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What physician recruiters do


a physician recruiter at their computer wearing many hats Posted by Georgia Scott
a physician recruiter at their computer wearing many hats

As the number one physician resource for 30 years, PracticeLink has peered deeply into the work of physician recruiters and are always impressed at how much your duties go well beyond finding candidates, nurturing recruits and welcoming new hires.

The truth is physician recruiters wear a lot of different hats - possibly five or more on any given day. Within the lifespan of shepherding a single candidate from the PracticeLink Job Board to the healthcare organization’s onboarding team, you can easily wear eight to ten hats, or even more.

With everything we’ve learned about what physician recruiters do, who you are and how you do it, we’ve come to appreciate that the title of physician recruiter is as limiting and understated as carelessly saying someone like Philip Treacy - the master artisan of hats - is a mere milliner.

While the actual headwear might be metaphorical, the following hats of a successful physician recruiter are nonetheless very real.

Trilby of a writer and editor

Every job placement starts, moves forward and culminates into a contract based on the initial job post. With so much riding on a few short paragraphs, every successful physician recruiter has to be able to craft a well-honed job posting. Trilby hats have a great silhouette and give off a universal air of sophisticated nonchalance. The hat of choice for many, trilbies are among the only hats worn indoors, partly because of their sly elegance. The narrow brim and pinched crown of this upgraded fedora might seem unremarkable on the surface, but just like a well-written post, that’s part of its charm.

Top hat of a magician

Magicians wear top hats in order to make themselves more visible and noticeable, in much the same physician recruiters make their already well-crafted job posts stand out even more. To increase visibility, physician recruiters employ every resource at their disposal, from becoming featured clients on the Practicelink Job Board, advertising in publications like Practicelink Magazine, or investing in Power Buys for increased exposure.

Other ways physician recruiters wear the top hat of a magician include their remarkable ability to hold the crowd’s - or in this case, the candidate’s - attention. Talking isn’t easy for everyone, and speaking persuasively is a mark of a skilled physician recruiter.

Another important skill is the ability to seemingly pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat - or rather, a top candidate out of a pool of thousands. Practicelink, alone, has over 45,000 candidates. It can be a challenge to find the right one before someone else snags them, and when they do, just like a magician, physician recruiters never reveal their secrets.

Cowboy hat of an ethicist

The high-crowned, wide-brimmed cowboy hat that is ubiquitous of America’s Wild West is also iconic for the open frontier’s sense of passion, hard work, fight for justice and code of ethics. These characteristics are equally expected of recruiters and are no less ingrained in the culture of the healthcare industry. To be truly successful, physician recruiters have to be passionate about their organization, or at the very least, about the healthcare industry and desire to help place the right physician into a worthy community of peers and patients. To that end, physician recruiters are also ethically bound to speak honestly and not lead the physician or organization astray.

Chef’s hat of a decision maker

The iconic, cylindrical toque with a flat brim and impossible pleats signifies seniority and creates a distinctive air of respectability. The men and women who wear them are highly regarded for playing an important role in operations. Although rarely considered when discussing the success of a hospital or medical practice, physician recruiters are extremely respected within the healthcare industry and are often trusted to be decisive within their respective organizations.

Chef’s hats are also practical and have come to embody the rich traditions and standards of the culinary arts. In much the same way, physician recruiters can’t exist in the clouds. They have to be keenly aware of what’s possible within the candidate pool, as well as the budget and constraints of the organization. Having said that, as the first representative a candidate meets, the physician recruiter has to personify the mission and stature of their organization and its community.

Straw hat of therapists

This wide-brimmed necessity made from dried, woven stalks of grain that otherwise would have been used as fodder is lightweight, unassuming, welcoming and hasn’t changed very much in over 2000 years. As makeshift therapists, physician recruiters have the responsibility of initiating dialogue and are sometimes challenged with keeping the conversation going, getting candidates to open up and hopefully reveal their intentions - sometimes when they don’t even know the underlying reasons themselves.

The best way to do that is to keep things light and unassuming. Not so much to catch a candidate off guard but to make the candidate feel welcomed and at ease. When wearing the star hat of a therapist, physician recruiters are also active listeners - both patient and affirming. They’ve honed their ability to pick up on nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and the physician candidate’s tone of voice. They’re able to ask questions without appearing to pry. They also have to be equally willing to share and self-disclose hard truths about the organization or limitations about the job, community or compensation package.

