Leading Healthcare with Healthcare Leaders
Leading Healthcare with Healthcare Leaders

MSA Search BlogInsights from over 30 years of Healthcare Executive Search

Building Physician Leadership

By Rita Johnson, Vice President, MSA Executive Search

Today, physicians are going back to school to get their MBAs, and the pool of potential leadership candidates is expanding. And while that education is absolutely valuable, especially among individuals who may have never taken a business class as an undergraduate or graduate, the MBA does not guarantee success. In fact, personality is by far the number one predictor of leadership success. So, what are the personality characteristics that best predict success? 

  • Emotional Intelligence: It doesn’t matter how bright an individual is, if they are highly emotional, rigid, or difficult to work with, they will not be considered successful. To be a viable leadership candidate, people must enjoy working with them.
  • Ability to Function Independently: A leader must be able to make decisions independently, take on and carry out various responsibilities. Most physicians are trained to follow protocols, and as such, not all may have confidence in their ability to make decisions in situations where there is no established procedure or precedent. In managing a division, a physician leader must be able to lead, by taking risks in pursuing a strategy and getting others to follow suit.
  • Perseverance: A successful leader must have perseverance and “stick to it” in the face of naysayers, as there will always be resistance to their initiatives.
  • Political and Business Acumen: Most physicians do not possess a high degree of business acumen. But with the right education, business acumen can often be learned. Political acumen, however, is a little more difficult to acquire from a class. Some people are innately attuned to certain political concerns in their environment, while others are turned off by political concerns. Ultimately, though, a successful leader must have some degree of political acumen.

How does an organization determine which physicians are best suited for a leadership role? If the physician has never served as a leader, the only reliable way to evaluate his or her predisposition to leadership is a personality assessment that looks at the characteristics previously discussed. Even if the physician has some leadership experience, however, a personality profile can still be exceedingly helpful, revealing the individual’s core leadership competencies regardless of the organizational culture.

Using LinkedIn Effectively as a Candidate

Emily Perkins, Recruiter, MSA Search

Are you actively or passively searching for a new role? LinkedIn is a great resource for candidates and recruiters, and trust me, recruiters are using it daily to source! As a candidate, LinkedIn is the perfect place to sell your talents and skills, but so many individuals don’t complete the profile or simply don’t use it at all. LinkedIn is an excellent professional resource, and you should be taking full advantage of everything it offers. Below are some tips to improve your LinkedIn page as a candidate.

  • Complete your profile. This may seem commonplace, but making sure your profile is complete is essential when trying to stand out in a competitive market--some people don’t do it! Tailor your profile to suit your needs and include how you would like to be communicated with, what you’re interested in hearing about or who you’re interested in connecting with, and don’t forget to include a picture (read Stand Out from the Crowd with Your LinkedIn Profile Picture). 
  • Write a headline and summary. This is your time to grab recruiters' attention--use keywords and tell people who you are and what you’re good at. This section will be the recruiters’ first impression of you, so take time to write it well and make it count!
  • Update your Background and Experience Section. Showcasing your experience in this section is as easy as copying and pasting information from your resume. This section is important for recruiters to be able to take a glance and get a good sense of your work experience and accomplishments. While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for a couple of recommendations--they’re nice to have.
  • Don’t be afraid to connect. LinkedIn is your platform to build relationships with colleagues across the country. Join and participate in Groups, and connect with peers, colleagues, and recruiters. Establish a relationship with a couple of recruiters, introduce yourself and get the conversation going. Even if you’re not interested in making a career move now, the perfect job might come up and the recruiter will remember you.

By making a few simple changes to your profile, you change the way recruiters and colleagues view your experience. You’ll show up in more searches, and be more attractive to recruiters and employers. Don’t forget that social media is huge in today’s world--peers and employers are looking through everything. Be sure to check your privacy settings and keep everything private instead of public; keep this in mind when posting and sharing information as everything should be considered when making sure you put your best foot forward.

Common Reasons for Candidate Misfits

John Lenihan, Consultant, MSA Executive Search

We’ve all seen it happen before. An organization has a vacancy in a key leadership position and the hiring executive demands that recruitment to find a replacement begins immediately. The talent acquisition department provides several strong candidates, but for some reason, the recruitment drags on with no end in sight—either due to candidates withdrawing or the organization feeling like the candidates aren’t a good fit. Why is that?

