Consultant recruitment needs joined up working and better communication, Rebecca Bridger writes

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Most NHS acute trusts in the UK are asking themselves how best to set themselves apart from their peers so they can attract the best clinical talent to their respective departments. We have been trying to unpick what makes the difference for those consultants who do decide to move.

In a healthcare system that has an ever growing demand and a workforce that cannot keep up, it is perhaps not surprising that one of the key factors influencing the decision to move tends to be less about the trust’s vision and more about the team they will be working with.

While some trusts are working hard to develop a recruitment process that tackles this, many are failing to even acknowledge it. All too often the responsibility for nurturing candidate interest falls to the trust’s human resources team even though a truly authentic understanding comes from the consultants themselves.

Both parties need to acknowledge the value of the other to tackle the challenge of attracting new staff

There are already huge demands on consultants to deliver their clinical workload and there needs to be a balance between their input to prospective candidates and taking resource away from the day job. However, there are significant benefits for those consultants who are aware of the role they play in ensuring the best prospective applicants join their team.

Encouraging consultant teams to work with their human resource colleagues has become a stumbling block for some trusts since many consultants are still seemingly unaware what their role is in attracting their future peers. The remedy seems quite simple in principle – joined up working and better communication between both the human resources team and the consultants.

A move to a more integrated and ultimately successful recruitment strategy requires both parties to acknowledge the value of the other to tackle the challenge of attracting new staff.

Rebecca Bridger is executive search consultant, Hunter Healthcare