Should I Hire a Physician Recruiter?

Question: My organization has an open position.  Should I hire a physician recruiter to help me fill this role?Recruiter
Answer:  It depends.  While physician recruiting firms provide an important service, they may not be the best choice in all situations.
In the 1980s, physician recruiters were staffed to respond to a national physician shortage.  The original need for their role has disappeared, but physician recruiters are still an integral part of the healthcare system. Usually, physician recruiting firms will work on a retained or contingency basis.  Although the names do not mean much to the average person, there are important differences.
Retained firms typically charge a retainer and placement fees.  These firms work closely with organizations, and will usually have an ongoing relationship with the company.  Contingency firms typically charge placement fees, and may only work with an organization once.  Both types of recruiters will be familiar with local market needs.  Hiring a physician recruiter is expensive.  Although costs vary, some estimates suggest that it could cost around $20,000 to fill one open role.
Physician recruiting firms offer an important service that may make sense for certain healthcare organizations.  Here are some things to consider when evaluating if it makes sense for your office.

  1. Recruiters bring qualified candidates to the employer.When you hire a physician recruiter, you do not have to worry about managing job postings or receiving applications.The recruiter takes care of that.
  2. Consider the role that you’re trying to fill.Is it a role where there are already a lot of interested candidates?Or are you having trouble identifying qualified candidates using your current methods?Some organizations struggle to recruit candidates in particular fields or into specific locations. Physician recruiters could work with your organization to identify the particular needs, and find candidates who are qualified in the needed fields (and interested in a particular location.)
  3. Consider the staff hours that it will take to publicize a job, review resumes, interview, and hire a candidate.Can you commit enough staff hours to properly complete the interview and hiring process?If that’s not possible, it may make sense to work with a recruiting firm.
  4. Every recruiter is different.It may take time to find one that you would like to partner with.LinkedIn is a great resource to use to identify physician recruiters in your areas.Another resource is the directory on the National Association of Physician Recruiters website.


McDonnell, Sepi. When you SHOULD use a Physician Recruiter. Fidelis Partners. 12 September 2011. Accessed May 30, 2017.
National Association of Physician Recruiters. 2017 (Accessed May 30, 2017)
Roth, Gary. Contingency Physician Recruiting? What a SCAM! 8 September 2015,
Staff Care: An AMN Healthcare Company. Best Practices for Working with a Physician Recruitment Firm. 22 April 2016. ( Accessed May 30, 2017.