Friday, July 6, 2007

Letter to a recruiter - Why I am disappointed

Here is a letter that I wrote to a recruiter with whom I had worked in the past. He came across my blog and was very upset. We exchanged a few emails. Here is the last of them that summarizes what I think about recruiters and why I promote other ways of finding job for physicians.

Beginning of letter:

You are right, I may have generalized my personal experience to "all recruiters". Nevertheless, I have been searching for jobs since 1999, in excess of 7 years. I therefore have been in touch with recruiters for about 7 years. I have spoken on the phone to dozens, maybe a hundred recruiters, seen countless recruiter websites, aggregator websites that publish ads from multiple recruiters, and read innumerable newspaper and magazine ads. I may not be the "national expert", but I think I am most certainly knowledgeable enough to voice an opinion. I am definitely more knowledgeable than your one time job seeker.
In case you were wondering, I have been searching for that long due to quirky personal circumstances that have nothing to do with my training, my performance at work or with any kind of legal issue. It's just personal.

I have stopped job searching in March 2007 and at the same time started a blog about my experiences with my search, because other physicians need to know what I experienced. Other physicians should not have to go through the same thing.

The fact that made me search for so long is in part due to insisting on very select locations, such as inside Boston and inside Miami. Due to this the same sequence of events kept repeating over and over and over and over and over again: Recruiter: "Contact us, we have lots of great jobs" Me: "Well, do you have something in Miami?" Recruiter:"No, but ...30-50 miles away". And after the hundredth or so phone call and email that goes exactly the same way, you start to get frustrated, then you get aggravated and then you get cynical. I did become cynical when I read "great jobs everywhere, the best jobs, the best practices" etc etc.

For me, the preferred place to work is in a large city. Since it is my preferred place, I call it the "best place" and the jobs in the large cities the "best jobs". That may not be everyone's opinion. But, like it or not, the majority of physicians prefer larger cities. And therefore, the jobs in large cities are filled without any help. Job is large cities are filled because physicians network their way to those jobs.

My mistake was that I mainly searched passively and not actively, meaning I kept on looking at print ads, internet ads, recruiter emails etc.
Since I could not find a job that I liked, I even started to believe that good jobs (good according to my definition, meaning in large cities that are attractive to live in) were just not available to me, that somehow I could not get them! That was painful and made me feel helpless.
My beef with recruiters is actually that they do not have jobs inside cities such as Boston and Miami (you are literally the exception that confirms the rule) and that nobody, but really nobody told me that recruiters are just unlikely to get them. I would have been ok if recruiters told me "Hey if you are looking inside Boston and Miami, you have to approach your search differently! Do this or that and you will find a job". Only one recruiter ever told me, and it was an older, seasoned recruiter. And he added before telling med: "I believe that I will be rewarded for this some day somehow".

It is my firm opinion that recruiters should tell physicians about their limitations, about the areas where they either do not find jobs or are very unlikely to find jobs. It would dramatically cut down on criticism. Disclose your limitations and drawbacks. Even home sellers have to disclose what is wrong with the home they are selling.
Now I know that recruiters do not get the desirable jobs in the big cities. Now I simply do not ask anymore. But now I know how to find jobs in highly desirable locations myself without any outside help. I am not helpless anymore.

After a while I started asking the recruiters head on: Why do you not have jobs in Miami? One of the answer was: "we usually get positions in areas where there are more jobs than applicants. In Miami there are more applicants than jobs and therefore we tend not to get them".
That is the kind of answer I had hoped to get several years ago.

But recruiters all act as if there "simply are no jobs", the term is "that area is oversaturated". What they convey between the lines is "If I don't get jobs there, then there simply are no jobs there". I sometimes think they even believe that nonsense themselves.

And then of course there is that other cute sales answer that I received 6 or 7 times: "I will call my clients in Miami and see what I can do" - meaning he or she actually has "clients" in Miami, meaning he or she is in regular contact, has good business connections to them etc. Sounds impressive at first. But the being impressed faded away, when, not surprisingly, I never ever heard back from any of those people.

So, I think I write from experience. I know that recruiters are human, I know that there are a lot of good people among them. I mentioned that I like the two owners of Medicus Partners that write the blog "Dochunterdiaries". I like their blog, I like their opinions, I like what speaks through the blog, I like what I perceive as the people behind the blog. They are great guys and I agree with most of what they write. But there are also a lot of people that just sell. And nobody, not the good ones and especially not the bad ones tell you how to find a job in the desirable cities.

And, no matter what, for recruiters it is exceedingly hard to overcome the 20K handicap. And, of course, you get called to fill the positions that are difficult to fill for many reasons.


End of letter

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