What Questions Should Employers Ask When Interviewing a Locums Agency?

Hal Levy
May 1, 2020

These questions will help you compare potential locums agencies.

Since your patient care matters, your choice of locums tenens agencies matters too. Luckily, there are clear ways to find a great locums partner.

We’ve included a few perceptive questions (and the reasoning behind them) which will tell you all you need to know. Here’s how experienced clinical directors tell the best agencies apart.

It can be useful for healthcare employers to work with multiple locums tenens agencies.

Meaningful Physician Expertise

There’s something irreplaceable about a clinician-led leadership team. A meeting of two doctor-run groups will have less of a learning curve and more opportunities for collaboration. When your staffing resource understands your perspective, things simply run well.

It can be harder to trust and communicate with a locums provider that doesn’t have medical experts meaningfully involved in operations. A doctors’ perspective should be a part of all decisions. Ask about your agency’s medical background.

Credentialing Tech and Trust

Since this is healthcare, it’s hard to know at first glance which agency uses the latest communications tools and which one is behind the times with disorganized faxing. Even after you’ve picked a candidate, credentialing can be a major bottleneck.

Ask — is there a dedicated and responsible person on your credentialing team? Have they worked with similar employers before?

Legacy Fees vs. Fair Pricing

As a rule, newer agencies tend to be more “disruptive” than their competitors. They avoid unneeded policies, and pass on savings to be competitive.

For example, DirectShifts started from the ground up with advanced technology and low overhead costs. We’ve found that our charges to hospitals are around 40% lower than legacy agencies. Make sure to ask for a fair price.

Honesty and Transparency

You deserve personal attention in all your dealings with a locums agency. Ask questions to uncover for red flags like excessive fees or unclear expectations. Check to see if all costs, benefits and drawbacks have been disclosed up front.

Can you see the candidate pool your agency has, or do they hold all the cards? Do the candidates who will work for you feel that they’ve been treated fairly?

Speed on Your Schedule

Most questions for staffing agencies revolve around “when” — like when will clinicians be available to interview, and when will they be available to start?

The most important thing for most parties is convenience. You can ask for locums to deploy on your timeline, not someone else’s.

Full-Featured Locums Help

What’s the best way to tell between a locums agency or a recruiter? Consider how doctor-specific their recruitment practices are.

An agency that’s ready to make travel arrangements and provide malpractice insurance without hassling you should be a minimum expectation for your locums partner. Agencies that handle career guidance and related services are even better.

Most agencies offer similar services at first glance, so you’ll want to compare which is the right fit. Check out DirectShifts for an agency that reliably meets these needs.

Any other things a locums provider should know? Reach out to support@directshifts.com.

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