What a physician recruiter can—and can’t—do for you at any stage in your career

By John Murphy, MDLinx
Published August 14, 2018

Key Takeaways

What can you expect to gain from working with a physician recruiter? “Quite simply, exposure. A good recruiter with connections gives all candidates exposure and can push them to the top of the application pile,” says Brad Bohannon, president, Medicorp Inc., a physician recruitment company headquartered in Saint Peters, MO.

What else can a physician recruiter do for you? A great deal, Mr. Bohannon says. But as helpful as recruiters can be, they can’t turn a disorganized or misguided physician candidate into an exceptional one—some aspects of the hiring process can only be done by the physicians and residents themselves.

With that in mind, here are the most important things that a recruiter can, and can’t, do for you.

A physician recruiter…

network to find the right facility for your specialty.
“Many physicians run into trouble when they blast their CV out to numerous recruiters,” Mr. Bohannon says. “It can make a candidate look desperate or disorganized when a hospital is being contacted by numerous outside recruiters about the same candidate for the same job, and the candidate doesn’t know who is representing them for a position.

“If I were a physician, I would interview my recruiter about their experience level and how much time they’ve spent recruiting in my specialty. I’d want to know what kind of networking abilities my recruiter seems to have and what kind of network of health-care facilities I can get exposure to,” Mr. Bohannon says. “And I strongly encourage physicians to keep a handle on who they’re working with, and where their CV is being sent.”

Can’t take a cut of your salary. “Some candidates think we’re getting a percentage of their salary or that our fees take away from their sign-on bonuses and fringe benefits,” Mr. Bohannon says. “This is not true. We only receive a flat fee, which is paid largely through our clients’ yearly recruitment budgets and in no way comes out of our candidates’ salaries or bonuses.”

He adds: “If you talk with a recruiter and you get the feeling the recruiter is just ‘out for the fee,’ stop working with that recruiter and find someone that is going to build a relationship with you and look out for your best interests.”

Can give you “insider” information. A recruiter can often get the inside track on job specifics. Mr. Bohannon recommends you ask your recruiter these questions: “When is the hiring facility looking to make a decision, and what is the expected hire date? How many other candidates have applied for this position, and are there any contract offers pending currently? What is the normal interview process for this facility, and do you have any tips for me during the phone interview phase? What is the compensation structure and benefits being offered?”

It’s fine to ask your recruiter about compensation and benefits, Mr. Bohannon says, but don’t talk about it with the hiring facility until they bring it up.

A recruiter can also put you on the right track no matter the stage of your career:

  • Residents. “Residents often don’t know all the intricate details of the recruiting process and how to negotiate the best contract and deal for themselves,” Mr. Bohannon observes. “Working with an experienced recruiter to guide you through the process can truly help you land the position you’re looking for and optimize your negotiations to make things go smoothly between you and the hiring entity.”

  • Mid-career. “We’re often contacted by our clients asking us to find that seasoned physician with 5 to 10 years of experience. A good recruiter will be able find the places that are looking for someone with exactly this type of experience and can market that candidate to their clients,” says Mr. Bohannon. “We often get requests for leadership roles and medical directors, and these candidates can be ready to make that jump and take on more responsibility.”

  • Later career. For a physician with years of experience, but perhaps not a lot of opportunities, a recruiter can provide exposure to clients that are looking for someone who’s “down-shifting” toward the end of their career. “A good recruiter can market a physician and their experience to their clients and determine the best jobs that need someone who has years of knowledge and know-how,” Mr. Bohannon says.

Can’t read your mind. “It can frustrate the process when a physician is not clear and concise about what they’re looking for and where they want to practice. It will save everyone time if the physician has a clear set of criteria and needs, and if they can accurately relay those objectives to their recruiter,” Mr. Bohannon says. “If you take the time to tell your recruiter what’s truly important to you in a job and a community, we’ll have a much better chance of finding you the right fit.”

By the same token, be sure to tell your recruiter if you’ve found a new job elsewhere or you’re no longer interested in looking. “I recommend a simple follow-up e-mail, call, or text to let your recruiter know you’ve taken another position,” Mr. Bohannon advises. “It shows a great deal of professionalism and keeps the door open for a future relationship when a physician ends the process in the right way.”

A physician will get out of the job search process what they put into it, he adds. “The more time you can spend with your recruiter evaluating each opportunity, the better you’ll be able to find the best opportunities to pursue.”

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