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How Physicians Can Successfully Navigate a Job Search During the Pandemic

Jackson Physician Search
July 16, 2020

The constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 has significantly impacted the healthcare field in nearly unimaginable ways, including the wide-spread postponement of elective procedures four months ago. In June, after some states began reopening from stay-home orders, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) conducted a poll to learn how much patient volume had begun returning to medical practices.

Poll results showed that the majority of medical practices (87 percent) had recovered at least some patient volume, and almost half of those reported patient volumes to at least 75 percent of their pre-COVID-19 levels. Even with the pandemic taking a turn for the worse in recent weeks, that is good news for physicians who are looking for new job opportunities.

Additionally, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released new information confirming long-held concerns about the physician shortage. It is now estimating the U.S. is facing a deficit of between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians in both primary and specialty care by 2033 – higher than previously reported. In other words, physicians remain in very high demand.

Up to 7 Percent of Physicians Relocate for New Job Opportunities Each Year

The industry sees 50,000 +/- physicians on the move every year, and the pandemic is having little to no effect on changing that for several reasons, including:

  • Per the recent AAMC study, more than two out of five physicians are reaching retirement age.
  • Jackson Physician Search polled physicians via our email newsletter and email job ads last month, and two-thirds of those who responded indicated that COVID-19 has prompted them to look for a new job.
  • 42% of doctors report feeling burnout according to the American Medical Association, which may prompt some to look for a new opportunity or retire earlier than planned.
  • Furloughs and salary cuts from COVID-19 may entice some physicians to seek a more secure position elsewhere. And, those in private practice may opt for an employed status post-pandemic.
  • Traditional reasons for accepting a new position also remain, including better work and life balance, a relocation closer to home, increased career potential, or improved culture and value alignment.

Be Open to a Virtual Recruitment Process

A live poll taken during the recent MGMA20 | The Operations Conference Online showed that a small percentage of medical groups – only 14 percent – aren’t actively interviewing due to COVID-19. For the other approximately 86 percent that are continuing to fill key vacancies, nearly 63 percent have adapted the interviewing process by using virtual interviews and video community tours. While many physicians prefer a face-to-face experience, some who are highly motivated to make a move are embracing this new method.

If you’re offered a virtual interview, here are a few tips to make a great impression:

  • Choose a professional, well-lit location where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Do a test run of your computer’s video and audio, as well as your Wi-Fi connection, with a family member or friend.
  • Close unnecessary tabs and turn off your cellphone.
  • Prepare your questions ahead of time to assess career and culture fit, and familiarize yourself with those who you will virtually meet.
  • Demonstrate engagement by maintaining eye contact, nodding and smiling as you normally would. Be authentic.

To augment the virtual interview, many healthcare organizations are showing off the best side of their community and facility with custom videos, as well as virtually connecting physicians to professional resources such as real estate agents, personal bankers, local school advisors, etc. For busy physicians, this can save a lot of wasted time by only traveling to those opportunities that you are most interested in pursuing.

Trust a Physician Recruiter to Simplify Your Search

Building a relationship with an experienced physician recruiter, especially during these challenging times, can pave the way for a smooth job search. With in-house recruiters potentially pulled in so many directions right now due to COVID-19, a recruitment firm can assist you with following up on opportunities in order to maintain momentum. Furthermore, a great recruiter will help to prepare you for the interview, increasing the potential for receiving a competitive offer.

Also, look for a firm with nationwide reach regardless of where you want to practice, and stay open to locations outside your target geographical zone. A national recruitment partner will have the resources, network connections and inside information about a position and facility to find you an opportunity that matches your career and life goals. Here are some additional tips to set yourself up for success when working with a recruitment firm:

  • Update your CV and accept honest feedback from a recruiter if edits are recommended. After all, both you and your recruiter want you to put your best foot forward.
  • Be transparent with your recruiter about why you’re looking for a new position, even if there’s less than flattering information to disclose. Also, ask your recruiter why the position is open.
  • Understand the various components of an entire compensation package, including base salary, benefits, bonuses, and potential incentives like student loan forgiveness.
  • Involve your family early in your job search. As important as it is for you to find the right opportunity for your career, you naturally want your family to feel the move is good for them, too.
  • Lastly, commit to your job search. As Warren Buffett famously stated, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it.” When you have the support of a recruiter, respect the process.

Jackson Physician Search has nationwide reach and a team of recruitment professionals with decades of healthcare industry experience. You can search our open jobs and apply today by visiting


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