Background: Despite rapidly growing interest in hospital medicine (HM), no prior research has examined the attributes that may be most beneficial to applicants during the HM application, interview and hiring process. We aimed to define the specific qualities that HM interviewers seek in candidates, and to assess interviewer perceptions about important applicant behaviors, attributes and skills.

Methods: We developed a survey instrument containing multiple choice, ranking and free-response questions focused on how respondents view and assess HM candidate attributes, skills and behaviors. Survey recipients were identified via Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) administrative rosters as current non-trainee physician SHM members with a primary address in the United States. Respondents self-reported having a formal role in the hospitalist candidate hiring process. Quantitative responses were analyzed descriptively while qualitative responses underwent thematic analysis. Multiple independent investigators coded the qualitative responses and collectively created a framework of overarching themes according to patterns within the data.

Results: Of 1,092 eligible recipients, 347 (31.8%) responded to the survey. Respondents ranked the top 5 qualifications of hospitalist applicants, and the top 5 qualities a hospitalist applicant should demonstrate on interview day to be considered for hiring (Table 1). Several themes emerged in thematic analysis related to candidate assessment and recruitment strategies, including identification of red flags and tensions between building a stable cohesive team for long-term hospitalists and hiring needs for short-term candidates (Table 2).

Conclusions: This is the first assessment of HM applicant attributes, skills and behavior that are viewed most favorably by those with formal roles in the hiring process. These findings should inform graduate medical education and HM professional development programs aimed at preparing HM candidates for the application process.

IMAGE 1: Table 1. Quantitative Survey Responses

IMAGE 2: Table 2: Results of Thematic Analysis Describing Hospital Medicine Candidate Assessment