How to Work with a Physician Recruiter

Physician candidates often work with physician recruiters to find the best job opportunity. As a physician, you’ve probably already been contacted by various firms offering their services.

You may have heard other physicians relate both negative and positive experiences with physician recruiters. This could deter you from using one in your job search process.

This article will help put some of your uncertainties to rest.

We will:

  • Cover the best ways to begin a professional relationship with a physician recruiting firm
  • Break down the different types of physicians recruitment firms
  • List the pros and cons of using a search firm
  • Describe what you can expect throughout the hiring process

If you do decide to work with a physician recruiter, you should be proactive in protecting your future placement. We’ll go over that topic as well.

Find a Physician Recruiter

There are several places to look.

You can find an extensive list of physician recruiters on the National Association of Physician Recruiters (NAPR) website.

Alternatively, you can find many of the bigger recruitment firms with a quick Google search, or ask your peers if they know of some they have used in the past. Look at reviews online and check the recruiter’s credentials.

Update Your CV

If you are serious about finding a new placement, ensure that your CV is up to date and polished. Like a resume, a well-written CV can help you stand out in the pool of candidates.

The American College of Physicians has a very useful example of what a CV should include here.

Things to Remember

  • Recruiters are paid by the employer to find you. If a physician recruiter asks for payment, you aren’t working with a reliable recruiter. Don’t ever pay out of pocket for recruitment fees.
  • Know what setting (the type of organization and geographical location) would be best for your personal and professional needs but be open to new ideas.
  • Don’t contact a recruiter until you are serious about accepting an offer. Send over your CV and wait for them to contact you.
  • Don’t use too many recruitment firms as this may lead to double placement of your CV, making you look too eager.

Related: Physician Recruiting: Merritt Hawkins Review

Pros of Working with a Physician Recruiter

  1. Working with a physician recruiter can speed up the job search and hiring process. They are experts at doing this and have an expedited process set up to handle their many job searchers.
  2. It can make you aware of unknown practice opportunities. Physician recruiters network with many different organizations and hospital HR leaders.
  3. A recruiter can help you find a match that meets your goals. They know the market and where your skills would be most in demand. They may be able to help with the negotiation for that position as long as they are not employed by the same institution nor paid by the employer. This is pretty rare.
  4. Using a physician recruiter is great for Locum Tenens physicians, where the turnaround is quick and help is gladly appreciated.
  5. Search firms often have insider information from potential employers before the positions are made known publicly. They can have the first “in” to the job position and recommend you as a candidate.
  6. A physician recruiter won’t take a cut of your salary or charge you any fee for their services. One thing you may run into is the recruiter’s income may come out of your compensation package.
  7. Many of the search firms offer services beyond simple placement. They will often help with the interview process as a mediator.

Cons of Working with a Physician Recruiter

  1. A recruiter’s loyalty and fiduciary responsibility lie with the employer at the end of the day. This means that you won’t really know if they have your best interests in mind.
  2. Their sizable fee may make some facilities unable to work with them. You might miss out on good jobs because of this. Employers pay on average about $20,000 per placement — which smaller organizations can’t afford.
  3. Many private practices just don’t use recruiters, which is another chunk of jobs you may miss out on.

Types of Physician Recruiters

Types of physician recruiters
Not all physician recruiters are the same. It’s important to find a recruiting firm that matches your needs.

Below are four different types of physicians recruiters that deal with employers and candidates in varying ways.

Retained Recruiter

A retained recruiter is hired by the employer and paid for the job search before any candidate is even hired. They will often visit the site and will know more about the job and the community.

Retained recruiters can give you more detail about what your role would involve, and how your daily life and surroundings would be. They also help you decide whether this placement would be a good match for you based on your goals and desires.

They are usually more involved in the hiring process through consulting both the employer and the physician looking to be hired.

Because they are so deeply connected to specific sites and hospitals, they specialize in placements to a smaller number of job opportunities.

If you want someone with deep insight into what you will be signing on for, work with a retained recruiter.

Related: flipMD Connects Physicians with Unique Consulting Opportunities

Contingent Recruiter

A contingent recruiter has no special connection to any job. They have yet to be paid an upfront fee from any employer, and won’t get any payment until a physician is hired for the job.

Contingent recruiters usually have access to a wider variety of opportunities and will always have their feelers out for more. They may have a large library of possible job placements.

But this also comes with a downfall.

