• AI
  • Molecular Imaging
  • CT
  • X-Ray
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • Facility Management
  • Mammography

Three Strikes and You Might Become Famous in Radiology Recruiting


The old adage about bad customer service experiences being shared with 10 other people may apply to objectionable hiring practices in radiology as well.

In a recent post on radiology social media, a rad group told a prospective telerad hire that it would charge him $150 per month to rent its workstation, and another $50 to cover the cost of its voice-recognition software. The poster hadn’t encountered this with any other rad group and was checking to see if anyone else had before dismissing it as obnoxiously nonsensical.

There were plenty of comments lambasting the concept so I decided to go a step further. If you want to have a bit of fun with that rad group, I said, you should respond that you charge a very reasonable rate of $250 to store and maintain their equipment for them. Thus, the rad group will owe you $50 per month. That got me a tidy haul of “likes.”

A couple of rads on the thread tried bending over backwards, imagining ways the policy might not be as stupid/greedy as it sounded. Maybe, if someone from the rad group had been present, he or she could have explained it in a way that seemed reasonable. Thus far, at least, this has not happened.

Not long after I saw the post, I found myself viewing some spring training baseball. Maybe because of that, it occurred to me that the rad group sustained three strikes — blew by three chances — to avoid making itself look bad in the eyes of not only prospective hires, but any number of other rads to whom those applicants tell their tales.

To put it another way, you don’t want your business’ actions becoming a punchline in someone’s joke, especially if a lot of people are liable to hear it.

Using more baseball lingo, a lot of readily mocked bad ideas are “unforced errors,” easily avoided or recovered without much effort. My “three strikes” analogy references some lines of defense.

STRIKE ONE. This is in the hands of whoever came up with the idea. It could be an individual or couple of people working together. Maybe they should have brainstormed longer and come up with other options or presented the idea in a more palatable way.

A strike one failure is likelier if the idea creator has a substantially different role from the folks who will have to implement and/or abide by the idea. Hospital administrators provide a good example. Others include office managers, even physicians who practice in a specialty or venue other than that which they are proposing to control.

For instance, if the aforementioned rad group allowed its lawyers or accountants to come up with the “pay us to use our gear” policy, the proposal might make perfect sense to other lawyers or accountants. Present it to a radiologist who is expecting to be treated as a respected and appreciated colleague, however, and that won’t resonate as well.

Folks at this stage of things have their best chance of avoiding strike one if they take the time/effort to mentally place themselves in the shoes of whoever their idea is targeting. Not everybody can do that, and such inability doesn’t negate their usefulness. Being, say, the best lawyer in the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you can set your lawyer self aside and perceive your legal proposal as a non-lawyer would. That is why we have …

STRIKE TWO. Other folks in the organization will consider what the folks at strike one put forward. This step should include folks who have as much as possible in common with those who will be impacted by the idea. In the social media example above, actual radiologists would make sense, preferably telerads who could see themselves being asked to pay for the equipment needed to do their job. If the rad group has no telerads yet, someone in the ranks who used to do telerad might suffice. Alternatively, use a newer hire who was most recently hunting for jobs.

When this concept is done properly, the internal “test audience” is a great safety net. It is an opportunity for the group to say anything from “This is a terrible idea and should never see the light of day” to “Can we get better insight into where this idea came from and what it’s supposed to be doing? Maybe it would come across better if it were presented differently.”

Not every outfit bothers with this step. Some organizations might just let the strike one folks come up with their course of action and “make it so.” Maybe that is out of a desire to get things done expediently, but it can have the (sometimes accurate) appearance of carelessness: We don’t give a darn how the peasants will perceive our move. They can go elsewhere if they don’t like it.

If such things happen, or even if there’s a decent strike two safety net, which lets a bad idea slip through, there is still …

STRIKE THREE. Sooner or later, bad ideas will get through. Know that folks outside the organization will be impacted but enact a system to collect feedback from them. Then take that feedback seriously.

I’m not talking about a lame “we value your feedback” form that nobody will read, or email address that nobody will check. This should be a serious error recovery initiative, and it shouldn’t wait until after damage has been done.

In the case of the telerad applicant, for instance, he probably had an immediate surprised/negative reaction to hearing of this unusual clause. If this occurred during an in-person interview, or even on the phone, an engaged interviewer might notice. The interviewer might avert strike three with “What I just said didn’t seem to go over well. Please, let’s discuss it a bit more. Maybe I didn’t express it properly, or I can share the reasoning behind it. Maybe it’s something we can negotiate.”

The same thing can be done through indirect communications like email. If you had an applicant with whom things seemed to be going well, and suddenly they aren’t, it’s worth asking about rather than just shrugging and assuming the applicant is a flake or found a better job offer somewhere else. You can lay the groundwork at the beginning of your interactions: “We recognize that the job market is in constant flux, and you probably know things about it that we don’t. If you wind up choosing not to join us, we would be most appreciative to hear about where we lost you.”

If you get even one applicant, let alone two or three, who shares that your policy X singlehandedly soured the view on your group, it should set off alarms that you missed strikes one and two, and you are being given a chance to amend your errors before you are out.

Related Videos
Nina Kottler, MD, MS
The Executive Order on AI: Promising Development for Radiology or ‘HIPAA for AI’?
Related Content
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.