A colleague whom I know from emails, but with whom I have never spoken about recruitment or recruiters, sent me an email today which I am quoting literally after having removed his name on request.
I am amazed how closely his experience mirrors my experience with recruiters.
May I point out that he finds that positions coming through recruiters are in "...less desirable practice locations...a candidate must keep in mind that these recruiters work FOR the hospitals, and not the candidate...these recruiters usually will not heed the candidates' needs...since stopping my search, I continue to receive recruitment flyers and e-mails (as I am sure many of you do)...those who would take these job opportunities may lack the insight into the economic realities of private practice..."
Recruiters may argue as much as they want, this is how they come across to a majority of physicians. And, please, do not tell me "it's a few bad apples", those few bad apples seem to incredibly busy and seem to just pop up everywhere!
"As a relatively recent recruit to (2003), and subsequent recruiter (2005-6) for my former practice, here are my observations.
When I was searching for a position, I looked at these incredible and unbelievable offers. I too, looked at Merritt, Hawkins, and Associates' findings over the last 6 years. I then observed a trend when I actually called these opportunities / offers. Although not universal, most of these positions offered by "recruiters" such as Merritt, Hawkins & Associates are in less desirable practice locations. Not necessarily rural, but nonetheless less desirable. Factors including geographical location, payer mix, competition, etc., may all come into play.
One must ask why a hospital needs to utilize these search firms and pay them tens of thousands to recruit a urologist. A candidate must keep in mind that these recruiters work FOR the hospitals, and not the candidate. Even if a candidate specifically mentions he/she does not want to join a multispecialty practice nor want to be on the east coast, these recruiters usually will not heed the candidates' needs and will contact the candidate anyway when they have any job offer remotely resembling (or NOT!) what the candidates want.
Since stopping my search, I continue to receive recruitment flyers and e-mails (as I am sure many of you do) advertising $500,000 starting salaries almost on a weekly basis. I know of one such offer and its exact location if anyone wishes to move to a rural Arizona town. Contact me directly and I won't even charge you a finder's fee!
Now the question: How do all these practices afford to pay these huge salaries with all these benefits? I will bet the practices are not paying these costs. These incentives are subsidized by the hospitals.
I can not imagine offering these incentives and having the recruit be "let down" in year 2 when the hospital subsidy ends and reality hits. The short term gains may be great for the candidate, but one must evaluate the long term consequences of taking such a job position.
Those who would take these job opportunities may lack the insight into the economic realities of private practice, and may not be ideal candidates whom I would want to eventually call "partner". Experienced managers know the emotional, production, and financial costs of having to replace an employee. Imagine the headache of having to replace a urologist... It's true that this recruitment process is like choosing a life partner (for both the practice and the candidate); one must chose very, very carefully."