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How to find the best candidate for your residency program

Residency programs know how hard it is to find a reliable, driven, compassionate and relatable candidate. How do you find one?

  1. Make your offer competitive. Candidates look for  acompetitive salary, a friendly work environment, a good schedule, meals, medical society accreditations, a good variety of cases, a fellowship program, or rights to practice. Give them plenty of areas for growth and learning. Make your current residents happy. Candidates will see the inherent value of your program by reputation and apply.
  2. Create an appealing job description. Keep it punchy, direct and friendly. Avoid abstract jargon and clichés. Highlight how your new hire will grow, learn and make an impact. Balance your list with hard and soft skills. Write a description of your perks as well as challenging areas in your organization. To see examples of how to do this, check this LinkedIn article.
  3. Spread the word. The current system for advertising would be to create a poster of your opening in various Facebook groups for doctors in the Philippines. While you may have fairly good reach, you may not be reaching the right people at the right time. Filipino MD sorts openings by location and specialty – which is a great convenience to both candidates and job posters. Once you have posted your job, ask your friends to share it in their respective Facebook groups. This multiplies your reach a thousand-fold.
  4. Be transparent. People want to know what they are getting into. When asked, be upfront and honest about your program’s strengths and weaknesses, including accreditations, consultants, salaries, requirements and duty hours. Be honest and straightforward about what will happen – your future residents will appreciate it.
  5. Screen your applications. A good history of awards, research papers, and extracurricular activities may indicate an applicant’s academic drive as well as their holistic development. Their grades will not tell everything about their character, but may indicate consistency in their work ethic. Good recommendation letters should come from doctors in key positions (not relatives) who knew the candidate well for a lengthy period of time (two months is a good amount of time). Read their cover letter. Is it generic or is it directed to your program specifically?
  6. Interview possible candidates. Look for clues as to what their personality might be. According to Alan Hall, there are 7C’s with which to identify a good candidate, which we can also apply here:
    • Competent: In the medical field, will your candidate be competent enough to know what to do in theory and skills? Grades, exams, and revalida questions can provide you a clue on how competent your interviewee is.
    • Capable: Will he or she be able to handle the pressures of daily hospital life? Will he or she be able to manage her time well? Does she regularly take the extra mile to deliver more value in patient care? Are they responsible in the things that they do? Questions on their strengths, weaknesses, their responses to stress and to conflict will enable you to gauge them.
    • Compatible: Is his or her personality a good fit with the rest of the medical team? The willingness to be harmonious with everybody is important because he or she will be relating with everyone for a good number of years. Some people choose to use a standardized psychological test, but oftentimes, an interview may be used to ask how well they work in teams.
    • Commitment: Do they have a goal in mind? Are they eager to learn? Is the doctor truly serious about staying in his or her chosen specialty, or simply testing the waters, in search of something better? If the person has had a history of multiple gaps between medical school or jobs, this might provide you with some insight on the matter.
    • Character: Does the person’s values reflect that of yours? In the case of mistakes in medical management, will they admit their fault even if it was at risk of punishment? Are they open to criticism and humble enough to improve on themselves? Are they selfless?
    • Culture: One organization’s culture may differ with another, in terms of values, expectations, policies and procedures. Ask your prospective resident doctor on what he or she thinks about your culture.
    • Compensation: Is your prospect agreeable with the amount of salary that you propose? If yes, then the candidate will be more likely to perform rather than underperform.

Finding the right candidate need not be a hit and miss depending on how much effort you put in making a competitive program, putting the  word out, and screening your candidate well. Do you have an opening to your program? Sign up on our website as an employer here. Have any tips on how to find good people? Comment below.

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