Monday, April 9, 2007

Trying to sneak in under the radar - recruiter marketing

Physician recruiters advertise in the medical literature, in journals and on websites in a way that sneaks up on you. You often do not know that you are dealing with a recruiter promoting his services until it is too late. All too often you read the material resented to you by recruiters with more trust than you should.

An old example from my resident days was the "Best friends manual to finding a job". Very nicely and most effectively titled booklet. It impressed me since I like the "best friend" part. I believe good education in general should be presented the way a best friend woudl explain things to you.
This booklet was handed out (for free obviously) by Weatherbee, when they still were recruiting for permament positions.

The insidious and dangerous message pervasive in recruiter advertising is the following:

When you want to find a job, start be networking, ask your attendings, your friends etcetc.
Polish you CV, make sure it does not have typos
And then of course you want to answer those recruiter calls, because recruiters have sooo many resources, so many contacts, so many jobs and....
best of all it is all for free for you!!!

This message is exceedingly dangerous and misleading for several reasons:
They act as if they are giving advice by mentioning "networking". Recruiters realize that this is the common way of finding a job and they want to appear "mainstream" to gain your trust, so that they can place their true message.

Recommendations about "polishing your CV" are usually brief and not too useful, since recruiters do not make money by helping you, only by placing you. They mention the CV and cover letter because you are an easier sell if you look good on paper. Recruiters hardly ever mention resume writing services, they occasionally say "show you CV to a recruiter since we see many CVs each day". Strangely I have never ever received a single useful comment of a recruiter about my CV. They just wanted me to submit it - because then they can sell me. The CV is their chip, their "proof" that you wish to use their services. That is their most significant interest. They pretty much do not care about the quality of the CV, unless it is devastatingly poor.

Note that recruiters rarely mention actual networking techniques, even though they are masters of networking. They live by networking, but they are not too keen in sharing "networking techniques", since it may interfere with their business. Check to see how many recruiter websites and publications talk about how to find telephone numbers and addresses of physician employers, how to engage someone in conversation, how to give a winning short presentation of yourself on the phone, how to cold call practices asking for a job - even though they themselves do it several hours every single day.

The most dangerous issue is the omission of other successful techinques to find a job, meaning using Internet marketing databases such as InfoUSA, WebMD and others to buy inexpensive physician address lists and mail everybody your cover letter and CV. This way you gain access to 100% of job openings, including the "hidden job market" and go far, far beyond the abilities of any recruiter. And that is why they are silent about this most successful techinque. They fear -and rightfully so - the impact on their income.

The next dangerous message, and their main message, is to make you believe that the after "networking" you should contact a recruiter. And once they are at that point, then all of the sudden the information really flows and becomes colorful and detailed. They talk about what to talk to the recruiter about, what to emphasize, what not to forget, they remind you to be respectful and answer all those calls, they might mention that you should limit yourself to one or at least a few recruiters, how a good relationship is important etc etc bla bla bla.

Anytime you see that kind of message, anytime you get the feeling that this is the pattern, you are dealing with a recruiter.

My recent encounter of that kind was reading the website of "NetPro" the "med/peds" job website. Another example of trying to get in below the radar. The website is very careful about not emphasizing that it is a recruiter website. The site comes across as an "information" website.

My recommendation:

Recruiters have the left-over jobs, since employers have to pay them 20K. Employers try numerous other things to fill jobs before they call a recruiter.

Recruiters have only access to the bottom 10% of the job market, you are interested in the top 20%.

Recruiters earn a living by selling, not by helping. They are salespeople, not advisors, not helpers, not counselors. You do not ask a telemarketer for help in choosing a product, you do not ask a car dealer for advice on which brand to choose, because you already know the answer. You do not ask a recruiter for help or advice, because you alrady know the answer: "Take one of my jobs, they are the best".

I believe recruiters operate on the edge of ethical, since they never tell you about other ways to find what the job you want. If they do not ahve the kind of job you want, they will try to convince you that what they have is better than what you had in mind. They will try to distract you with other offers, they just try to sell you what they have. They do not get paid by helping you, they only, only get paid by selling you.

Always remember: the function of physician recruiters is to fill the less desirable jobs!

If a recruiter calls you, answer politely, but firm: "Please take my name off your list and please place my name on your companies do-not-call list. Thank you, have good day".

That is the best way of answering a recruiter call. It saves you a tremendous amount of time, time which you can use to get the job YOU want. You can do that very effectively and efficiently by networking, by direct mail or by contacting "", a company that does the direct mailing for you. And of course by reading the other posts on my blog

Your Matthias Muenzer, MD


Adam said...

Once again, excellent points, Dr. Muenzer. I'd like to see a recruiter come challenge your assertions, but none of them apparently will.

ObGynThoughts said...

Hi, Adam,
I believe I will not hear anything from any recruiter. Why bother? They are busy selling....
Your Matthias Muenzer, MD