Monday, May 14, 2007

More recruiter comments

CEO, Physician Recruitment and Retention said...

For all of you that read this, get ready as a candidate to pay thousands to the "new" search firm called Actually, the job sourcing they do was invented by and is utilized by EVERY firm that is out there, except that you do not have to pay for it with recruiting firms. Just ask any recruiter out there.

Also, just as he states, watch who you listen to and talk to...having placed thousands of physicians myself and with my colleagues I must admit, even physicians can be wrong.

Lastly most of recruiters are there to serve the following purpose: Do the work you do not have the time to, and do the work as your representative. If Dr. Muenzer is the expert on all recruiters, then I guess he has not talked to very many. The world is full enough of know it alls, and not enough of those that will do all it takes.

Dear CEO Physician Recruitment and Retention,

I am glad to hear a comment to my blog from an actual recruiter.

You are completely correct. The method of sending a professionally prepared CV and cover letter directly to all physicians in your area of interest is old. I started doing it 23 years ago back in Germany. It is being used by recruiters as one of many sourcing techniques, such as direct mail, mass mailing, mass faxing, mass emailing.
That of course raises the question: If you use it successfully why do you never mention it to your customers? Too good for them? Could it be that you are upset that someone is giving out the "secret recipe"?
The method of sending letters to potential employers is probably as old as letter writing itself. To claim it as an "invention" of recruiters seems just a bit short sighted. It reminds me of Al Gore inventing the internet.

I also agree that recruiters provide a service for physicians that do not want to do the recruiting themselves. That nevertheless requires a comment.
Recruiters help employers fill a position. Recruiters usually are called when positions cannot be filled easily through word of mouth or simple print advertising. Recruiters usually do not help physicians search for jobs. They may run a search in their databases to see if a job fits the requirement of a candidate. But recruiters are not hired and compensated by the job searching candidate. Therefore, they do not truly work for the candidate. They do not go out and do mailing specifically for that candidate. They do not help the candidate improve the CV or cover letter. Recruiters recruit for an employer. Otherwise they would be "search agents". Search agents do exist, but are not very popular.

This differentiation between working for an employer or for the candidate might sound like splitting hairs. Nevertheless it is a very important difference: "Whoever pays calls the shots".

I usually teach my residents that they can search actively or passively. With an active search they are in control. Active search includes networking methods such as calling every conceivable contact and talking to every person that is willing to listen to get in touch with a potential employer. Active search means: mailing out your CV and cover letter, faxing it or emailing it to potential employers. Click here to read more details.

Passive search means reacting, reading, listening. This includes reading advertisements, job postings, visiting websites, looking on the internet and also leaving your search in the hands of a recruiter. Once you do this, you are passive, you are responding, reacting, not acting and therefore you loose control and power.

You have to take what you are offered! You do not go out there and get it yourself.
Let me repeat that: You are limited to what is offered to you, you do not go out there and get exactly what you want. You do not create or uncover your own opportunities.

Recruiters love to claim that they "search for candidates". Recruiters usually only search recruiter databases. They search in a database of positions where employers have agreed to pay 20 K to have that position filled. This alone shows that they are not acting in the interest of the candidate. As a candidate I would never dream of approaching an employer with the condition that 20K has to be paid to a third party. That would be completely ridiculous. Imagine me applying to a Harvard hospital stating that hiring me required a payment of 20K. They would refer me to a psych clinic or to their social worker on call. You understand the point?

Mailings cost money. Nobody understand that better than a recruiter. For $1000-1500 I can do a mass mailing myself, for $1500-2500 I can have do it. If I have do it, I am still in command, I still search actively, since they just do the mailing for me. They do not search for me, they just write or improve the CV and cover letter and they have the list of doctors in my target area.
I determine where I search, I call the shots, and consequently, I pay.

