What Will it Cost to Recruit a Physician?

Heidi Johnson and Sheila Bixler, Healthcare Recruitment Link Founders
Recruiting a physician requires a significant financial investment. Recruiting the right physician from the outset will save considerable time and money. Many healthcare organizations are going a step further and taking a best practice approach to include onboarding and/or retention programs to protect their recruitment investment.
  • The cost to recruit a single physician may approach $250,000 with direct and optional costs to sign your top choice. The actual cost will depend on specialty, geographic location, competition, and recruitment incentives offered by your organization. The Direct/Customary Costs listed below will form the base for your recruitment budget.  The Recruitment Incentives are optional.

Direct/Customary Costs

♦ Search firm fee or cost for in-house staff

$18,000 – $35,000

♦ Sourcing/marketing costs

$6,000 – $12,000

♦ Site visit/interview expenses for 3 candidates

$  9,000 – $15,000

♦ Relocation expense

$  5,000 – $15,000+

Recruitment Incentives (Optional)

♦ Residency/Fellowship stipend

$12,000 – $36,000+

♦ Sign-on bonus

$20,000 – $100,000+

♦ Education loan repayment assistance

$25,000 – $100,000+

♦ Housing assistance

$50,000 – $100,000+

♦ Retention bonus (per year)

$10,000 – $50,000

  • Recruitment incentives allow you to customize an offer that will fit the specific needs of your top choice candidate(s). For example, a Resident or Fellow may be seeking education loan repayment; an experienced physician moving to a new community may seek a generous sign-on bonus or housing assistance.
  • To retain difficult-to-recruit specialties such as Internal Medicine or Family Medicine, you may wish to consider providing a retention bonus.
  • Considering that the cost of physician turnover/physician vacancies can range from $1.8 million for an Internist to $2.8 million for an Orthopedic Surgeon, a well-thought-out medical manpower plan, a thorough understanding of costs and time involved with recruitment, evaluation of compensation and recruitment incentives, a defined position description, and preparing well in advance prior to entering the recruitment process will provide a significant competitive advantage.
  • Allowing 6-12+ months to fill each physician vacancy, preparing offers to meet the specific needs of each candidate, and implementing a strong onboarding and retention process will ensure your organization meets community need.

Healthcare Recruitment Link (H-R-L) is not a traditional “big box” healthcare recruitment firm. We are a women-owned boutique firm with experienced founders who think beyond the boundaries of a box to provide customized and cost-effective search solutions based on your organization’s needs and budget.



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