Physician Staffing Blog

Job Search Advice

How to Kick Off a Physician Job Search: 5 Keys to Success

February 11, 2019

How to Kick Off a Physician Job Search: 5 Keys to Success

By Jennifer Larson, contributor

You may be thinking about a job change. In fact, you may have already started scanning physician job banks. But before you dive in and start sending out copies of your CV, stop and think:

What can you do to ensure your physician job search will be successful? 

Two of Merritt Hawkins’ experts on the physician job market recently weighed in on this topic. George Akra, director of recruiting for the Upper Midwest region, and Lisa Dera, director of strategic accounts, offer the following strategies to help you start a job hunt on the right foot, streamline the process, and give yourself the best chance of landing your ideal opportunity.

BROWSE current physician jobs across the U.S.

5 Steps to Launch a Successful Physician Job Search

1. Start thinking about your priorities

Akra suggested asking yourself this question first: “Why am I looking to make a change?”

“The answer to that question will help you determine what you should transition into,” he said.

It’s also important to know what matters most to you in a potential job. While salary and incentives will certainly come into play, Dera suggested considering your responses to these questions, too:

  • How many hours per week do you envision yourself practicing?
  • What type of call schedule do you want?
  • How many patients are you comfortable seeing per day?
  • Who (or what kind of practice or institution) do you want to work for?

Your answers will guide you toward determining what kind of practice environment you’re seeking in a new physician job, and help you rule out jobs that aren’t right for you.

2. Talk to your family

If you have a spouse, children or a significant other, you need to discuss the matter of a new job and possible relocation with them. Sooner rather than later.

“I would recommend that physicians find out what’s important to those who may be affected by their job search, so that would be anyone who would be moving with them,” said Dera.

Your loved ones may feel strongly about confining your job search to a particular geographic area. They might want to move closer to family or friends, or they may want you to focus on jobs in certain types of locations—areas with good schools, for example, or lots of outdoor recreational opportunities.

3. Consult a physician recruiter

Want to totally streamline the process of searching for a job? Contact a physician recruiter.

“It’s a full-time job, to be looking for a new job,” said Akra. “And most of these people are working.”

The physician job market is always changing, and recruiters make it their job to carefully track it. They pay attention to employment trends across the nation, and often become experts on specific medical specialties.

Recruiters have also cultivated knowledge and insight about potential employers and partnership opportunities that you probably won’t have. They’ll have a better sense of an organization’s culture and what they’re looking for in a physician candidate.

“We know the atmosphere of a particular practice,” said Dera. “We know the ins and outs of the community. Sometimes we even know the color of the carpet in the office.”

Recruiters can handle a lot of the paperwork that can become so cumbersome for physicians seeking a new position.  They can efficiently facilitate interviews and visits. And often, they know about job opportunities that haven’t yet been posted but might be a good fit.

The bottom line is that physician recruiters want to find solutions that work best for the long term, for both the physician and the employer.

“We are definitely trying to find the best fit for our clients,” said Akra. “We’re not going to force a square peg into a round hole.”

4. Check your references

If you’re starting a job search, don’t wait to check in with your references. Call or email them to ask if they’re still willing to serve as your references—and let them know that someone may be calling them in the near future.

If some of your references are no longer available, or if your work experience has changed significantly since your last job search, this is also the time to add new references who may be able to highlight some of your latest skills and accomplishments.

5. Keep it simple

Don’t allow yourself to get stressed out by the job hunt. A physician job search can morph from something manageable to something completely overwhelming if you don’t maintain some limits.

“The more jobs you look at, the more confusing it will be,” said Akra.

That’s where your recruiter can come in handy, steering you toward the job opportunities to which you are best suited. Recruiters can share their expertise, help you weigh the pros and cons, and let you narrow down the possibilities until you’re confident you are ready to make a good decision. 


Launching a Medical Career - free eBook from Merritt Hawkins

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MERRITT HAWKINS is a leader in physician recruitment and staffing, with thousands of successful placements across the U.S. every year. Find out how we can help you take the next step in your career. 



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