8 Ways to Use Emotional Intelligence in Physician RecruitmentStephanie Hager, MA

The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) was first developed in the 1960s and ultimately became popular by noted psychologist Daniel Goleman in 1995. Emotional intelligence encompasses the study and interpretation of human behavior within the context of psychology. As physician recruiters, understanding human behavior and how it applies to finding the right physician candidate‌ for an open position is essential to ensuring the success of specialty departments, healthcare systems, and patient experience. The application of emotional intelligence also further develops your ability to build meaningful relationships while experiencing personal and professional growth.

Here are 8 ways in which physician recruiters can use emotional intelligence in their daily work:

1. Practice Active Listening

When engaging in conversations with colleagues and potential candidates, try to fully concentrate on the subject matter that is being conveyed by the other person. With the modern distractions of technology, it is often easy to miss key moments of connection or to overlook a potential issue. When active listening is utilized, you are also listening more than you are speaking which makes the other person feel as if you are fully engaged instead of simply waiting for an opportunity to reply.

2. Study Body Language 

Body language, facial expressions and tone of voice can reveal far more about what an individual is truly feeling. Next time you are having an in-person meeting with someone, pay attention to their body language. For example, are they conveying a sense of interest by leaning forward in their seat? Do they seem bored or uninterested in what you are saying? Does their facial expression indicate great disagreement or even disapproval? Are they listening intently by tilting their head slightly as you speak? Could they be subconsciously displaying a tell of dishonesty? What is your own body language indicating? The tone of voice you use as well as the tone of voice used by the other person involved in your conversation can illustrate far more context than the words themselves. 

3. Trust Your Instinct

After employing the above methods, you should start to gain a better understanding of how to effectively gauge the intentions and motivations of other people. When interviewing a potential candidate, even if they seem to have the perfect qualifications and breeze through the interview process, but something about their demeanor seems to be disconnected, trust your instincts. These instincts could be the result of issues related to integrity, reliability, and trustworthiness. At the end of the day, your job as a physician recruiter directly impacts the experiences of your patients. Hiring a physician can result in either a wonderful, potentially lifesaving experience for a patient or an unfortunate event that could have been entirely avoided if the right candidate had been carefully selected based on factors often absent on paper. Trust your instincts.

4. Empathy

Another key to developing and further refining your skills of emotional intelligence is practicing empathy. By taking an interest in other people, you are also taking an interest in their victories and struggles. You are essentially feeling their highs and lows with them. This results in building stronger, more meaningful relationships with the people around you and it causes you to manifest a more authentic personality. Authentic people are perceived as more trustworthy and amiable. They also tend to have greater persuasion and influence because people are drawn to their authentic nature. 

5. Self-Awareness

The key to understanding the behaviors of other people is being in touch with your own behavior. Just as you evaluate the body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice of others, you must also be mindful of your own tendencies in each of these areas. Do you allow other people time to convey their own ideas? Are you fully engaged when another person is talking to you? Does your body language or facial expressions indicate a dismissive tone when someone expresses opinions different than your own? Also, regarding self-management, are you able to manage your emotions and impulses in a healthy way? The ability to be mindful of your own behaviors and how you express yourself can result in communicating more clearly, managing conflict, building relationships, and establishing rapport with those around you.

6. Welcome Constructive Criticism 

Everyone is sensitive to criticism in one way or another. It is perfectly natural to become defensive or even offended when confronted with criticism. Constructive criticism on the other hand is entirely different than pure criticism. The ability to process and improve upon constructive criticism is indicative of an individual grounded in emotional intelligence. Constructive criticism could originate from a supervisor, teammate, or even a potential candidate offering ideas on how to improve your internal processes. When welcomed, constructive criticism can allow you to see insights about yourself of which you would otherwise be unaware. Improving upon constructive criticism allows you to be a more competent recruiter, a stronger teammate, and allows for growth on a personal level.

7. Accountability 

Congruent with constructive criticism, the skill of personal accountability allows for future correction of past mistakes. This reveals itself in taking responsibility and not making excuses. It is further illustrated by not shifting blame onto other people. Emotionally intelligent people do not fear mistakes, nor do they take them too seriously. They simply recognize a mistake, correct their behavior, and then move forward with the knowledge needed to not make the same mistake in the future. With practice, this pattern of personal accountability becomes easier over time.

8. Source for Emotionally Intelligent Candidates 

The goal of becoming an emotionally intelligent person, or further refining the skills involved in emotional intelligence, is an amiable endeavor. This can be further applied when sourcing for physicians. As a physician recruiter, include key elements of emotional intelligence in the job description such as explaining your company culture and how it is based on compassion for patients or rooted in empathy. Clearly describe the key personality traits you need in a physician at your organization. Ask poignant questions during the interview to filter for the above elements of an emotionally intelligent person. Another often hidden element is observing the candidate outside of any professional setting such as how they interact with staff at a restaurant, if they are generally rude to people, or if they covertly or overtly express harmful opinions about women or minorities that may transfer when working with colleagues or patients at your organization. Apply all the same principles of emotional intelligence when sourcing for your open positions. This will ensure a healthy company culture, safe patient care, and provide you with the fulfillment of finding the perfect candidate as a physician recruiter. 

Emotional intelligence is crucial for all industries to incorporate, especially the physician recruitment industry. This industry is arguably one of the most significant in terms of impacting the lives of other people. When a physician is officially hired by an organization, it is both a literal and symbolic assurance of quality patient care. By confirming the physicians hired are emotionally intelligent individuals, it further guarantees patients are going to be treated with the dignity and respect all human beings deserve. The best part is that you as a recruiter have it entirely within your knowledge and influence to source for emotionally intelligent candidates while also further refining your skills of being an empathetic and passionate person. 

Stephanie Hager, MA

Stephanie Hager - Client Account Manager. You can stay connected with me on LinkedIn to stay up to date on PracticeMatch articles and upcoming events!