Later, if the recruit does not become a new hire, the straw hat of a therapist is put back on so the recruiter can let the rejected recruit down gently while genuinely offering to keep the lines of communication open for future opportunities or referrals.

Panama hat of cultural diversity and inclusion

The beautiful thing about Panama hats are how much they put a spotlight on the techniques and ancestral expressions, plant care and creativity of entire generations, while also overshadowing the actual culture that created them. Panama hats are actually the tradition of Ecuadorians, and being comfortable with acknowledging how easy it is to be blind to cultural appropriation and cultural misrepresentation is an important factor in maintaining diversity and overcoming implicit bias.

Physician recruiters have to not only be aware of their own bias, but also need to be mindful of diversity and inclusion strengths and weaknesses with their organizations, as well as any culturally sensitive triggers for physician candidates.

Panama hats are made from the lightweight, sturdy toquilla plant of coastal Ecuador. It features a center dent, a high pinched crown, and, like a fedora, has an accentuated brim to be stylish while also protecting the wearer from sun protection. The specific style varies to fit each individual. In that way, when physician recruiters wear Panama hats, they understand the importance of being mindful of the unique characteristics, backgrounds and dreams of different candidates.

Beret of an artist and revolutionary

No other headwear is as profoundly enmeshed in the ideals of people from such varied ends of the spectrum as the beret. It evokes the deep, quirky passion of artists, as well as the deep-rooted, sometimes fanatical drive of political revolutionaries. We don’t just see someone sipping champagne or painting on canvas. We see a carefree mind oozing creativity and confidence. By the same token, whether a leader is smoking a cigar or giving a speech, when they’re wearing a beret, they appear fearless and inspiring.

Physician recruiters are no different. When they put on their beret, they are working tirelessly to either come up with a creative way to frame the community or assist the recruit’s family members with settling in; or with a revolutionary way to revamp the hospital or its culture.

Baseball cap of a good sport

The baseball cap is as American as the cowboy hat, apple pie and baseball, itself. But it doesn’t belong solely to baseball anymore - or even just to the U.S. The baseball cap, with its many varieties, colors and branded logos, has become a global, multi-generational, non-gender specific staple. It is utilitarian, fashionable, and perfect for almost any activity, show of support, or when doing absolutely nothing at all.

It signifies a chill, easy spirit and is the quintessential symbol of a good sport. 

Physician recruiters know all about the art of being a good sport. They can invest weeks or even months nurturing a candidate into a viable recruit, only to lose them to another organization or to the whims of the recruiter’s own hiring team. As they say, "You win some, you lose some." It never feels good to lose a candidate, but successful physician recruiters are able to quickly pick themselves up, dust the dirt off their shoulders and get back in the game.

Zukin and fukumen of a ninja

Stealth is key in the world of physician recruitment. While physician recruiters frequently share contacts, in truth, they only share the ones their organizations don’t want. Even for job boards as comprehensive and well-stocked as PracticeLink’s, the talent pool is not limitless. The archetypal hood (zukin) and mask (fukumen) of the Japanese ninja of lore perfectly evoke the recruiter’s need for complete anonymity. Discretion is important not just when keeping good talent close to the vest, but also when doing preliminary background checks.

Party hat of a winner

The festive, brightly colored cone secured with an elastic string is the world’s No.1 attitude adjuster. By their nature, party hats prompt the wearer to relax, ignore social norms, and let loose. For physician recruiters, it’s important to celebrate successes, even when the workload requires a quick, breathless transition to the next candidate and the next job placement. Before moving on, it’s important for recruiters to stop and celebrate a job well done with the most recent new hire.

Helmet of a protector

Helmets save lives, or at the very least, a head trauma victim’s quality of life. Enough cannot be said about how much physician recruiters protect candidates, healthcare organizations, patients and the community. There’s nothing more volatile than placing an anti-social doctor in a rural community where anyone might walk up and start discussing random symptoms. Physician recruiters protect everyone from thousands of traumatic scenarios that could cost immeasurable sums down the road. 

Helmets also improve visibility by reducing glare, support ventilation to help the wearer keep cool and breathe comfortably, and increase confidence. Also, in most states, helmets are a legal requirement. For physician recruiters, these are useful as they work to keep everyone protected, while also shielding themselves from injury. All of this work - all of these hats can lead to exhaustion. Protecting themselves is no less paramount than what physician recruiters do for everyone else.


Resources, like PracticeLink, are vital to physician recruiters doing their job. But ultimately, its their hat rack that really brings home the success. Hats off to you all!



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