Last year at this time, the impacts of COVID-19 on the medical community were clear.

Providers worldwide were thrust to the frontlines to face an unprecedented global pandemic as elective procedures and treatments came to a sudden halt.

For months, survival mode was the name of the game — both for the patients and the healthcare workers providing them care.

At the time, the impact of this shift on the physical recruitment industry was yet to be seen. But now, more than 18 months since the CDC confirmed the first coronavirus case in the U.S., some of the long-term effects of the pandemic are finally coming to the surface.

To examine the sentiments of internal physician recruitment professionals and how COVID impacted and continues to impact their day-to-day operations, Hayes Locums along with the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) recently conducted their Physician Recruitment COVID-19 Impact & Implementation Survey #2.

The survey was conducted between March 9, 2021, and March 23, 2021.

Survey Results Reflect a Positive Outlook for the Future

All AAPPR members were invited to participate, and a total of 335 in-house recruitment professionals completed the questionnaire.

The respondents — a mix of recruiters, directors, managers, and executives — shared key insights. Let’s break down the results.

Job Satisfaction

While the potential for physician and provider burnout following the pandemic has been a real concern for the healthcare industry, the surveyed recruitment professionals are feeling optimistic about their current roles.

Overall, 82% of in-house recruitment professionals are satisfied with their position/role — a remarkably higher statistic than it was in 2019. AAPPR speculates that some of the improved sentiments are due to more professionals working remotely (70% now vs. 50% before the pandemic) with more technologies in place to aid processes, such as initial interviews.

Virtual Processes

Not surprisingly, all surveyed professionals indicated their reliance on virtual/video technology accelerated because of COVID-19. However, less than 1/3 of recruitment professionals are currently working from the office, and the timetable for returning is mixed. Thirty percent plan to return before Labor Day, though 42% never expect to return to the office on a full-time basis.

While all respondents don’t think COVID-19 will impact their recruitment departments over the next 6–12 months, more than 80% of organizations now conduct their initial interviews exclusively via video conference, and most expect and prefer it to stay that way. This change can be attributed to the changes that were made during the pandemic, although most other recruitment processes (following the initial interview) are still conducted in person.

Staffing Implications

Only 5% of organizations reported they had been using locum tenens pre-COVID but are currently stopped because of the pandemic, with more than 60% of organizations with over 300 providers reporting they never stopped using locum tenens.

Internally, approximately 20% of organizations have reduced the number of recruitment staff since the pandemic began, though only 6% expect additional reductions. Larger organizations were more likely to have eliminated recruitment staff positions since the pandemic, though they’re less likely to expect further cuts. In smaller organizations, recruiters were less likely to be laid off and more likely to be redeployed to other areas of the organization.

The main takeaway: According to recruitment professionals, the future looks bright for the industry as we move further away from the pandemic.

AAPPR will continue to conduct research on the topic to document these changes, so stay tuned for future surveys!

Click here to download the complete survey or to request more information about the results. You can also visit to view other COVID-19 surveys.

Have more questions about locum tenens? Let’s talk. Call 1-888-837-3172.