Saturday, September 8, 2007

Physician Recruiters Love Direct Mail, But Will Never Recommend It To You

Recruiters are hired by an employer and they are the agents of that employer. The recruiter is NOT working for you, the searching candidate, simply because you are not paying for the recruiter. 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. Recruiters are called recruiters because they recruit. The recruiter is pursuing YOU, he is a "headhunter or "doctor-hunter" or "doc-hunter". Rumor has it that in a far far away and remote corner of the web there even a recruiter website called "".

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?

Nevertheless, sometimes recruiters work in the job seekers interest, when it happens to coincide with their goal of filling a position. Such a match or coincidence is possible. Recruiters will support you, the job seeker, as long as it is in their main interest. Their main interest is closing the deal.

Let's assume for a moment that a recruiter is really, truly on your side, on the job seekers side. In that case, your recruiter would tell you how to find a job independent of his listed jobs, he would tell you, teach you, instruct you how to network, in that case the recruiter would point you to the most informative and most helpful websites for job seekers, the best job boards with the most job postings, the journals with the best ads. A recruiter that was truly on your side, on the job seekers side would advise you to call hospitals and their physician liaison departments (yes, some actually do that!), and finally he certainly would advise you to mail a letter to every physician in your specialty in the area where you want to work (NO recruiter will do that).

A recruiter that is on your side would give you pretty much the advice I am giving in my blog. Right? Take a close look at it. I have summarized most of my tips and tricks on the blog "A Physician on Job Search". My blog is not a "logging of current events", no, it is a publication of experience and recommendations. Please look at them and compare that with your typical recruiter information.

Reality check:
Now, compare what information recruiters offer you with what I am offering on my blog. Recruiters offer you tremendously helpful tips such as "how to answer a recruiter call", "how to get along with your recruiter", "what information to have ready when a recruiter calls" "why the countryside is worth taking a look at", "Disadvantages of city jobs" (we know where that comes from) and they of course help you with truly grave decisions such as "should I contact one or more than one recruiter during my job search?". You get the picture!
Oh, sorry, yes, they may give you a few hints about how to improve your CV and how to behave during the interview, after all, that makes you more marketable....

Too many graduating residents are not aware of these rules. Too many graduating physicians still believe that using recruiters is a mainstream way to find a job. Too many graduating physicians are not aware that they do not need recruiters at all. It is the employers who needs recruiters, not the job seekers. Employers need to fill positions.

Recruiters need physicians, "candidates". On their blogs they muse about the ideal candidate - someone who is happily employed and doing a great job, and not even thinking about switching jobs. They have names for good candidates, they call them "MPC" - most placeable candidates. They think about the tip of the iceberg - the candidates that are actively seeking and think there must be a large number of candidates below the surface, just like the iceberg has most of its mass below the surface. Recruiters look for ways to find those candidates, to tap that untapped mass of candidates...If they just could find a great approach to all those hidden candidates!

This is of absolutely no concern whatsoever to a job seeker. Job Seekers need jobs. They do not care about the hidden iceberg of silent candidates. They are the candidates.
Job seekers assume correctly that advertised jobs, and especially jobs coming through recruiters, are only the tip of the iceberg. The larger number of jobs is hidden under the surface, often never advertised. Jobs constantly change hands in big cities and only the insiders know about it. This is called the "churn of the job market", the hidden constant movement. Physicians change jobs all the time, from one hospital to the next, sometimes within one community, sometimes they switch to the neighboring hospital or health care system. These jobs are not posted, they are talked about over coffee, over lunch, in the locker room, on local CMEs, on informal department meetings, on the golf course and so on.

Recruiters hardly ever have access to the hidden job market - and here I am just trying not to be too radical by saying "no access at all". The churn of the job market is like the "gray" or the "black market" - a semi-underground affair.

Yet, you the job seeker can easily break into that hidden job market! Not just by networking, but even more easily by direct mail. Job seekers can find easy access to this hidden job market by sending their cover letter and CV to every physician in their area of interest. I have frequently described how in the smallest detail. Please go to my blog "A Physician on Job Search" and check the posts "Active Job Search" among others. You can also have others do the leg work for you by going to "". This company will optimize your cover letter and CV, merge the cover letter with a list of doctors in your area of interest, send you all the letters. You sign them, put them in envelopes and stick a stamp on the envelopes.
It works.

And because this method is a threat to recruiters, they will never recommend it. It makes you, the job seekers completely independent, self-sufficient. You do not need anybody's help and yet, you can reach every single doctor in your area of interest.
Recruiters are extremely familiar with direct mail, they use it. They appreciate it, they love it. The NAPR routinely send out massive amounts of mail to all physicians looking for positions and for candidates. Yet, you, the lowly job seeker will never hear about this from any recruiter.

Direct mail is the most basic thing. I want a job. I send a cover letter and CV to a doctor who might have a job. Repeat a thousand times. It is so simple.

Direct mail is the job seekers ticket into the hidden job market! You have to know about it if you want to find the best possible job for you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boy, you have the industry pegged! It is funny, I have been a "Physician Recruiter" for over 15years and started to work for myself at home because I hated the way the industry was run. I have given physicians the name and contact information to positions that do not pay me a fee (worked for free) because it was in their best interest. I was tired of working for people who played games with Physician's lives for the sake of the almighty dollar. Now, I may not be rich doing business this way. I "loose" a placement or a fee by handing over information but I can look at myself in the mirror everyday and I also know, if they took a job that I could not get a fee for, then that was ok because it only means they would not have been happy if they accepted a job from one of the hospitals which would pay me a fee. I am happy to say, once I started "giving" jobs away, I could still pay my bills and I received more referrals from physicians I had helped and I stopped calling myself a "recruiter" and became a "Physician Career Consultant". My advice to Physicians who are looking for a job is to interview the recruiter. Find someone with experience and with whom you can build a trusting relationship. Work with only one or two at a time but always know they won't give a lead for a position that won't give them a fee so keep control of your own search and look on your own as well. I am happy you wrote what you wrote and I also hope more physicians read it and are able to handle their career moves in a more positive manner.