According to the National Institute of Health, about 1 of every 5 U.S. citizens live in rural locations, while only 1 of every 10 American physicians reside in rural areas — meaning that the physician shortage is roughly twice as pronounced in rural America.
If you’ve ever tried recruiting a physician for a rural area, this statistic may not surprise you. It can be extremely difficult to entice a candidate to move away from the comfort of their city or suburban lifestyle and into the countryside. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that as many as 77% of our nation’s rural counties are experiencing shortages of primary care physicians.
We’ve asked our expert team of Client Success Managers here at Doximity Talent Finder for some of their tips around how to excite candidates about rural positions.
1. Filter your search by location. Physicians who have lived in rural areas in the past may be more likely to do so again. Search for candidates who are currently practicing in rural areas near the position location you’re hiring for. Better yet, use the Past Ties filter in Talent Finder Search to target physicians who have previously lived in the rural city and state of the position you’re hiring for (i.e. physician went to medical school there).
2. Reference the nearest city. Instead of listing the rural city name in the Job Post title (which physicians may not recognize), try referencing the closest known city instead. For example, if the position is located 100 miles from Minneapolis, you could say ‘Family Medicine Position Outside of Minneapolis’.
3. Emphasize the perks of the position. In the Job Post title or job description, place more emphasis on the perks associated with the position rather than the rural location. Is the salary competitive to attract physicians to the rural location? Are the hours flexible? Sense of community in the area? Because positions in rural areas are often more challenging to recruit for, there are usually attractive perks to compensate for any hesitation around location. You could even include a blurb about the location and why people love living there. For example, family-oriented community, outdoor activities, low crime rate. If you add these details in the job posting as well as at the end of a DocMail, this can heighten interest.
4. Use the keyword search bar to find rural affiliations or key words/phrases on profiles. The keyword search bar in Talent Finder allows you to search for any word or phrase on a clinician’ profile. You can search for things like "rural", "rural medicine", "National Rural Health Association" or other key terms that would designate a good candidate for a rural opportunity. Additionally, by using the specialty filter to pull in candidates who have completed training in rural medicine, you can target your messages to clinicians who are focusing their career on public service.
5. Use the medical school and residency filters to find clinicians based on specific program ties. One of the best ways to use this for rural positions is to leverage the clinicians already working in your hospital or practice to find other candidates with similar background ties. For example, if you know your Medical Director completed medical school at Stanford you can easily filter by the specialty you're seeking and use the medical school filter to see only those who also graduated medical school from Stanford. This creates an immediate connection with the clinicians you're contacting since they share an alma mater with your Medical Director. The same strategy can also be employed by using the residency filter.
6. Send out and use all DocMails. This will help to ensure you get the most eyes possible on a rural opportunity and ask for referrals from doctors that are already practicing in rural areas. If you've already used all of your DocMail, you can also inquire about getting additional DocMail credits.
7. Add a more personal touch to your outreach. Selling the organization/practice/group, in addition to the location, is key for rural placement. Emphasizing how the rural position will suit the provider can bring a different perspective to interested physicians. For example, you could mention why a provider is a good fit for the position based on the line in their profile that highlights working in a rural clinic as a part of their medical training.
8. Use the Job Post Report tool. This will help to identify geographic areas to recruit from. Narrowing down your report by a specific job and selecting “Detailed Views” will reveal details of where physicians who are clicking on your jobs are located. This can give you a better idea of which geographies to recruit from, whether urban or rural.