Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Churn of the Job Market

If you have been searching for a job in a big city while living there you know this fact of life: People are changing jobs, switching alliances and affiliations. There is the attending that had moved from one large medical center A to the B and now is moving back from B to A. Then a colleague gives up OB and has to leave hospital's C physician group, since they only want people who do Ob AND Gyn, she is now employed by hospital D. Others produce too little and have to leave, others have conflicts with the style of a practice or with one of the personalities in a group practice, others finally have the finances and the space to open their own practice, others want to go back to teaching. Some are recruited by neighboring hospitals (4 attempts in the last 3 years to hire me away). Some die or suddenly discover that they have e.g. leukemia. These are all personal experiences.

Be it in the city or on the countryside, there is a lot of change. Yes, some physicians stay where they are for 30 plus years. True, but there is a large number of physicians who change jobs.

The author of "What color is your parachute?", an excellent book on job search and career change, calls this the "Churn". He smartly mentions this as something that should give you HOPE. The job market does not consist of the publicly known "open positions", which may seem scarily small in number, it is much, much larger. This constant change, which has been estimated as 7-8% of all jobs means there is always opportunity, always. It also means that the opportunities are much larger in number than what a peek into the usual professional magazines show you.

I personally was very surprised by the amount of job switching that was going on in Boston when I was looking for a position and starting to feel helpless for not being able to get "into the loop". There just was no way of predicting who would suddenly have an opening and almost as soon as I heard about it, it was gone, taken by someone else.

Who gets these jobs that open as part of the Churn? People who are nearby. A personal friend or a colleague in the same specialty working nearby that talks regularly and privately to the physician who is switching is a classic candidate to take the job.

I just could not be "the friend" or "close acquaintance" to all my colleagues in the, let's say, Boston area. Nor could I have my ears everywhere. And probably you could not either, in your area. Usually I heard about these changes AFTER they had happened. And I said to myself "Wow, I wish I had known", or "I wish Somebody had told me about it" or "I wish I had asked there".

There is something that you can do. You can send your cover letter and CV to all the doctors in your desired area. It does not matter if they are looking or not, if they are planning to change jobs or not. Those colleagues who are not interested in your CV will throw it out, but a few will read and give you a call. And suddenly, you are "IN". Your CV landed on the desk of the doctor that is just about to sign the contract with other group or on the desk of the managing partner who just found out that a member of his group is leaving. And once you have their attention and no or very little competition, you usually have the job - unless you really mess up the interview.

Direct mail is the solution to that feeling of being helpless and having to watch other people in your desired area switch jobs constantly and watch them getting the jobs you would have wanted. All of the sudden, you have a handle on an area. You know you will get in, if not today, then in one or two or three months. Even if nothing is advertised in magazines or on Internet job boards.

And forget the recruiters, they are only called if all else fails. Who wants to pay 20,000 if the job will fill for free? They are the last to know about all those jobs that change hands under the radar, they are the last to know about the hidden job market. Notice they never talk about it? Actually, they know very well about it, and they talk about it on their seminars and congresses. But that knowledge is only for THEM, not for you. They are trying very hard to uncover that hidden market, but the success is extremely limited by the hihg price they demand for their servcies. Recruiters will not tell you what they do to get the jobs and candidates. That knowledge is for "recruiter eyes only", or so they would like. But here it is: Cold calling, cold faxing and direct mail.
Recruiters do not have access to the hidden job market. They may know about it, but there is no access for them. They may know which Mega-Group or HMO is hiring, but not the nice, attractive, in-town jobs that are filled quietly and far from public advertisements.
Forget recruiters. Recruiters have no function for candidates. It is a waste of time for a candidate to approach a recruiter or to answer a recruiter. Recruiters get paid by employers to fill the less desirable jobs. You do not need them. Period.

Direct mail is it. Do it yourself - following my advice in previous posts - or click over to TheDoctorJob.com. They will do it for you for a very reasonable price and will make it easy and less time consuming.

Your Matthias Muenzer

1 comment:

Mona said...

I've booked mark your blog to refer to each time I feel desperate enough to call another recruiter. I've had nothing but disappointment with recruiters including hospital recruiters. The regular recruiters have been absolutely useless but the one hospital recruiter I worked with was absolutely clueless. She set up interviews with not one but 2 jobs that apparently had decided at the last minute (i.e after interviewing me) that they were no longer hiring for the positions (atleast not for the time being). I've wasted 6 months searching for jobs using recruiters.
Fortunately, I've finally gotten in contact with The Doctor Job and signup for direct mailing. I hope this will work out for me.