Whether you're looking for a change of venue for yourself, or looking to bring someone new into your medical practice, doing so can be a very stressful situation.
Changing jobs is one of life’s great stressors. Just ask Erik Dickerson, a partner and health practice leader for Kaye Bassman International, one of the largest recruiters in the U.S. with a major health care practice. He sees it almost every day.
“When you look at life stressors, what do you have?” Dickerson asks, rhetorically. “You’ve got the death of a loved one, you’ve got a divorce, you’ve got purchasing a home, and you’ve got making a career change.”
The physician search business has been around for years, Dickerson acknowledges. But some things don’t change. Whether you’re looking for a change of venue for yourself, or looking to bring someone new into your medical practice, doing so can be a very stressful situation.
Going it alone?
For physicians looking to change jobs, the first question is whether or not they can accomplish their goal on their own. Dickerson suggests that if you’re focusing your search to one specific location, and perhaps also focused on a very unique sub-specialty, then you may already have formed some reliable connections — in which case, a recruiter isn’t likely to bring anything substantially different to the table.
However, what if your search isn’t as narrowly focused, or you want to keep word of your search confidential?
“You don’t want someone to pick up the phone and call the chair of your department, or the head of your practice group,” Dickerson says. “You want to make sure that the [search] process is managed appropriately.”
There’s also the question of time.
“If I’m a surgeon, I might be open to an opportunity to take my career to the next level — but quite frankly I’m dedicated to what I’m doing and I’m busy,” Dickerson explains. “I’m not going to look at ads, I’m not going to look at postings, I’m not going to be out there trying to find something because I’m just too busy doing it. That’s really the service that we provide; to make passive candidates aware of opportunities that they otherwise would not be looking at.”
For the medical practice, time is of the essence as well. If your practice is truly looking to canvas the market to make certain you have the very best candidate pool, a physician search firm alleviates that burden from you and your staff.
Clarifying the landscape
Dickerson explains that one of the key benefits of working with a recruiter — whether you’re in job-seeking or job-hiring mode — is the ability to cut through the noise. If you’re the client looking for a job, then that could mean clarifying a curious listing on your résumé, such as why you made a particular career move at that time.
“We’re able to really delve into the ‘whys,’” Dickerson says. “Why does a person have the background that they have? Why have they worked where they’ve worked? Why did they make the career choices that they made?”
On the other side of the coin, if you’re a medical practice looking to fill a position or two vacated by physicians, there might be word on the street that is less than positive about the practice’s leadership. Dickerson works to clarify any challenges the organization once had and explain where the organization is going.
“No matter how wonderful information technology systems become, you can never replace that human understanding of reason, purpose and motivation, which I believe are absolutely essential to having a long-term successful career within an organization,” he says.
What you should know
Dickerson suggests that physicians also need to do their due diligence when selecting a recruiting firm. Finding the right match is critical. A good recruiter, when setting up a physician’s profile, will take the time to ask thought-provoking questions that should make you say, “Wow, I hadn’t thought about that.” Otherwise, you might want to look somewhere else.
According to Dickerson, more than one physician has gone through the process of putting together their physician profile and looked back on the experience as being cathartic.
“One of the things that is music to my ears is when one of my clients says, ‘I would have never found this candidate on my own,’” Dickerson says. “Those are the things a physician recruiting firm should do well.”