Thursday, March 29, 2007

MomMD makes a bad recommendation

Mom MD has an article on their webiste:

"Physician recruiters - making career transition a snap". This article desperately needs a comment. It presents the typical recruiter sales pitch: If you want to switch careers, call a recruiter. He or she will be your exclusive search agent, will go out there, find and review offers for you and present the best ones to you, saving you time and effort - and it's free.

This statement could not be more wrong and could not be more dangerously misleading!

Based on my personal experience as a physician both looking for a job and looking to hire a new associate I very strongly recommend using recruiters only as a last resort or, even better, not using them at all.

Too few jobs are accessible through recruiters:
85-90% of practices decline to work with recruiters, according to a telephone survey of 1000 practices. Even the most optimistic estimates done by recruitment firms calculate that only 1/3 of jobs are filled through recruiters! By starting your job search or career transition with a recruiter, you limit yourself to about 20% of available jobs.

Recruiters repeatedly have told me that they do not get jobs in areas with “more applicants than jobs", which applies pretty much to every desirable area in the US. "The function of recruiters in the physician marketplace is to fill the less desirable positions".
By starting your job search with recruiters you limit yourself to the less desirable jobs.

Employers usually try to fill jobs through word of month, then, months later, through advertising in print media and with direct-by-employer ads on the Internet. Only if that fails, will the usual employer resort to calling a recruiter. By this time, months to a year have passed already since the position became available.
By starting your job search with a recruiter, you limit yourself to the jobs that have been available for quite a while. A few people have looked at the job. A great job would have been gone by that time. You limit yourself to the leftovers.

The $ 18-20,000 to pay a recruiter for finding the candidate have to come from somewhere. In fact, this amount is usually budgeted as expense or overhead and is attributed to the incoming physician. It will most likely impact her or his salary, in a more or less silent way. And don't believe anybody who tries to tell you otherwise. By starting your job search with recruiters, you likely get a job that pays less.

By starting your job search with a recruiter, you place yourself at a severe disadvantage.

It would be even worse if you actually limited yourself even further and selected one single recruiter as your "search agent"! Recruiters do not all belong to the same network and they do not all share their job opportunities. Now you have limited yourself to a fraction of the less desirable jobs, to the leftovers and to the less well paying jobs.

And recruiters do not "network for you", no matter what they advertise - there is no such thing. All they do is type your short profile into a general recruiter database and check if there is another recruiter job in that database that might loosely fit. That is what they call "networking".

So, why on earth would a good, reliable, well meaning website such as MomMD publish such nonsense?

Most likely this is the result of a lack of knowledge. Writers, publishers, journalists fell prey to recruiter marketing. Jouirnalists mean well and try to inform. When researching a topic, they turn to sources that are available and approachable. We physicians usually are neither readily available nor interested in talking or writing on the subject of "career change" or "job search". Recruiters are very available. They want to get their sales pitch out there, as often as possible. They welcome journalists, they court them, they look for them, they aggressively go after any kind of PR. After all, they live off it.

And so it is not surprising that recruiter Marsh pretty much reads off the recruiter “press kit”. And recruiter Marsh actually pitches the dream of any recruiter. Following her "recommendations" would literally guarantee her the commission. While this serves her wallet well, it severely handicaps and delays the jobs search for the candidate. It will make the career transition everything but a snap. This recommendation helps ONLY the recruiter. Sadly, this is what naive and uninformed journalists print all to often.

It is time to correct this recruiter sales pitch ad to reveal what is really behind it. This nonsense has the same relevance for your job search as one of those "get rich quick" infomercials that air at 04.00 AM.

Please MomMD, save your readers the disappointments and the frustration that are guaranteed to result from following recruiter Marsh's "recommendation". Please make their career transition truly a snap by following my active search recommendations. They were earned in time and are based on experience and objective research. Unlike the recruiter infomercial, they do work. You can do it yourself, or you can have a company such as "" do it for you.

The best, most powerful and most successful way of finding a job

Decide where you want to work and live.

Buy a list of all addresses, phone number and fax number of the physicians in your specialty in that area. You can do this online by going to, to WebMD or to MMS (the marketing arm of the AMA) at You can drill down very accurately to the selection of physicians you need. Go on and try it. It typically costs 75 cents for an address with telephone and fax number.

Have your CV and cover letter written or at least reviewed by a professional writer, e.g. (NOT by a recruiter, even if they claim to see many CVs a day). This will cost another $200-300.

Mail-merge your cover letter with the address list to create personalized letters.

Mail your cover letter and CV to all doctors in your target area.

You may also fax your cover letter and CV (or maybe just your cover letter) to all physicians in your target area. Do this using, a fax broadcast system that allows you to Mail-Merge your letter with your list of addresses with the same ease as Word. You can literally fax your letter to hundreds of physicians with a single click. This costs about 6-10 cents per fax. Please consider the laws about unsolicited faxes - you are doing this at your own risk.

The response rate will be 1-2%, sometimes even up to 4%. This means that if you mail or fax 1000 letters, you will receive about 10-20 responses. The more physicians you contact, the more interviews you will get.

This is the least expensive and most effective, most successful way to find a job - and you can find it exactly where you want it. Obviously, you may repeat this after a few months if it does not work the first time.

And use "passive" search methods in addition, to comliment your active search, so that you do not miss anything.

“Passive” means you do not actively approach potential employers, but you look on websites and in journals for offers. Here are the best places to search for job postings on the Internet and in journals. They are the best because they have a large number of offers and a high number of direct-by-employer offers: This website used to be the "ACOG job website" referred to until 2005. It has a large number of direct-from-the-employer ads. The Jobs are listed in a convenient way: alphabetically by state and location.

At you will find jobs advertised by hospitals and health care systems. Very often these are good jobs in practices and offices. Answering these ads will put you in touch with "in-house recruiters" that will pass on your CV and information to the employers / private practices., the new website that ACOG links to. It has a good number of direct-from-employer ads. You can access it directly on the web or through the ACOG website.
Besides these two there are several thousand (!) other websites that mostly cater to recruiters, some of whom even proclaim to be "specialize" in ObGyn, but they rarely are useful. All-purpose websites such as or are utterly useless.  

Look in widely distributed print publications (throw away journals) such as in
Contemporary Ob/Gyn,
Ob/Gyn Management or,
Ob GynNews or
The green journal also has good ads, but they are a bit expensive for private practices.
c. Check the websites sites of large hospital chains such as Humana, Tenet Health, Columbia, UHS, HCA (Hospital Corporation of America). Go to their website, e.g. Tenet, click on “Career center”, then on “For Physicians”. Fill out the inquiry form, and you will receive answers. You will also find contact information to as many individual hospitals as you want – choose your area. HCA, another large hospital company, owns hundreds of hospitals. They do their own recruiting (in-house recruiters) and/or help their affiliated physicians and groups to hire doctors.

d. Create a Google Alert to help you in your search. An alert is a search that is run automatically for you every day or every week etc. You can for example search for "physician opportunity ObGyn San Diego" and "ObGyn job San Diego" Physician need ObGyn San Diego" etc. You can create as many alerts as you want, then track them over a few days and weeks. Delete the ones that do not yield results, keep the ones that work. Every day you will find the results of these searches in your Gmail inbox. this way I found several excellent hints and tips.

Please spread the knowledge about these truly effective job search methods, so that fewer of our colleagues end up as victims of the recruiter marketing nonsense.

Your Matthias Muenzer, MD

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