When you search for a position as a physician you literally cannot avoid recruiter advertising. They will be in your face no matter where you look, in journals, in magazines and especially on the Internet. It is helpful to be very clear about the exact function of a physician recruiter.
Recruiters are hired by an employer that is ready to pay 20,000 commission to have a position filled. Usually that means the position is not that easy to fill. The location might not be desirable, the pay may not be that great, the working environment might leave a bit to be desired, or the need might be very urgent. Good positions are easy to fill without paying someone 20K to go out there and search for months. The function of physician recruiters is to fill the less desirable jobs.
Recruiters are hired by an employer and they are the agents of that employer. The employer pays and therefore the employer calls the shots.
This also means that the recruiter is NOT working for you, the searching candidate. You are not paying for the recruiter. You do not employ or hire the recruiter. You do not call the shots. When you contact a recruiter, you are dealing with someone who is looking to fill a position in order to get paid, not to help YOU FIND a position. You are NOT dealing with someone whose job it is to help YOU, the candidate. A recruiter is NOT YOUR AGENT.
The recruiter is pursuing YOU, he is a "headhunter or "dochunter". You are the hunted. You are not the hunter! You are not in charge. Do not expect a recruiter to behave or function as a "candidate search agent", "search advisor", a "career advisor", a "career consultant". They do NOT get paid for any of that, so why should they do it? Even the most idealistic individual slows down over time when he or she does not get paid. Only the communists believed that humans work out of idealism, and that is why the red empire crumbled and disappeared.
If you have any doubts where the focus of the activity of a recruiter is, go to the very good blog "dochunter.com". Two experienced recruiters Jim Stone and Bob Collins write in good style, have excellent thoughts and I agree with most of what they are saying. When you read their blog you realize that it is about their relationship with their employers - the hospitals and large practices, their issues with filling positions, the difficulties in filling the jobs that are not so fabulous, the attitude problems of the people who hire them and so on and on. Take a look at the blog, it is worth reading. It is all about how to fill that position! It is NEVER about how YOU, the candidate can get WHAT YOU WANT. They might even "persuasively" work with you to make your recognize that what you want is not what you really "need" - I wrote about that quite nervy statement in a previous post. They do not so much care about what you want, they are just make a living getting the employer what the employer wants. What you want does not get them paid! What you want does not put food on their table!
Dear candidate, as soon as YOU hire and PAY a search agent, you can trust him or her to work in YOUR interest. Until then, the plain truth is that recruiters are on the payroll of an employer and that they represent the interest of an employer.
If you really think that a recruiter is "free for you", you believe in the proverbial "free lunch", or in Santa Claus or in the Easter Bunny for that matter!
I am not opposed to recruiters at all. They have the valuable function to fill positions for employers that could not otherwise be filled. I am just opposed to their very misleading marketing that tries to make you, the candidate, believe that they are "your search agents". They even offer to "customize a search for you". And all that "for free". Please!!!
To begin your search by contacting recruiters (plural) limits your choices right from the start down to 10% of all available positions. Networking and direct mail will get you access to 100%. And if you are naive enough to believe that one single recruiter will be your "search agent", then you just racheted your choices down to a extremely poor 5%.
What upsets me the most is that too many graduating residents are not aware of these figures. Too many graduating physicians still believe that using recruiters is an "OK" way to search for a job, that it is a mainstream way to find a job. There is an incredibly crass lack of knowledge and understanding about how the the physician job market works. The employers certainly know how to find candidates, they all know about recruiters and when to hire them. That is not the issue. The problem is that too many candidates, too many residents do not know about the best or even the right way to find jobs! They know something about networking, a bit about where to look for ads, but they do not know enough about ACTIVE search by contacting hosptial and by using direct mail and fax and where to get he addresses of physicains on the Internet for direct mail.
That is why I am writing this blog, that is why I have a website and that is why I support "thedoctorjob.com" - a fabulous service that helps doctors find jobs where they want. If you are looking for a job, skip the recruiters, and go straight to my blog, my website and to "thedoctorjob.com".
Your Matthias Muenzer, MD