Common reasons for candidate misfits:

  • Candidates may possess the minimum job description qualifications, but lack important knowledge, skills, and abilities that can’t be gleaned from a resume.
  • Candidates may be an ideal match from an experience standpoint, but their personal style and approach may not be a good fit for important stakeholders involved.
  • Candidates don’t feel they are given an accurate representation of the organization, the position itself, and the challenges they would face. The feedback from them would be that the opportunity was not advertised correctly and they ultimately decide not to pursue the position.
  • There is considerable disconnect in messages heard by candidates during their interview process that creates some concern—for example, opinions regarding the department or job responsibilities, which are vastly different from others in the organization. 
  • There are stark differences in feedback from those on the organization-side of the interview process—for example, one candidate connected strongly with the hiring executive but didn’t fare well with the staff. 

Any of the above examples can cause a stall in the search process. So, how can talent acquisition professionals prevent candidate misfit scenarios? Stay tuned for my next blog post, which will include key questions hiring executives should ask when beginning a search to ensure a successful hire and long-term placement.

 

I Am an Executive, Not Just a Candidate

By Jane Groves, Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor, MSA Executive Search

I have spent twenty three years of my career in healthcare as an executive search consultant, and another fourteen years before that in healthcare human resources leadership. I have sat on “three sides of the desk” in the area of executive recruiting--as the hiring executive, as the executive candidate, and as the executive search consultant. Although each seat requires a different set of skills and approaches, there are some common truths that I believe exist for us in each “seat":

  • We each have something to learn from the search process--neither party is actually in the “drivers’ seat." There should be mutual respect from the beginning that includes timely responses, advanced preparation for calls and interviews, full disclosure, and truth-telling.
  • Neither one of us should do all the talking.
  • A poor job profile can be as problematic as a poor resume in getting off to a good start in the executive search process.
  • Neither one of us should be on a pulpit with something to prove.
  • As an executive, a candidate, or a search consultant, it is our ability to communicate clearly, which makes a difference in a one- or two-hour interaction.
  • Whatever is “out there” on social media is a part of our story. No matter what seat we are in.
  • The more self-aware we are, the better we will be at determining if there is a good match.
  • This is executive work, requiring executive competencies, executive presence, and the highest standards of professionalism. 

In the end, no matter which "seat" you're sitting in right now, there are some commonalities for all involved--hiring executives, executive candidates, and executive search consultants. Recognize the role you play and the necessary steps to take in order to make it a smooth and successful process. 

Common Reasons for Candidate Misfits

John Lenihan, Consultant, MSA Executive Search

We’ve all seen it happen before. An organization has a vacancy in a key leadership position and the hiring executive demands that recruitment to find a replacement begins immediately. The talent acquisition department provides several strong candidates, but for some reason, the recruitment drags on with no end in sight—either due to candidates withdrawing or the organization feeling like the candidates aren’t a good fit. Why is that?

Common reasons for candidate misfits:

  • Candidates may possess the minimum job description qualifications, but lack important knowledge, skills, and abilities that can’t be gleaned from a resume.
  • Candidates may be an ideal match from an experience standpoint, but their personal style and approach may not be a good fit for important stakeholders involved.
  • Candidates don’t feel they are given an accurate representation of the organization, the position itself, and the challenges they would face. The feedback from them would be that the opportunity was not advertised correctly and they ultimately decide not to pursue the position.
  • There is considerable disconnect in messages heard by candidates during their interview process that creates some concern—for example, opinions regarding the department or job responsibilities, which are vastly different from others in the organization.
  • There are stark differences in feedback from those on the organization-side of the interview process—for example, one candidate connected strongly with the hiring executive but didn’t fare well with the staff.

Any of the above examples can cause a stall in the search process. So, how can talent acquisition professionals prevent candidate misfit scenarios? Stay tuned for my next blog post, which will include key questions hiring executives should ask when beginning a search to ensure a successful hire and long-term placement.

