and continue networking with desirable candidates regardless of which stoplight group they fall under, because in times like these, candidate engagement is vital to recruiting success, and the more candidates you can put into your pipeline the better prepared you’ll be when COVID finally loosens its grip and gives us all a green light!

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