Because of the sheer number of sites they will try to hire for, they don’t usually visit the site or know the job as well as they could. Many of your questions about the job environment and community will go unanswered by your recruiter.

If you feel confident about your own ability to research a job and its location, and you want to have a broader array of opportunities, you may be better off to work with a contingent recruiter.

In-House Recruiter

In-house recruiters work directly for the organizations for which they are hiring.

This means two things:

First, they will hire with retention in mind. They want a permanent addition to the team and won’t hire unless they believe that the right physician is you.

Second, they will have even more loyalty to the employer. If you work with an in-house recruiter, it’s all the more important to get the help of professionals during the contract negotiation process.

In-house recruiters are limited to job offers within the healthcare system they work for. If you have a health care system in mind that you know and respect, reach out to their in-house recruiters.

Locum Tenens Recruiter

A locum tenens recruiter will deal directly with positions offered for locum tenens physicians. This means that they offer jobs that are usually more short term.

These recruiters understand the needs and preferences of locum tenens physicians. They offer jobs that include flexibility and new experiences all over the country.

It’s almost a given that locum tenens physicians would benefit from using a locum tenens recruiter.

No matter what type of recruiter you work with, you need income protection. Check out our Disability Insurance page for more info.

What to Look for in a Physician Recruiter

You can usually get a feel for the integrity of a physician recruiter within the first couple of meetings you have with them. But remain cautious and alert.

Recruiters don’t need any special license or degree to become a recruiter, and Google can only tell you so much about the firm. Although, reading through their website and checking out online reviews is always a good idea.

Try to find other physicians who have used your chosen search firm before. If most physicians don’t have anything good to say about them or if you can’t find anyone who has used them, you may want to find a different recruiter.

A good recruiter is dedicated to finding the perfect match, not to push you into a job. They should ask plenty of questions about what you are looking for and even what you would not be willing to consider.

Their goal should be to make a placement — for the benefit of both the employer and the physician.

If all the recruiter does is hand you a list of jobs and asks you which ones to send your CV to, you’re at the wrong recruiting firm. They should be a helping hand and be very proactive.

Are you planning to hire a CRNA or anesthesiologist? Here’s what to expect.

How to Be Proactive During the Process

An effective recruiter will be thorough in giving you detailed information and in asking all about you. But you shouldn’t sit back and let them have free reign over your job placement.

You can take some ownership of the process by being proactive. Here’s how:

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Don’t let recruiters do all the talking. If you are unsure about anything, ask. If they don’t know the answer, ask them to find out for you. This is their job.

Practice open communication and prompt responsiveness

Many of the jobs recruiters are trying to fill will have plenty of candidates. You’re just one in the pool.

If you want to have a better chance at placement, make sure you have good, open communication and promptly respond to your recruiter’s phone calls.

If you delay, have no doubts that they will move on to the next candidate on their list. Time is of the essence.

Do not allow recruiters to send off your CV without your approval

A recruiter’s job is to find a placement that you approve of — not send off your CV to as many sites as possible, hoping to find a catch.

Sending off your CV to too many organizations can taint your reputation or make you look desperate. This could lower your advantages in the negotiation process.

In such a scenario, employers might think you would settle for less money or benefits due to your need for placement.

Have Your Contract Reviewed by Contract Specialists

Physician recruiter contract review
Because many recruiters are paid by the employer, it is best to get contract negotiation counsel outside of the recruiting firm.

Some recruiters will offer help in this step, but again, in the end, their loyalty will be to the employer and the $20,000 check that they will receive from them.

A lawyer who specializes in contract negotiation and all the complex clauses and restrictions will help you better understand the vocabulary of the contract. A financial advisor that works exclusively with physicians can give you insight into the competitiveness of the opportunity, how hard to negotiate, and how these different aspects could benefit or harm your professional future.

Physicians Thrive offers contract review as well as help with the negotiation process. Our financial advisors work with legal professionals to help you get the salary and benefits you need now and to grow and protect your financial future.

Our fiduciary responsibility and loyalty will always be to you, the physician.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Physician Contract Review

In summary, a good physician recruiter will be determined to match you with a placement where you’ll thrive.

As you read through the information in this article, you’ve more than likely had your interest piqued to the possibilities that a physician recruitment firm can open up for your career.

All physicians recruiters worth your attention would welcome inquiries by prospective physicians to answer any questions or get advice in their job search. If you are in the market for a new job, a physician recruiter can be a valuable asset.

For more information to help you in your job search, see our job search resources or contact Physicians Thrive.

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