Physicians: How to Choose the Right Recruiter for You

Whether you are a physician looking for your first job out of residency, or a more experienced doctor re-entering the job market for the first time in many years, you may be surprised to find yourself working with a recruiting professional.  In fact, if you or many of your colleagues have never connected with one before, you may not understand why recruiters have started to specialize in placing physicians or why a recruiter could benefit your search.

“These are actually questions that our Physician Recruitment division gets asked quite frequently,” explains Steffanie Ngo-Hatchie, an Executive Recruiter within the division.  “The answer to both these questions lies in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Healthcare reform has created a rise in demand for health services in general, which has subsequently led to a rise in demand for physicians to help provide that care. The bottom line is that most medical facilities, ranging from small practices to large hospital systems, don’t have the ability or the time to fill these increasing needs on their own.”

As a result, they are increasingly turning towards recruitment firms to help streamline their hiring process, minimize the time spent onboarding potential new hires, and even help make the decision on which candidates will interview for a given position.  “While in the past, physicians could typically find their next job on their own, today, since a large majority of healthcare organizations use third party firms to do a lot of the legwork for them [which includes posting the job], it’s become the norm to work with a recruiter,” explains Steffanie.

In many cases, it can actually be easier to work with a recruiting firm.  “Many practices and hospital systems have large HR departments that are difficult to get in touch with if you apply on your own,” says Steffanie.  “On the other hand, recruiters have strong connections with the many HR departments that we work with.  We can leverage these connections to not only find you an employer that works best for your needs, but also advocate on your behalf to get you placed more quickly.”

However, in order to find success at the end of your search, you have to partner with a recruiter whose thought process aligns with your own and who understands your goals.  Once you find that person, they can connect you with different opportunities you may not have heard of otherwise, and can be a great contact to have for any future endeavors.

With so many different recruiting professionals out there, here’s how Steffanie advises choosing the right recruiter for you:

Make sure you feel comfortable: If you are going to work well with your recruiter, you have to feel comfortable being completely open and honest with them.  “In order for us to help you find the best fit, you have to feel comfortable having some personal conversations with us about your family needs, compensation requirements, and career goals,” advises Steffanie.  “The only way that you’ll be able to do this is by choosing to work with someone you feel you can trust and can build a good rapport with.”

Ask for information:  It’s just as important for you to be asking questions about the firm’s background, as it is for the recruiter to be asking you about yours.  To learn more about the firm, ask for information pertaining to the areas of physician recruitment that they specialize in, where their offices are located, and if they have anything that backs up their credentials such as a website, any professional affiliations like the National Association of Physician Recruiters (NAPR), and other candidate references.  It can also be helpful to do some research of your own by researching the company and the recruiter on LinkedIn.

“You want to make sure that your recruiter not only works for a credible organization that holds themselves to the highest industry and ethical standards, but also has the ability to connect you with opportunities that pertain to your specialty within the geographical location where you want to work,” advises Steffanie.

Reach out to your network: If you are starting to think about your next career opportunity, it may be helpful to reach out to your network and see if they have had any successful experiences with recruiters.  “One of the best ways to get in touch with a recruiter that is both relevant to your specialty and is someone you can trust is to ask for a referral,” says Steffanie.  “You never know.  One simple introduction can lead to the career opportunity of a lifetime.”