Saturday, January 12, 2008

Better Tools For The Physician Job Search

Years ago I asked my chief resident how I could find a job. He answered: "Just ask all the attendings and if that doesn't work, call a scalper", and nowadays he would have added, "go on the internet".
Well, I googled the terms "Physician jobs" and "ObGyn jobs". The results were a disaster: Recruiter website after recruiter website, then the websites that post recruiter ads, then the recruiting companies, then the occult and hidden recruiter ads disguised as "advice" that sneak up on you on student and fellowship websites, and on general health websites, and so on. In short, recruiters dominate the internet. This is severly misleading and a gross distortion of reality.

Recruiters only seem to be important when you look on the internet. In reality, they aren't. Accoring to my personal impression recruiters handle between 10-15% of jobs. A telephone survey of 1000 practices, unplublished, done by "" was consistent with this. A recruitment company researched the issue and arrived at an estimate of 33% of jobs, something that I believe it to be too optimistic.

So how do we find jobs? Print and direect internet advertising by employers may be responsible for filling 20-40% of jobs - in my estimate.

The remaining roughly 50% of jobs are filled by word of mouth, by direct personal contacts.

This has serious implications on how a physician should look for a job.

Networking should be effort number one, because most of the jobs are filled through personal contacts. This includes talking to anybody who is willing to listen and presenting them your "elevator pitch". The elevator pitch is a short presentation that includes who you are, what you are looking for, what makes you special and what makes you different than the rest. Handing out a business card with your contact info and maybe the elevator pitch is a good idea.
Networking includes contacting hospitals in the area where you want to work, I have discussed this in previous posts.

Networking includes sending a letter to every single physician in the area where you want to work and introducing yourself with a letter that essentially says the same as the elevator pitch. You may or may not include your CV in this letter. You will find the addresses and all other contact information of any physician anywhere at, where you can buy them for 50$ each. I have described this elsewhere in this blog.

Mailing a letter to each physician in your target area is especially useful, since you find all the physicians that have not advertised yet, that are just thinking about maybe hiring someone. This is great, since it gets you in before the competition. You automatically find all the physicians that have already advertised. They will simply think you are responding to their ad, even if you have never seen the ad. You will also reach all the physicians that have contacted recruiters, and you will be especially welcome, since your application does not have a 20K price tag attached (the fee the recruiter charges for brokering a candidate).

So, with one single activity, sending a letter to every physician in your target area, you reach absolutely everyone.
You tap the "hidden job market" as well as all other "markets". You cannot do better than that.
You can do this yourself, or you can have a company such as "" do it for a fee.

Compared to networking and direct mail, all other methods of searching for a physician job pale. By looking only at print ads and internet ads you are limiting yourself at 30-40% of the job market, and by searching through recruiters, you limit yourself to about 15% of the job market.

Why is the Internet and why are the print media dominated by recruiters? Because they pay. Follow the money! Recruiters pay websites to post their ads and the websites do not mind giving them a little "editorial space" - and, voila, you have a nice editorial touting the "advantages" of recruiters. Print media need advertising, and they need recruiter ads. They survive because of these ads. And they do not mind publishing a few nice articles presenting the "advantages of working with a recruiter".

And so you have a completely slanted view of the "physician job search" on the net.

It does not help the balance of published material that physicians have no interest whatsoever in writing about the almost embarassing topic of "job search". They just get it done and go to work. Write about it? Please...I have better things to do with my time!

And that is the reason why every new generation of graduating residents and fellows do not use the best tools to find a physician job. They simply do not know. And they fall for one of the thousands of slanted and partial websites prepared by recruiters. And the older, exeprienced physicians do not bother telling them how to find a job. We need to raise awareness of what physicians can do to find the jobs they want.

A physician job seach is a straightforward thing: contact all potential employers by mail. And Network. Done.

If you are interested in detailed info about techniques, in tips, in experiences, in books about physician job search, in new ways of using email alerts and websearch techniques, if you want to find more helpful weblinks, good websites, help in writing cover letters, CVs and more, please browse through my blog.

You will find it all. And it will be from a physician - for physicians. No financial interest, no pushing recruiters nor recruiter agendas, just good, straightforward, helpful info. How it should be.

1 comment:

Adam at The Doctor Job said...

Your blog is definitely a good resource for any physician who wants to find a job the smart way.