A growing population coupled with a spike in physician retirements means the much-discussed physician shortage is worsening. For this reason, the physician often has the advantage when searching for a job. This is especially true for specialists coming out of fellowship programs. Fellows are aggressively pursued and many have job offers long before their training concludes.
However, sometimes life doesn’t unfold as planned, and if a fellow doesn’t start a job immediately following training, he or she may seem less desirable to potential employers. They see a gap on the physician’s CV and assume something must be wrong with the physician. But of course, every CV has a story behind it, and it is the job of a good physician recruiter to uncover that story. By taking the time to get to know the physician behind the CV, a recruiter is better positioned to present the candidate than the candidate would be applying directly. It benefits the physician to work with a physician recruiter – especially if the physician has not followed a traditional career path.
An Untraditional Start to a Physician Career
Dr. A’s story was not typical for a Non-Invasive Cardiologist in training. While working as a fellow in a large Midwestern city, her father grew ill and her mother needed help caring for him. Instead of interviewing and evaluating job offers, Dr. A spent the final months of her training traveling back and forth to Oklahoma to care for her ailing father. When her fellowship ended, she relocated to live with her parents and focused on their needs instead of her own job search.
After six months of caring for her father, Dr. A knew it was time to start her physician job search. She began submitting her CV to physician jobs posted online, but she had very little response. When she did get a call, she was immediately questioned about the time she had taken off after her fellowship. After several conversations in which she revealed her personal struggles to unsympathetic recruiters, she began to feel defensive and resisted sharing the details of her circumstances.
A Physician Recruiter Willing to Dig Deeper
Dr. A expanded her search radius in the hopes of improving her chances. If she had to, she could relocate and bring her parents with her. She applied for a job in Texas, but she was not especially hopeful. Little did she know her luck was about to change.
The physician job had been posted by Jackson Physician Search’s Senior Search Consultant, David Isenberg. When he saw her CV in the applicant pool, he wanted to learn more. He reached out to her by phone, and though she was not quick to open up, he sensed there was more to her story. Without judgment, David asked more questions, and eventually, Dr. A shared the details of her father’s illness and her decision to take time off to care for him. David reassured her that her choice to support her family did not have to be a detriment to her physician career.
David was not surprised to learn Dr. A was struggling with her job search – the short gap would be enough for many organizations to reject her CV. However, as a permanent recruitment partner, he knew his client well and was confident they would be open to meeting her once they knew her story – which he would share with them.
“I think it was refreshing to her,” says David, “To know that I had a relationship with the client and wasn’t just a middle-man passing along her CV. As a permanent recruitment partner, I knew how to present her and her backstory in a way that would make it clear that she was worth a closer look.”
His client in Texas was indeed interested, and when Dr. A eventually spoke with David’s client, they didn’t even ask her about the gap. David had already explained everything they needed to know. She was relieved to focus the conversation on her professional qualifications and leave her personal challenges out of it altogether.
Finding the Best Fit for the Candidate
While the client slowly worked to schedule Dr. A’s site visit, another Jackson Physician Search recruiter had a physician job opening that would allow Dr. A (and her parents) to remain in Oklahoma. When asked Dr. A if she would be interested in pursuing the job, she enthusiastically agreed.
Because she was local, the hospital was able to quickly move her through the physician interview process. Dr. A had an in-person interview before her site visit in Texas was even scheduled.
Ultimately, Dr. A would interview face-to-face with both clients, but as David suspected, the Oklahoma location won her over.
The Secret to Success: Working with a Permanent Physician Recruiter
It’s not easy to overcome gaps on a CV, but with David’s assistance, Dr. A quickly had her choice of two job offers. David attributes the success to his status as a permanent recruitment partner.
Permanent physician recruiters work hand-in-hand with their clients and learn exactly what the administration is looking for and how the organization’s process works. Having that intimate knowledge and an ongoing conversation with the hiring organization gives candidates presented by a permanent recruiter a significant advantage over candidates who apply directly online.
“It’s akin to being introduced through a mutual friend versus approaching someone cold,” David says. “We talk a lot about how a permanent physician recruitment firm benefits the hiring organization, but a permanent recruiter benefits the physician as well.”