Signing Bonus in Physician Recruitment

What once was an incentive offered to a physician, on occasion, for hard-to-fill jobs – signing bonuses for new physician hires have become not only the norm, but are expected (AMMED News 6-9-11). Not having a signing bonus in place is often looked upon, by a candidate, as an extreme negative. How does an employer stand out from the crowd to land a recruit in this highly competitive environment?

In addition to the cash bonus, which averages about $23,000, other incentives include relocation costs, CME expenses, housing allowances, and student loan forgiveness.

Can a facility that has only a few, or no such incentives in place to land a recruit, actually compete with the ones who are stacked with benefits and bonuses to offer? Unequivocally, yes.

Although it is becoming increasingly more difficult in this market, we must keep in mind that not all candidates are motivated by monetary rewards. Work-life balance, community, and meaningful employment opportunities for spouses and family members are examples of other factors that ultimately lead to a successful hire, and retainable physician. If money is the principle motivator, beware! Who is to say that candidates will stay, when deeper pockets start calling on them?

As recruiters we must look at the total package that a facility and community can offer; compensation is only part of the landscape.