Four reasons you should work with a physician recruiter

By Jonathan Ford Hughes
Published May 19, 2021

Key Takeaways

If you’re a veteran physician looking for a new gig, or nearing the end of residency, know this: It pays to work with a physician recruiter.

We know what you’re thinking. Why do I need a recruiter? There are numerous job boards to scan, as well as LinkedIn, and alumni networks I can tap into. While all of those sources might find you job, the probability of finding the job that’s a personal best fit is comparatively low.

We spoke to Robert Brown and Corey Morris, two physician recruiters with The Medicus Firm. Brown and Morris provided insights as to how a physician recruiter can help you, as well as how to maximize their assistance and ensure that you find a strong job match.

You don’t know what you don’t know

When selecting a new job, doctors need to be certain that the opportunity and location are a good fit for themselves and their families. This is where working with a recruiter pays dividends, Morris and Brown said.

“What you read on the internet is not a job description,” Brown said. “It’s a commercial or a billboard. A good recruiter will fill in the gaps for you. It’s the difference between looking at pictures of a used car, or talking to someone who has driven the car.”

Quality recruiters, Brown and Morris said, have truly driven the car. A good recruiter will visit a particular market, check out the housing inventory, spend time at the hospital or practice, and develop relationships with the hiring managers, all to make sure that the job is a good fit for you If you have special interests, religious requirements, or family needs, they’ll even make sure the locations you’re weighing have what you need.

All of this helps minimize the anxiety associated with a career move or first job–and it costs the doctor nothing. The hiring organization pays the recruiter’s fees. Physician recruiters typically fall into two categories: contingent and retained. Contingent recruiters are paid for each physician they sign. Retained recruiters are paid up front, and incrementally throughout the process–again, by the hiring organization, not the doctor.

By working with a physician recruiter, you have a guide throughout the entire hiring process, from the search onboarding, all of which can be daunting, Morris said. That can save a lot of stress.

Get better interviews

Want to make sure your next job is a good fit? Morris and Brown offered this sage advice: Know what you want.

“Question yourself internally and have an idea of what your priorities are,” Morris said. 

Questions you should be clear on include:

  • Where do I want to live?

  • If my spouse works, will they be able to find a job where I’m looking?

  • Does my family have any special needs and can this new location meet them?

  • How far will my take-home pay go in this location?

  • Will I be able to practice at the top of my license?

Coming to the table with these questions answered increases the likelihood that a recruiter will present you with options that are a good fit for you, personally. 

“We take that information and can match doctors based on those priorities,” Morris said. 

Both Morris and Brown said that the doctors who are the most difficult to work with are those who say they’re willing to go anywhere. 

“In most cases, if you’re a halfway decent doctor, you can get a half-dozen interviews,” Brown said. “If you know what you want, it makes the process a bit easier.”

Help with finding a better fit

Though a recruiter will help you find a good fit, no job is perfect. Aim to make sure that your choice checks two out of three of your top priorities, and realize that many of the things you think are fixed actually have more wiggle room.

For example, Brown said he had a client who said they need to be near an airport. How near is near? In one market the doctor was considering, the airport was an hour away. This might be close enough if you’re going to the airport, say, once every three months. But maybe it’s too far if you’re flying monthly.

In another example, Brown worked with a doctor who wanted to work in Chicago. The position did not require the physician to live in Chicago, however. The doctor could still be close enough to work in that more profitable market, and live just over the state line in Indiana where their cost of living would be substantially lower.

Jobs outlook improving

Finally, don’t let recent history deter you from changing jobs.

“It’s a great time to quit your job and get a new one right now,” Brown said. 

Two factors play into this. The first is that healthcare systems are now rushing to make up for last year’s revenue losses. Many are going on hiring sprees to increase capacity. The second factor is that the most recent COVID stimulus bill included funding for healthcare infrastructure. Healthcare organizations are using this to staff up. 

“Clients are starting to regain the trust that they’ve made it to the other side,” Morris said.


The ins and outs of working with a physician recruiter:

  • Using a recruiter costs you nothing.

  • Recruiters will make sure you’re a good fit for the job and the location.

  • Some will go the extra mile to make sure a location has what you and your family need, including adequate housing or religious services.

  • It helps to know what you want, going into the process. This should include desired locations and employment opportunities for spouses. Knowing these things helps the recruiter find a better match.

  • No job is perfect. But a good recruiter can get you two out of three of your top priorities.

  • If you’ve thought about changing jobs, now is the time to look. The market is rebounding and healthcare systems have federal money to spend.

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