 

Supplying Your Search Firm with Adequate Information

By Kim Kueser, Senior Consultant, MSA Executive Search

When a search consultant fails to receive adequate or factual information, the search will likely not progress as smoothly as it should. The following are vital pieces of information to ensure an efficient and successful search process takes place:

  • Provide adequate access to the decision maker at all stages of the search process. When this doesn't happen, there are often pauses in the search or worse--a miscommunication, which results in a candidate slate missing certain attributes or experience that was vital to the decision maker.
  • Share relevant information such as incentive potential, benefits information, accurate and up-to-date financials, and more. The more information the search firm is able to share with potential candidates, the more likely the preferred candidate accepts an offer. Surprises in benefits packages can derail an offer at the last minute. 
  • Access direct reports, staff, peers, and candid feedback regarding the state of the department and facility, the strength of the team, and reasons for the opening. Knowing the specific needs of the department will assist the search consultant in locating candidates with the right skill set to accomplish the goals. In addition, sharing truthful information on the situation the new leader will walk into if hired is key to employee retention.
  • Flexibility in your calendar in order to schedule search status/update calls and candidate interviews in a timely manner. Possible scheduling holds on key players' calendars prior to candidate presentation result in a smoother and timelier process with a reduced risk of losing the candidate to competing opportunities. 

Ultimately, it's important for search consultants to receive the fundamental pieces of information above in order to ensure a successful search process. Our customized search strategies and thorough approach means you won't spend valuable time with candidates unless we're convinced they can meet your needs. To get in touch with us and discover how we can assist you, call 888.513.0158. 

Stand Out from the Crowd with Your LinkedIn Profile Picture

By Pat Neds, Senior Recruiter, MSA Executive Search

How important is a professional picture on your LinkedIn profile? Adding a picture to your LinkedIn profile can make a world of difference to a recruiter. Studies have shown that profiles with pictures are much more likely to be viewed than those without. In fact, they are seven times more likely to have profile views than those without a picture. Similar to selling something on Ebay without a picture, the assumption is that if there is no photo, something must be wrong.

According to a Business Insider article, TheLadders conducted a study and found that recruiters spend more time examining a LinkedIn user's picture than actually reviewing the person's qualifications. A photo really helps personalize your profile. If you don’t give recruiters that “hook” when they first arrive at your page, then you increase the chances of being easily forgotten.

The proper LinkedIn picture should be up-to-date and suitable for finding and potentially landing a job. People should have a headshot taken on a day they are dressed professionally. Additionally, attire and makeup should be appropriate and not overwhelming so that attention is not drawn away from you.

Anything in a photo has the potential to make a statement. But is it the statement recruiters are looking for? A profile picture of a person wearing a cowboy hat may get the right attention in some geographic areas, but may raise a red flag in Boston. LinkedIn is a professional site and if you want to showcase other skills and interests—you riding a horse or rock climbing—Facebook is the place for that. Do not get LinkedIn and Facebook confused. Once more, Facebook is for personal pictures, LinkedIn is for professional pictures.

Try searching LinkedIn's site a few times and take the time to see what you do when a results page shows profiles with and without photos. See where you look first. I bet your eyes will go straight to those who have a profile picture. It is in our nature to focus on images first and foremost. So, bottom line is if you don't have a photo, you are essentially giving the advantage to other job seekers. Ultimately, set aside some time to take a professional picture and become more noticeable among the substantial crowd of LinkedIn users.

Phone Screening: Is it a Valuable Method for Assessing Candidates?

By Jane Groves, Executive Vice President, MSA Executive Search

In the April 2014 issue of HR Magazine, an article titled “Who You Gonna Call?” authored by Katherine Taylor strongly recommends phone screening before personal interviewing for mid- or senior-level positions. The article argues that "a good initial phone screen can reveal a wealth of information, including a candidate's skills, experience, motivation, professionalism, and salary expectations." Yet, in order to conduct a productive phone screening, advanced preparation is necessary.

As an executive search consultant for the past 23 years and an HR leader for 14 years prior to that, I have conducted many phone screening interviews. And I must admit that the level of preparation for those interviews over the years has varied. Occasionally, I believe we assume we know the job and have plenty of experience in conversing with people, so why do we need to prepare for a thirty-minute phone conversation? I can think of plenty of reasons, but it's more so to appear practiced and organized in the candidate's mind. To assist you in preparing for phone screening, Taylor mentions the following recommendations:

  • Understand the job competencies and develop a list of questions based on topics you'd like to cover
  • Do some research on the candidates by browsing their LinkedIn profiles and resumes
  • Schedule a time and set expectations on the duration of the call and what the call will include   

Twenty years ago, phone calls were audio only. Now, we have Skype and FaceTime, which open new doors and possibilities for assessing candidates and candidate fit. If we put the time into preparing, scheduling, reviewing key job specifications, becoming familiar with the candidate’s background, stating a strong opening, giving the candidate time to ask questions, and having a clear and concise closing with next steps agreed to between the two, we as executive placement specialists can really make a difference.

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