How is Qatar recruiting world class clinical talent?

Written by
Abdulla Al Khater

15 May 2017

15 May 2017 • by Abdulla Al Khater

Tell us about your launch and recruitment plans

Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) is a specialty hospital, research and education institution focusing on the health and wellbeing of women and children.
Sidra is opening its outpatient, maternity and paediatric services in 2016. Led by a team of specialised doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, services at the Sidra Outpatient Clinic will start with the launch of three clinics – dermatology, paediatric general surgery consultation, and obstetrics – supported by radiology, pathology, pharmacy and laboratory facilities.

We plan to offer more paediatric services over the course of 2016, so our recruitment focus will be on covering various roles within paediatric specialties, such as neonatology, developmental paediatrics, child and adolescent mental health, ear, nose and throat (ENT), preoperative anaesthetic assessment and preparation.

The Middle East's healthcare sector is growing, and despite competition, we are attracting top talent into the region.

What have been the main challenges so far?

One challenge of recruiting from overseas is overcoming misconceptions about the Middle East, around safety, lifestyle and career progression. We have sought to address this by sharing detailed information about working and living in Qatar, the benefits of being a Sidra employee and exposure to regional and international talent.

It helps that many of our international candidates become advocates and brand ambassadors. We have also had to address challenges related to the opening schedule of the hospital. However, now we have announced the opening of our Outpatient Clinic, it has given us a renewed recruitment focus. An ongoing challenge, especially in light of the changing licensing requirements, is the shortage of national and local talent with clinical skills.

How have you overcome these problems?

We reviewed our recruitment strategy to take stock of processes and relationships with recruiters. We listened to feedback from different stakeholders – including recruiters, hiring managers and candidates – to make improvements.

These included standardising and streamlining selection processes, introducing new tools and technology and an infrastructure to support the overall hiring process.

To improve our employer brand and continue to attract candidates for highly specialised and hard-to- fill positions we developed a clear brand identity, tying it in a compelling recruitment strategy.

How do you measure recruitment success?

We have put in place key performance indicators (KPIs), such as time to hire, and continuously initiate improvements. It has been a validation of our ongoing efforts to see how our staff are sharing international best practice and providing clinical care to the people of Qatar.

The provision of clinical services has been through collaboration with other leading healthcare providers in the country.

How important is a candidate's experience?

It's critical to hiring top medical staff. Relocating and practising as a clinical professional in Qatar requires extensive certification and validation. This is why we have continued to develop our online application process to ensure we capture all the required documentation early on, so as not to create delays down the line.

Our recruitment teams are committed to making the recruitment journey as smooth as possible by developing a strong relationship through regular updates and being on hand to clarify information.

What is the best source of quality candidates?

We have a lot of sourcing tools that yield good results for different areas. Referrals are a very viable source for some clinical areas. We have also found that our own careers website, social media tools such as LinkedIn and reviewing websites are very valuable sources.

What roles does technology play in your recruitment?

It has a big impact on candidate experience. We rely heavily on our recruitment management system to manage vacancies and applications. We plan to use newly developed functions in the system to manage interviews and the follow up offer process for selected candidates. We also rely on social media to post vacancies and engage talent through targeted content. For candidate onboarding, we have a sophisticated online tool for a streamlined, customised experience.

How do you expect medical recruitment to evolve in the region?

We anticipate that there will be continued growth in the healthcare sector in this region, but we are also aware of the predicted deficit in the supply of future physicians.

One of the ways we have been looking to address this challenge is through our scholarships programme with our National Development team, as well as outreach programmes with medical faculties in various universities and high schools in the country.

We are also pleased to have Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar as our academic partner, which provides us with another avenue to attract future talent.