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How to Work Well With Your Healthcare Recruiter

As a healthcare professional, you know that building a good rapport with your patients and earning their trust is important to facilitating a positive patient experience – a major initiative of the Affordable Care Act. This same concept can also be applied to your relationship with your recruiter.  On one hand, you have to trust that your recruiter is submitting you for opportunities that would be the right fit for you; while on the other, the recruiter has to trust that you are representing their decision to submit you for the position in a positive light to the client.

“My most successful relationships have been built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect,” says Michelle Lavagnino, an Executive Recruiter within The Execu|Search Group’s Physician Recruitment division.   “At the end of the day, the more effort a job seeker puts into working well with us, the harder we will work for them.”

To ensure you start your relationship with your healthcare recruiter off on the right foot, here are 4 guidelines that Michelle suggests you follow:

Be Upfront and Honest:

When discussing your professional goals, salary expectations, desired practice settings, and geographical preferences, it’s important to be upfront with your recruiter from the get-go. “The more honest you are about your interests and the type of role you are looking for, the easier it will be for us to find you something that meets your needs,” says Michelle.

It’s also a best practice to disclose your other job search activity. “Many of the physicians we work with are hesitant to reveal that they are in the process of applying for jobs on their own, or through a different recruitment firm,” notes Michelle. “We would never impede someone’s job search, but we need to know about other activity in order to ensure the process is as transparent as possible.”

For example, being upfront about other places you are applying will help the recruiter ensure that you aren’t submitted to a position twice. In addition, by disclosing your other activity and why you like a certain opportunity, your recruiter can get a better idea for what you are looking for. “Telling us about other roles you are pursuing will give us a better understanding of your interests, which will help us match you with additional opportunities that meet your needs,” says Michelle. “We can also help bring our search up to speed with your own by expediting where you are in the staffing process with one of our clients. This way, you have the ability to keep your options open.”

Have a Sense of Urgency:

Physician, nursing, therapy, and other healthcare roles move quickly, so if your recruiter contacts you about an opportunity, it’s important to get back to them as soon as possible.   “Because these positions are in such high-demand and need to be filled quickly to ensure patients receive care, a delay of just a couple of hours could mean a missed opportunity,” advises Michelle. “As a result, it’s important to maintain a sense of responsiveness and decisiveness throughout the process.”

This same sense of urgency should be applied when you are interviewing for a role that you decide you aren’t interested in. “If you don’t think there’s a fit, we won’t be offended,” explains Michelle. “Telling us will not only help the client save time, but also help us better focus our search efforts for you.”

Trust Them:

When your recruiter presents you with a compensation package, try to keep an open mind. “The goal is never to make you settle for something you aren’t happy with, but to ensure you get the most competitive offer possible,” says Michelle. “Due to the nature of our profession, we have unique insight into current market trends as well as how much our clients typically pay their employees. Based on this knowledge, we always work to ensure you receive an offer that is competitive with current market rates from the get-go.”

If you decide you want to move forward with a negotiation, it’s considered a best practice to run it by your recruiter. “Since we have many pre-existing relationships with our clients and understand what is realistic for them, we always advise our candidates to let us negotiate on their behalf,” notes Michelle. “If there isn’t much wiggle room on salary, we can leverage our relationship to negotiate other areas of interest to reach an agreement you are happy with.” In other words, think about the whole package, rather than just the number. For instance, healthcare recruiting professionals also have the ability to negotiate other aspects of an offer such as sign-on bonuses, benefits, continuing medical education (CME) expenses, and paid time off.

Keep In Touch:

Just because your job search will eventually come to an end, doesn’t mean your relationship with your recruiter has to. “Recruiting isn’t about simply making a placement and moving on,” notes Michelle. “We’re invested in all of our candidates’ long-term success and make an effort to check in on them from time to time to ensure their transition has gone smoothly and that there aren’t any other things we can assist them with.” With an emphasis on relationship building, try to stay in touch with your recruiter by sending them some brief updates about your career. You never know when you may need their assistance – as either a job seeker or hiring manager – and the more up-to-date they are on your needs, the quicker they may be able to help!

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