Sunday, March 11, 2007

Who needs a physician recruiter?

Definitely not you!

Residents about to graduate and looking for a job are inundated by recruiter emails and phone calls.
Since physicians see their job search as a temporary "pain in the neck" they do not know much about it, and this lack of knowledge is abundantly taken advantage of by physician recruiters.
Out of 100 available jobs out there 100, or the full amount, are accessible to personal networking (you knew that) as well as to direct mail (you most likely did not know that!), about 30 are posted in journals and magazines and about 10-15 are available to recruiters. Yet, since a recruiter's income depends on it, they peddle their jobs and "services" like nobody else. Judging by the noise they make on the internet you might be mislead into believing that recruiters have a meaningful place in your job search. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Before returning a recruiter call, know this:

A. They charge around $20,000 (actually an average of 18,000).
B. They get paid when and only when you sign the contract with the new employer (this applies to contingency recruiters, the most commonly encountered type).

These two facts are at the root of all shortcomings of physician recruiters. These shortcomings do not change, they are inevitable, invariable, no matter how nice and "professional" they may appear on the phone:

Since they are expensive, 80-90% of practices refuse to work with recruiters (result of a phone survey of private practices. Working with a recruiter, you lower your chances by 80-90%.
Good practices in desirable locations will not work with recruiters, since they can get candidates without paying a fee. Do you think a practice in Boston with an office with harbor view needs a recruiter? Can you guess why so many recruiter jobs are not "in" but "near" or at "one hour drive to" the city you would like to work and live?
Recruiters usually do not get the jobs that are "in", they get the jobs that are "outside".
Since they are expensive, practice owners will recoup the money spent on a recruiter by deducting it (usually silently) from your first year income. Recruiters definitely will not tell you about this, since it would be bad for business and they try to keep up the myth that their services are "at no cost to you" (meaning the candidate). One recruiter even told me that it was part of the contract that the employer should not mention this to the candidate.

Since they only get paid when you sign on the dotted line, they tend to sell you to the practice and the practice to you, without regard of a "match".

Always remember what a former recruiter told me:
"The function of the Physician Recruiter in the job market is to fill the less desirable jobs"
This is a very polite statement, I would have worded it differently.

Before answering that recruiter call ask yourself: "Do I really want a less desirable job?"

There are infinitely more effective ways of finding a job. These ways are discussed in my blog.

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