5 Tips for Recruiting Female Physicians
One of the steadiest trends over the many years has been the increase in the number of women physicians as a percentage of the overall workforce: Women now account for 36.3% of all physicians, according to the AAMC’s Physician Specialty Data Reports from 2008 to 2020.
While women hold the same job descriptions as their male counterparts, they often differ from men in the medical field in terms of the ways they engage with patients, formulate career goals, and set work/life balance expectations.
If you want to successfully recruit female physicians, you’ll need to have a plan specifically designed to appeal to women in addition to your overall recruitment plan.
Given the significant outlay of time and resources recruiting takes, you’ll want a solid strategy in place that will reach the ideal female candidates. That way you’ll have a more diverse pool of applicants and a sterling reputation for inclusivity and equality. Incorporate the tips below as you approach female physicians looking to work at your health group.
1.Leave the stereotypes behind
“People make assumptions and treat all women as if they are the same,” says Toniya Singh, M.D. “Not all women want a family, not all women are married, and we all have different goals and situations.” Being mindful that each woman has unique personal and professional aspirations will help you understand how to better recruit them.
When you speak with women looking to work at your health group, asking about their work expectations not only shows a level of respect, but also conveys that your health group is willing to work with them and help them achieve their unique goals. If appropriate, share your policies on maternity leave and whether or not you’re flexible with hours for physician parents.
2.Involve women recruiters in the process
Consider using your female recruiters (or even female physicians) to approach potential candidates about why they should work at your health group. Have them share insights on what it’s like to work there as a woman, what kind of benefits are offered, and suggestions for accomplishing personal goals.
Should you decide to hire the candidate, consider offering to your new female physician a fellow woman as a mentor. They can then discuss the above factors and help integrate them into your team.
Between work/life balance, we see parent millennials prioritizing the need to take maternity/paternity leave or pick up children from school. Flexibility is a hot option for any physician. Today’s med students know what they’ve signed up for—the medical field is a demanding environment. However, there are ways to make physician schedules flexible, which in turn will improve your recruitment and retention rates.
Here are a few opportunities for flexibility/accommodation for your female physicians (some of which could also be discussed with male physicians as well):
- Pregnancy (consider the effect of scheduling overnight shifts)
- Daycare options
- Bathrooms conducive to nursing babies
- Family crises
- Scheduling systems that fairly account for when a fellow physician needs a shift covered
- Meetings scheduled during times that don’t conflict with daycare
- Part-time hiring options
4.Sell the lifestyle
Your female recruits aren’t just considering a new place of employment; they’re choosing a new community, lifestyle and perhaps a new area to call home. Be educated on living options, school choices, community factors, and overall cost of living in the area. According to one study, “For women, highlighting the community was given more often as a successful recruitment strategy than financial incentive.”
The study also stated that “women in academic medicine tend to have personal partners of similar educational levels, to move to accommodate partner career relocation, and to carry the major responsibility for household management.”
If the woman you’re recruiting is married, invite her spouse in on the hiring process (or at least speak with your applicants about how to involve the spouse). Don’t just sell your health group as an attractive career milestone, but sell the lifestyle change that will come about as a result of joining your practice or hospital.
5.Value interpersonal communication
Putting your best foot forward in female recruitment means choosing good communicators to sell your health group. Many women view good interpersonal communication, including friendliness and level of interest in hiring them, as an effective recruiting method.
Not only is using these communication skills for recruiting effective, but also valuing, as professional skills can help improve retention. Barbara Victor, M.D., suggests valuing both technical and communication skills, such as empathy and collaboration.
“Proficiency in these soft skills should therefore factor strongly into physician hiring, advancement, and peer review, and day-to-day expectations,” says Victor. In other words, look for female physicians who not only have both sets of skills, but value them both in a workplace environment. Use these softer skills to recruit, and cultivate a healthier work environment.
It’s no secret that men and women can think and work differently. So why treat them the same when recruiting? Incorporate these tips and learn how to appeal to female candidates better. You’ll be on your way to attracting, hiring, and retaining top female physicians.
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Well worth a read. Got great insights and information from your blog. Thanks.