How to Kick Off a Physician Job Search: 5 Keys to Success
February 11, 2019
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.
physician jobs across the U.S.
5 Steps to Launch a
Successful Physician Job Search
1. Start thinking about your
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
- What type of call schedule do you want?
- How many patients are you comfortable seeing per
- 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
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.
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