Finding a new job can feel overwhelming— you have to consider the impact on your career, uprooting your family, novel work-place politics, and the list goes on. Figuring out how to organize your search can seem like a shot in the dark, especially if you are at a transition point in your career, want to cast a wide net, or are unsure of the job market.
The job search is where physician recruiters shine; they have years or decades of experience managing these painful— but rewarding— transitions, and can provide you with valuable insight. After you’ve done your research and chosen a reputable recruiter, he or she will go to bat to help you land the job you want.
Physician recruiters are good old fashioned sleuths
It’s their job after all! Many recruiters have decades in the field, and you can find recruiters who have a track record in your specialty. The real benefit of recruiters is the long term and mutually beneficial relationships they have with employers and their intimate knowledge of the medical culture in a
particular location. Relationships and experience are invaluable in any job search— and you must choose a recruiter who has the connections you need to put you front and center in your potential employer’s line of sight.
Recruiters worth their salt will know about jobs on the horizon that you would be hard pressed to find unless you were a fly on the wall of a departmental meeting. As I approached the end of residency, I signed up for a multitude of these job boards and saw the same opportunities repeated incessantly, several of them already filled. When I worked with a reputable recruiter, he promptly delivered an array of new opportunities I had been unable to find. Ask your recruiter about her experience in some geographical regions or practice settings of interest. It’s also a great idea to have the recruiter referred to you by one of her satisfied customers in your specialty.
Expose you to new possibilities
Recruiters can be an appropriate remedy for job-related short-sightedness. When I first started working with a recruiter, I had my heart set on a 25-mile square radius from my prime location and nothing could derail this vision. Talking with my physician recruiter opened my eyes to the reality of oversaturation in highly desirable areas and the drawbacks that come with them. With new long-term vision, I broadened my search, and while I ultimately ended within a 30-mile radius of my goal, spreading out my search provided a better lay of the land. It also gave insight into tradeoffs concerning salary, benefits, and breadth of cases that can occur when a physician sets roots down in the shadow of large medical practices and competes within a crowded market for patient volume and cases.
A recruiter shouldn’t steer you from your dream, but he can help you see the reality of your goals. It’s imperative that you realistically determine the kind of job you need, not a fantasy based on superficial qualities that may not ultimately benefit your career. A well-resourced physician recruiter can be an invaluable resource in this regard.
A consultant and aide
A recruiter can provide you with average salaries, bonus packages and other valuable information to determine how you stack up compared to your peers. As a resident or fellow— or someone who has been away from the job market for some time— it can be challenging to get this information, especially if you cast a broad net based on location and practice type. A recruiter can also counsel you when to negotiate for what you are worth or when something is amiss in the contract. A good recruiter will always be readily available, taking time to discuss your concerns and keep you abreast of the progress of your application.
Know with whom you are working
Ask your recruiter if he works on a retained or contingency basis. Retained recruiters are the gatekeepers for a few positions since any applicant will be hired through their efforts, while contingent recruiters are one of several resources for filling a position and compete with other recruiters or an internal HR department. While both rely on their networking skills to fill the job, the retained firms will have more inside knowledge of the few positions and be very hands-on with the interview process, while the contingent recruiter will prioritize rapid results and expose you to a broader range of jobs.
Both are excellent resources, but you will need to consider your particular situation to choose which will work best for you. A soon-to-be graduate with no ties to any one location may benefit from a contingency firm, while a physician at mid-career change with a specific skill set and a preferred practice setting may benefit more from a retained company.
While recruiters are invaluable, there are a few things You Should Never Do so you don’t waste your time and theirs:
- Work with every recruiter that comes your way, allowing your CV to be repeatedly presented and your efforts spread thin
- Become missing in action (MIA). Don’t put your search on autopilot and “forget” to follow up with necessary information to move the process forward. Aim to follow at least twice a week to keep things running smoothly when you are actively pursuing a position.
- Be unsure of your job search. Before your first talk with a recruiter, make three columns with the headings, “must have,” “negotiables,” and “would be nice” for your dream job. This way both you and your recruiter have a clear sense of your goals. While things may change, it’s imperative to have a solid foundation.
Recruiters base their livelihoods on their great matchmaker skills. Make sure you work with one with a stellar record of delivering dream jobs. Answer the call and get on your way to a job you love!