Do's and Don'ts for a Site Visit

There's no second chance to make a good first impression, as the saying goes. That's why it's important that when you schedule a site visit with a candidate, you do it right—right from the start. Here are a few helpful "do's" and "don'ts" for scheduling and hosting a successful site visit.

Physician Site Visit Tips

DO customize the candidate's visit.

"Tailor the site visit to the physician," says Mindy Roeder, Director of Physician Recruitment at Schneck Medical Center, an independent 100-bed hospital located in rural Seymour, IN. Once you've found a candidate who's qualified and you've then had a detailed phone interview with the physician, try to schedule the site visit during a time when the applicant will see the facility or the specific department at its peak time. If you're hiring a surgeon, for example, aim to schedule the candidate's visit during a weekday when the OR and clinic are in full swing.

Also, try to find out about the physician's interests, Ms. Roeder says. Do some research on Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. Supplement your research with PracticeMatch Pinpoint Profiles, which offers candidate preferences collected from physician phone interviews. If you know in advance whether the physician wants to work with high-tech equipment or prefers longer patient visits, or whether he or she has toddlers or has teens, or is into running or into fishing, you'll be able to better personalize their visit. This always makes a good impression, Ms. Roeder says.

DON'T leave out the spouse.

Have you heard the saying "Happy wife, happy life"? Actually, both spouses must be happy with the decision to relocate, Ms. Roeder says. That's why she insists that the candidate's spouse or partner must attend the site visit to ensure that the couple makes an informed, mutual decision.

"I have never recruited a physician that did not bring their spouse. Any time a physician came for a site visit and did not bring their spouse, we've never sealed the deal. Now, I tell them: If you can't bring your spouse, then you'll have to find a better time to visit when your spouse can join us."

DO be honest and open about your site.

If you try to "sell" your site as a place that has all things for all people, you may wind up selling nothing at all. Rather, be straightforward about the facility and the location, and turn its distinctive characteristics into its most appealing features.

Ms. Roeder doesn't downplay her facility's small town setting or try to describe it as a mini metropolis. Rather, she emphasizes the close-knit, family-oriented character of both the community and hospital. "This is the place you move to because you are looking for the comforts of a small town," she says.

DO involve physicians and staff in the visit.

A formal, sit-down interview with a hospital administrator doesn't have to be the most crucial part of process. "We focus on getting to know the physician and their family throughout the course of the visit," Ms. Roeder says. At Schneck, the greater part of the day involves an in-depth tour of the entire hospital, including a mini-tour of each department led by the department heads. Ms. Roeder provides the candidate's CV and background information to the department heads beforehand so that they can have a meaningful conversation with the candidate when they meet for the first time.

While an in-depth, personal tour of the facility is essential, Ms. Roeder explains that the highlight of her site visits doesn't even take place at the facility. The featured event is a casual dinner party that includes spouses and children, such as a backyard barbecue held at the house of one of the physicians. This informal evening allows the candidate and the physicians to "let their guard down." It gives the physicians the opportunity to really get to know the candidate and gauge whether he or she will be a good fit with the rest of the staff. "Our approach is to let our physicians recruit our physicians," Ms. Roeder says.

DON'T end the visit with a contract.

"We never offer a physician a written contract at the end of the visit with a tight deadline to sign it. Some hospitals think this is a must," Ms. Roeder says.

Both parties—the candidate and the recruiting facility—need time to gather additional information and think over the decision. "We want it to be the right decision for everyone, not one made under pressure. Our goal is to recruit physicians who want to have a life-long career with us," Ms. Roeder says.

While the physician is taking time to make that decision, Ms. Roeder is getting feedback from the hospital's physicians about their thoughts on the physician candidate, as well as checking the candidate's references. "If all parties agree and the references check out, then we will extend a written contract to the candidate," she says.

In short, if you can tailor the site visit to the candidate and have the candidate meet all the people they'll be working with, everyone will go home happy.