My advice for Doctors looking for a recruiter

6 min | Medical Careers
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John Bethell

February 14, 2012

Doctors: find a good medical recruitment consultant and stick with them

Doctor Smiling min

I liked this post by blogger Dr. Goodhook, providing advice to doctors on “How to work with a Physician recruiter”.

I liked it because a doctor, not a recruiter, wrote it. He clearly has the measure of the way recruiters work (good and bad) and has suggested some handy tips on how doctors can get the best out of the relationship.

I particularly appreciate the fact that he acknowledges that such relationships are of value. Very few doctors do their own tax return or represent themselves in court (even rarer are doctors that remove their own appendix). You outsource these tasks for two reasons: it's not a good use of your time and you recognise that it is an area of specialist expertise that you do not possess. Career management is not necessarily seen this way and yet there are big repercussions if you get it wrong. Why not partner with an expert in this domain?

If I could add my own advice to doctors looking for a recruiter to work with it would be this: find a really good one - then enter into a lasting, trusting and monogamous relationship with them.

There are a couple of reasons for taking this approach.

1. Sort out the wheat from the chaff

Recruiters (much like doctors for that matter) sit on a bell curve of capability:

  • 10% are at the top of their game, highly talented, hard-working, committed to their customers and have integrity to burn.

  • 80% are OK – they’ll get the job done but they won’t set the world on fire.

  • 10% are, shall we say, best to be avoided.

2. Commit to the relationship

it cuts both ways (as all good relationships do). A good recruiter will look after you throughout your career, providing advice at every stage – not just when you are actively looking for a job.

To make the right choice you need to understand firstly what a recruiter does. Recruitment is essentially a service role. Recruiters have to, at various times, be salesman, adviser, administrator, expert consultant, and counselor. Sound familiar?

This could equally describe a doctor … or a lawyer or an accountant. The difference, of course, is that there is a low professional entry barrier (no tertiary qualification required here) so whilst there are some highly ethical and capable recruiters there are many that are not.

In recruitment, as in all service professions, reputation is everything and it is hard-won over time. Ask around the market and connect with a few that have been recommended to you by colleagues until you find a good fit.

So why monogamy?

All relationships are defined by the degree of commitment from the parties involved, and that goes for professional relationships too. Lawyers, accountants, and even doctors prefer to enter into a long-lasting relationship with their clients. Their clients, for the most part, are happy to reciprocate.

Imagine for a moment asking five accountants to work on your tax return – the one that gets the best refund gets paid! They just wouldn’t wear it, yet when you ask five recruiters to find you a job they are all happy to take your details. Of course, they are each likely to give you no more than one-fifth of their attention. The sum of the parts, in this case, is definitely less than the whole.

So, in summary, a good recruiter should be your career guide and confidante through every stage of your professional life. If you find a good one stick to them. I promise you’ll be happier in the long run.


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