And for a whopping $20,000 you can have a recruiter "do the search". Yes, I agree, the physician candidate "does not have to pay it". Formally it does not come out of the candidates pocket. Formally...but the candidate usually ends up paying it anyway. He pays by lowering his chances of getting the job - since he may be competing with candidates that do not come with a recruiter, he may pay by receiving less benefits, maybe even a lower salary. I have commented on that in a previous post. Recruiters do not want candidates to know that. An empployer once said: Sorry I cannot pay you more the first year, since I have to pay the recruiter. After I mentioned this to the recruiter, he answered: "she was not supposed to say that according to the contract". Literal quote!

Recruiters seem so intensly immersed in their recruiter world that they actually seem to believe this "at no cost to you" thing.

The big, huge, overwhelming cost to pay for a recruiter, is that recruiters do not get into the desirable areas. Wherever there are more candidates than jobs, jobs are filled without recruiters. And I have this quote from a recruiter, from one of hundreds I have spoken to. You know it, we both know it: recruiters get paid to fill the less desirable jobs. Period.

And who wants the less desirable jobs?

That is the true price you pay for using a recruiter: you get a less desirable job.

So, you have a choice: Search actively by networking and mass mailing (DIY or or search passively (e.g by answering recruiter calls) and accept a lesser job.

And, as the last point, I have been in touch with many, maybe too many recruiters by phone and email, nice ones and rushed ones, eager to sell recruiters and more relaxed ones, younger and older ones. In house recruiters, retained and commission driven ones. I think I have seen enough in the 6 or 7 years I have been in touch with them to be able to judge.

Maybe I am not a know-it-all, but when it comes to recruiters I definitely am a know-enough. I might even say I have had enough too.

Your Matthias Muenzer, MD


Dan Schawbel said...

Interesting post. There should be incentives for recruiters to get you into the better positions!

Dan Schawbel
Personal Branding Spokesman

ObGynThoughts said...

Hi, Dan
that would simply be too combersome. The bottomline is that physicians do not need recruiters at all. The medical job market is different from other areas. Physicians know where potential employers are and how they can reach them. Doctors are listed in phonebooks and in every address list conceivable. Doctors are very easy to find. All you have to do is buy a list and mail everybody a letter.
Physicians do not need recruiters, employers need them. Especially those employers with less desirable jobs that are hard to fill. You think the owner of a practice on the Boston harbor with waterview needs a recruiter? Do you think Harvard hospitals need recruiters?
Who needs recruiters are employers and hospitals in Podunk, in Desert Gulch and in Miningtown, WV. No insult intended. If you read recruiter ads, most begin with "only an hour drive to", "Easy access to", "A short drive to three metropolitan areas" and so on. This being marketing language, those jobs are just too far away for the general taste. And those are the employers that end up calling recruiters.
I am going so far as to say that if an employer needs a recruiter, then there is something wrong with the job.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Muenzner,

Excellent post.

Great rebuttal...

Keep it up and educate all of us new residents. I recently resigned as a hospitalist after I realized that my work ethics were different than their business ethics. I wanted to serve patients and they wanted to serve their bank accounts.

I think big HMOs, Big corporations in Medicine are curse to US medicine and innocent US population who do not know a thing about how they're being looted by all these big corps and pharmaceutical companies.

Your blog is eye opener.

I hope more and more people read it and be educated.

Caring Doc

ObGynThoughts said...

Dear Caring Doc!
Thank you so much for your comment! Please browse through the blog and make sure to read the posts on how to find a job. It is very easy and you can find three times more jobs than any recruiter can! Just by yourself! Please tell others about this blog, by mentioning it in personal conversations and in posts on other websites

Adam said...

I'd also like to point out that our fees are usually $2,000-$4,000, we guarantee that the client will find a job (not INTERVIEWS, but an actual job), and most of our clients end up making $10,000-$15,000 above market salary because the groups that hire our clients don't have to pay recruiters' fees.

Physician Jobs said...

I assume that recruiter's life became much harder on today's market.
Adam, you're saying that a doctor pays you 2-4K to find a job?