How to send succinct emails to locum doctors

Email on computer

We all know what it’s like to be completely drowned in work, negotiating a packed diary of meetings with constant phone ringing and a wobbling in tray. The same is true for any locum doctor, who will be immensely time pressured and not always able to have access to either a computer or phone during a hectic on call shift, dealing with patients left, right and centre. Being able to practice good email etiquette is so important if you want to build up decent communication with your candidates without annoying or pestering them, but still getting the information that you need.

As a Director here at Total Assist Group, I have lots of experience in talking and corresponding with the locum doctors on our roster, so here are my top seven tips for how to maintain good email communication.

Making the most of email

1) Keep the subject line to the point. Receiving well over a hundred emails a day is now commonplace, but especially for locum staff, who may be dealing with various agencies, hospital departments and NHS teams. If you don’t want your email to end up as spam then make sure you use an accurate subject line for every email, ensuring it is direct, information and eye catching.

2) Keep paragraphs concise. Long blocks of text are going to be very off putting if you only have a few minutes to scan your emails so make sure you keep paragraphs brief, including as much detail as the topic requires in as few words as possible. Think like you are writing a newspaper article, fitting the key information in to as little space as possible.

3) Avoid emailing when a phone call or face to face visit would be better. For example any sensitive information or personal details may be better dealt with when speaking rather than typing. The same could also be said for complex or tricky situations where an email may be misinterpreted or need to be clarified – it would be easier just to speak to the individual in question first hand.

E mail concept on white background

4) Bear response times in mind. Emails rarely happen in ‘real time’, especially since locum doctors will be engaging in shift work, which could include late shifts, night shifts or long shifts, with limited breaks or email access during these time frames. Many locum shifts could take place outside of usual business hours so be mindful of this when communicating with your candidates. This is why many of our Recruitment Consultants work later in the evenings, as it is important to make contact with working locums to line up future placements.

5) Be polite. Please, thank you and you’re welcome are just as important in emails as they are in person, particularly as tone can be incredibly hard to convey over this medium. Being polite adds a friendly and welcoming undertone that is useful for building relationships.

6) Use correct grammar. Skipping proper capitalisation and grammar simply looks unprofessional and reflects badly on the author. It also makes your email harder to read as not only has the doctor got to take in your actual message but they have to work out whether they have interpreted you correctly as well. Abbreviations may be confusing if the other person doesn’t know what they mean, so try to avoid them if possible.

7) Remember to add an email signature. These are really useful as you can include the multitude of ways that a candidate can get in touch with you, whether you provide a work and mobile number, maybe even a skype address or fax number too. You want to make yourself as available as possible for them so that they can contact you when they need to.

[testimonial name=”Mark Silverman” who=”Commercial Director” imagelinks=”http://totalassist.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Mark-Silverman-e1407410604833.jpg” vertical=”no”]”I have been working for Total Assist Group since the business started back in 1999, providing support to key areas of the business to ensure we stay profitable and running smoothly.”[/testimonial]

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