Common recruitment challenges (and how to beat them)

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In the latest in our series on getting the right person for the job, we explore how your recruitment process can be changed beyond recognition if you partner with an effective agency to do the heavy lifting for you

It is often said that, despite the huge swathes of time and energy they took, traditional approaches to recruitment were about as successful as sticking a pin in a list of your applicants’ names!!

Few practice managers or GPs are recruitment experts, and most practices are small businesses without the benefit of large HR departments. There is strong competition out there to secure the best candidates; do you really have the necessary skills to ‘sell’ your practice effectively and win the prize?

Working with a modern, specialist recruitment agency will save you time and money – and will bring the best candidates directly to your interview room door. Here’s how.

Agencies save you time, money and angst

Taking on new staff can be immensely time-consuming – it creates a lot of pressure for people who already have plenty of pressure in their lives.

An effective recruitment agency will do the work that you are, if you’re honest, not really qualified to do and for which you really don’t have time. Agencies know how to pull together a really eye-catching job advert and they also understand how to set things up so that this advert is ranked highly in the searches which your potential candidates out there are making.

bmjcareers - your medical recruitment campaign starts here. Find out more.

When employers try a DIY approach to recruitment, often, the applications they receive are few and disappointing. If you want to get the best people to apply for your vacancy you have to be able to make sure that the best people see your advert – and that the advert they see really interests them, driving them to find out more about the role you have on offer.

These days most people looking for a job register with an agency rather than applying directly to practice adverts; this is generally a quicker way for job-hunting GPs to find a position – so the pool of talent which agencies can draw on for you is large.

Agencies advertise vacancies both on and off line in all the places where they know candidates are looking – and, remember, they already have many great candidates on their books who they can sweep to look for likely matches – they are able to search for candidates who fit the bill but who are maybe not actively job-seeking right now – great candidates who can be tempted by the right offer.

An effective agency knows the job seekers on its books really well which means they are well-placed to match the right people to your vacancy.

Agencies sort, sift and secure the best for you

Good agencies ensure that the best possible candidates are found for you. You need to see people who are not only well-qualified for the job but who also provide a great fit with your vision and prevailing culture.

Screening, filtering, and narrowing down candidates is what recruitment agencies do – it’s their specialism; the agency you partner with will save you hours of time by sifting through the many applications which their well-crafted adverts will have attracted. They will deal with all the necessary admin – including being the link for your candidates, acting as the go-between for queries and questions, and verifying their credentials – qualifications, references, etc. Quality agencies have stringent registration and vetting procedures in place to ensure that candidates meet all necessary legal and contractual requirements; they will also scrutinise relevant compliance documents – making sure expiry dates for things like Disclosure and Barring Service certificates and visas are up-to-date – lifting a huge administrative burden from your shoulders.

bmjcareers - your medical recruitment campaign starts here. Find out more.

You can be confident you’re on safe ground in relation to salary and benefits because your agency will have benchmarked salaries for similar roles in your area – if necessary the agency will conduct negotiations with your preferred candidate to reach a mutually acceptable outcome.

Having found a great field of right people for your job, your agency can also schedule and organise the interviews for you and, as they are experts in this field, can help you with questions to ask and ways of getting behind the CV to the person you may be about to invite into your practice. They’ll even make those ‘Sorry you’ve been unsuccessful’ ‘phone calls for you if you wish.

Agencies create a talent pool for you to draw on – now and in the future

We’ve focused here on how a great agency can help you to recruit great GPs, but a great agency can also help you in the search for other multi-disciplinary members too. Select your partner agency with care and feel the recruitment burden slip from your shoulders as they take the strain and do the sourcing, sifting and initial selecting for you – after all, you’ve got plenty of other things to do!!

As your relationship with your agency lengthens and deepens it will become even more cost-effective, because they will understand your organisation and its needs more fully and their ability to respond quickly and effectively will increase.

There are many reasons why organisations in most other industries use recruitment agencies as a routine part of their overall hiring strategy, so why should the primary care sector not do the same?

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