Always Be Recruiting

August 6, 2019

Recruiting shouldn’t ever be a last-minute thing.

One of the editorial themes for this month is about hiring new team members. Recruiting, in other words.

I’ve come to see that more than a few radgroups out there approach the subject on an as-needed basis. That is, they go about their usual business until they are about to lose one or more rads, or maybe take on some new work-volume beyond the capacity of their current ranks. Then, they fire up the recruitment process.

That approach has always struck me as being needlessly reactive, instead of proactive. It’s just begging to leave the group shorthanded for an indefinite period of time, unless they’re willing to take on less-than-wonderful people in the name of swiftly filling gaps. Or to offer newcomers a premium just to get them in the door faster.

My attitude is ABR. No, not the American Board of Radiology (I still can’t believe their website had to be “TheABR” because some realtors got the other URL). My acronym borrows a little bit from Glengarry Glen Ross: Always Be Recruiting.

This is not to say a group should perpetually have listings on jobs websites, and certainly not routinely have recruiting-agencies beating the virtual underbrush for potential new hires-if you don’t actually want to hire or even interview someone at the moment, there’s no point in wasting their time (or your own) by going through the motions of doing so.

What does make sense is being halfway ready to fire up that process at all times. For instance, consider a “we’ll recruit when we need to” group as sitting idle, and another group in full-on hiring mode as cruising at 60 mph. Rather than having to go from zero to 60, maybe have certain mechanisms in place so you’re always operating at 30-that much readier to shift into higher gear.

Being in the Information Age (or the newer Experience Age, as some are calling it) makes this much easier than you might think. Every single person in the group has the ability to contribute to the effort, so this isn’t even a “heavy lifting” job to be borne by one or two folks.

Remember the good ones

In a column or two of the increasingly-murky past, I described how, back in residency and fellowship, I recognized that there were more than a few people in the radiology field with whom I would very much like to never work again. Slackers, backstabbers, malcontents, you name it.

Instead, it seemed wise to take note of the “good eggs” I encountered along the way, and stay in touch with them. If I ever found myself in a position where I could use some reliable, trustworthy folks on my team, there’d be a roster of folks I would not hesitate to call.

Having higher expectations does tend to keep that roster small, but multiply that by a couple of decades in the field and you get a decent handful. The field gets bigger when you multiply that by the number of rads in your group. Even if most of them haven’t kept tabs on their own “good eggs” from years gone by, with a little retrospection they’ll be able to recall some to track down.

While this might be of use as a pool of potential recruits, it’s a waste to only consider it as a phone-list as you go from recruiting-zero to 60. Rather, the way to Always Be Recruiting is for the members of your group to routinely be putting it out there what a good group they’re in.
Let there be a constant, low-level buzz about your team that makes outsiders want to know about it (and maybe get in on the action if there is ever a chance). Then, when the group actually does need some new blood, there might already be some people knocking at the door. (If anybody worthwhile inquires when you’re not actually hiring, by all means get their info and maintain a waitlist.)

And again, it doesn’t take much. Occasional posts on Facebook, maybe even a forum on your group’s own website. Routine readers of this column might recall my GoodRads page, where known-to-be-worthy rads are encouraged to hype their own groups, so the others, if/when looking for a change, have a trustworthy lead rather than starting from scratch with job-listing sites.

This, of course, depends on a group actually giving its members something to feel good about. With lower morale, don’t expect them to lift a finger-and if you try to coerce them into posting fake hype, know that other rads will see through that pretty quickly. The Always Be Recruiting atmosphere depends on your people being satisfied to the point that they’re fairly eager to communicate about their good situation to others. It’s a sort of passive “recruiting,” being a group that people would want to join.