Physician Job Search Tips – Tip #1: Applying for a Job is a Small First Step
In my previous career as a contingency-based physician recruiter, I learned that for some job searches, my primary value was simply to convince a candidate to apply for the jobs that appeared to be a reasonable match for that candidate’s goals and desired locations. Often times a candidate would come to me already familiar with all the physician employers and jobs within his or her desired area, but not having taken any action with those employers or jobs.
There were several common reasons for this inaction: the available job descriptions were too vague, the physician candidate perceived the jobs as not good enough, the candidate perceived themselves as not a good fit, or the candidate believed there were more jobs and employers in the area than actually existed due to the way recruiting firms cause jobs to be double and triple listed on most physician job boards. Sometimes physician candidates would express that they didn’t have enough time to speak with all the employers. However, the truth is that an outside recruiter can initiate the conversation for you, but the physician candidate will still be doing most of the communication with the hospital or employer after the CV submission. You may spend even more time giving your outside recruiter updates. Another common problem is that many physician candidates believe that submitting their CV for a job is the same as saying they want the job in question, when in fact that action just begins the necessary dialogue.
My advice to the candidates I worked with was very consistent on this topic. Applying for a job is a small first step in the process, and physicians should apply for as many jobs as possible, provided the options seem to be a reasonable fit geographically and professionally. In reality, there are two main purposes to a physician submitting his or her CV for a particular job, evaluation of the physician’s credentials and beginning a dialog between the hiring entity and the candidate. The dialog is the key. By speaking to as many employers as possible, a candidate gets to truly know what the options are and is able to make the best decision. The process of applying for jobs and speaking to employers is an opportunity to learn about the jobs, learn about the market into which you will be entering, and learn about how you stack up as a candidate within that market.
These days most physician job searches begin with an online search for options. Many physician candidates’ next step is to start narrowing down their options based on the brief summaries they find at various job boards or recruiting sites . A better physician job search would begin by initiating dialogue with potential employers and thereby gaining first hand knowledge of the organization, your potential coworkers, and the community in question.
Remember, applying for the job is a small first step. After submitting your CV, you’ll still have to communicate with the employer, interview at least one time, receive an offer, negotiate, sign the contract, get licensed, and then get credentialed. These other steps usually take between 1 to 3 months, sometime much longer, and there is always potential to hit a snag along the way. A new candidate can turn up, recruiting efforts get cancelled, or credentialing/licensing takes longer than expected. If you’ve been communicating with multiple employers and moving forward on multiple jobs, you’ll find yourself able to keep the job search moving forward towards success rather than starting over from scratch.