2 August 2022

A guide to recruiting GPs

KnowCents Practice Management

Follow these strategies to attract the best team for your clinic.


If you’re a GP owner or want to start your own GP practice, there are a few skillsets that you need to master, and recruitment is one of them.

Becoming proficient at recruiting GPs for your practice is critical to ensuring that you’re not stuck in long-hour work cycles where you’re doing all the heavy lifting.

However, recruiting quality talent isn’t the easiest thing right now, given the fact that there’s a real scarcity of GPs in the Australian healthcare sector. This is due to the fact that most GPs are fatigued and frustrated from the exorbitant and repetitive demands of the covid pandemic, and the lack of international migration has brought the market for overseas-trained doctors to a screeching halt.

It’s safe to say that the GP market is becoming increasingly tough.

While outsourcing your recruitment is a viable option, it might not always consider the best criteria when selecting your future doctors because it more closely resembles a competitive market environment where you’re up against offers from other recruiters.

But whether or not you choose to outsource your recruitment, it’s crucial that you employ the following strategies to attract the right doctors who add the right value to your practice.

1.      Increase or enhance your capacity

A general practice is similar to a marketplace in that it brings patients and doctors together. Before moving forward with anything else, it’s imperative that you take some time to analyse the avatars of your stakeholders. In other words, “Who are the patients you serve and what are they like?” and “Who are the doctors you serve and what are they like?” Once your avatars are clear, you can seamlessly bring them together in the marketplace – in this case, your practice.

After that, you can proceed to increase your capacity. Of course, the key inquiry to make in this situation is whether you need to increase your capacity yet, or if you can first enhance your current capacity. Most GP owners typically run businesses with a lot of latent potential and untapped opportunity lying around. Scaling up something that’s currently underperforming is risky and won’t benefit anyone. Therefore, you should preferably be maximising what you’re already doing before deciding to scale and recruit.

You can do this by getting rid of any low-value work that’s task-heavy, decision-dense, and spiritually taxing. You can decide what activities you need to give up, but if you don’t want to let go of anything, you’ll either have to find someone willing and prepared to take on that responsibility, or redesign the low-value work so that it is no longer low value. That’s the only way to climb the value chain.

2.      Be clear in your communication

As a GP owner, you must be very clear about what you do, what you don’t do, who you’re for, and who you’re not for. In other words, be clear and straightforward with your community so people know what to expect from your practice. If you don’t serve a particular demographic or patient cohort, they can go somewhere else that does serve or fit them.

Thus, plugging patients back into the right clinics – if it’s not yours – is a great service to everyone involved. And that could even result in referrals from other professionals or practices for your clinic. And as we all know, the foundation of any successful business in any industry is solid recommendations from other entities.

3.      Highlight your USP

Find something that’s a point of difference for your clinic – such as flexible hours, a supportive work environment, professional autonomy, or a secure patient flow – and extend that information to your target avatar. In other words, what must your ideal future GP know and believe about your workplace in order for them to decide that it’s the right place to work? There’s no way for others to know what makes your practice unique if you don’t tell them.

Create a profile that clearly communicates your strengths and USPs, focusing on what you do well and why people should come to you. Be sure to include information about who you serve and who you don’t. Case studies are an excellent way to explore and highlight the thoughts and feelings of the GPs who work in your practice, which in turn will help build the trust of your target avatars.

4.      Get the funnel working

The recruitment process is more like a marketing funnel rather than a sequential process of going out, meeting people, scheduling interviews, and hiring them. The top of your recruitment funnel is all about attracting your ideal GPs and building an audience for all of your activities – organic and paid – through different platforms. And in order to determine where the leads came from, it’s essential to include appropriate links in your advertisements and other promotional content. This will help you measure the performance of your funnel and evaluate which platforms are working and which aren’t generating a return.

Once your target GPs have shown interest and consideration, you’ll need to shift your focus to convincing and converting them. You must have a reliable method for approaching them swiftly in order to avoid losing them. An important sales theory to remember is that it often takes eight to 12 points of contact with a person before they know, like, and trust you enough to take the next step. Therefore, the more interactions you have with the GPs, the more probable it is that they’ll feel secure enough to commit to your practice.

At this stage of the negotiation, it’s also a good idea to showcase your risk-reversal strategies to assure them that they aren’t taking a huge, asymmetrical risk in joining you. And, of course, once you get them in, you need to make sure they stick. To put it another way, your attention is now on retaining your talent. Your retention strategies will start to pay off at this point.

Bonus tips:

  • The pre-consult and post-consult phases are more crucial than just the main game (which is attending to patients’ needs during consultation). This will elevate your performance, prove your consistency, and narrow the gap between the best and the worst. So be sure to hone and refine those small but important elements.
  • Having streamlined and effective information systems, such as a reliable in-house internet connection, ensures seamless communication and engagement with your practice and helps create better value for the patients, doctors, and other stakeholders you serve. It also elevates consistency and performance.
  • Experiment with copy and get as much content out there as possible, in the form of videos, ads and any other type of promotional material. You never know what will resonate with the audience, but the key to becoming more proficient at knowing is by simply getting your message out there and consistently engaging with your target avatars.

I sincerely hope you found these suggestions and techniques helpful, and I strongly urge you to use them so you can attract the right general practitioners for your practice.

I would love to hear your opinions and feedback about how these tips have helped you in your GP recruitment journey. Feel free to write to me at TCameron@scalemyclinic.com.

Dr Todd Cameron is a general practitioner and the co-founder of Scale My Clinic, which aims to give GP clinic owners their lives back and create financially sustainable GP practices.