Recruit better — Bellingham Anesthesia Associates' administrator Kurt Litvin shares how

With 37 anesthesiologists and multiple other employees on staff, Bellingham (Wash.) Anesthesia Associates Administrator Kurt Litvin shared the best practices behind his center's recruiting program with Becker's ASC Review.

Mr. Litvin attributed his recruitment success to six key concepts:

1. Word of mouth: There is no substitute for physician referrals from other physicians who know us, or know of us. Many of our physicians have friends or colleagues that they trained with in medical school or residency, who will refer applicants to us. Applicants who may have been in residency with one of our physicians [and] are comfortable asking pointed questions and obtaining a reality check on us.

2. Anesthesia recruiting fairs: We are invited to speak to graduating anesthesiology residents at [multiple] university programs in Seattle. It is not uncommon for physicians from our group to attend these sessions and speak frankly about what our group offers. Potential applicants appreciate putting a face to our practice and have an opportunity to get a sense of our culture.

3. Job boards: While we have posted vacancies with various industry job sites in the past, we now focus on one anesthesia-specific site in particular. We are also most interested in applicants who are focused on coming to, or staying in the Pacific Northwest versus [a candidate] looking at multiple U.S. geographic regions. We are not particularly interested in candidates who could be as happy in Hoboken, N.J., as in Bellingham, Wash.

4. Job ads: While perhaps sounding cliché, we advertise as a "no drama" practice. We look for like-minded physicians who seek a fairly simple formula: someone who seeks to enjoy the area, enjoy their practice colleagues, and receive fair treatment and compensation.

5. Responding to applicants: We try to respond within five to seven days maximum, to any and all applicants who expressed interest in us. After we review CVs and cover information, we supply information about the practice in writing, along with some basic demographics on our practice's case mix by specialty, and the average age/tenure of our physicians.

Knowing there are going to be deal-breakers depending on what applicants are looking for, we offer enough information right out of the chute to hopefully avoid wasting each other's time before going further. We then usually connect by phone and have a personal discussion about the candidate's goals and desires.

6. Interview: Assuming there remains common interest from both sides, we invite candidates out for a two-stage interview. Night one is a dinner meeting that really serves as a way to socialize and get to know each other, without just talking shop for a few hours. We encourage attendance by the applicant's significant other and focus on the needs of both [parties], not just the applicant. We finalize with a follow-up formal office interview at our administrative office. The evening dinner includes physicians, and the office interview includes the practice administrator. We typically assess fit for each other within days of the interview process, and extend offers when appropriate. In most cases, we are seeking not only well-trained, competent anesthesiologists, but more so those who we believe will be a match for our practice culture and work style.

Note: Responses were edited for style.

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