How to Create Effective Physician Recruitment Display Ads

Source: A white paper released by the NEJM CareerCenter.RPT_CoverPDF

This white paper summarizes the results of a study conducted by MedPanel, an independent market research firm, for NEJM CareerCenter. Fielded in early 2015, the study sought to better understand U.S. physicians’ impressions of and likelihood to respond to print display recruitment advertisements. Participants were not aware that NEJM CareerCenter sponsored the study.

How Is This Study Useful for Recruitment Advertisers?
The physician recruitment landscape is extremely competitive. As recruiters continue to source from a finite group of physicians, the importance of executing effective and efficient advertising is paramount. Understanding how physicians respond to employment marketing materials is key to optimizing recruitment advertising.
In order to learn what attributes of a job advertisement are most likely to compel a response from U.S. physicians, NEJM CareerCenter contracted with MedPanel to conduct a blind independent study.

The study consisted of a conjoint exercise (a statistical technique to determine how people value different attributes that make up an individual product or service) and a short survey. The conjoint exercise and study used various attributes such as color, size, specific content, logos, and photos as variables in a print advertisement.

In particular, NEJM CareerCenter sought to gain insight into:

  • What visual elements of a display advertisement encourage a physician to respond to it.
  • What attributes of a display ad influence a jobseeker’s impressions of the employer.
  • Which benefits are the most important to an employment decision
  • How salary affects the likelihood of a physician to respond to a job advertisement

A total of 350 physicians consisting of United States-based residents/fellows, primary care physicians, specialists, and physician leaders completed this conjoint survey.


Size Matters
The vast majority of the respondents skim the recruitment advertisements, so it is no surprise that the larger the advertisement, the better the response. According to the results of the study, the best way to improve the response rate is by increasing an ad size. Upgrading from a small ad to a larger ad has the best improvement in response rate. The majority of physicians rated displays ads as being informative, believable, attention-getting, relevant, and compelling.

Just Add Color
It seems that every little bit helps to make your ad stand out. The use of color increases the likelihood that a physician will respond to a recruitment advertisement. Adding color to a display ad was the second best way to increase the likelihood of response behind increasing the size.

It’s All about the Lifestyle (Images)
Respondents were shown different advertisements that included one of the following types of images: external photos of medical facilities and buildings, photos showing people in outdoor activities, and a photo of a small group of smiling physicians. The display ads that featured lifestyle images (e.g., showing outdoor activities) increase the likelihood that a physician will respond to an advertisement.

Benefits Matter but Vary According to Career Status
Adding more detail about benefits improves the likelihood that a physician will respond to an advertisement. Overall, physicians rank salary (see below), location, and work/life balance as the most important attributes of a potential job. They also look for a financially healthy organization.
Work/life balance is of particular importance to younger physicians (residents and physicians in practice less than four years) and is even slightly more important than salary for this group.

Location of the job has the most importance for physician leaders; they place almost equal importance on salary.

About the Salary…
Although the majority of the physicians in the study ranked salary as one of the most important benefits when making an employment decision, listing a salary in an advertisement is complicated. According to the results of the study, physicians are more likely to apply to a job ad where the salary is competitive or higher than they would expect. Having no salary listed or a salary lower than expected hurts the likelihood of applying for a job. It is slightly better to list no salary at all than risk listing a salary that is lower than expected.

NEJM CareerCenter provides unique physician recruitment solutions. Our advanced technology targets passive physician jobseekers by specialty while they are reading trusted and valued content from the New England Journal of Medicine and NEJM Journal Watch online. We also reach physicians through a number of our opt-in clinical content emails and on our site.

For a copy of this white paper and to see the ads used in this study please click here.