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February 21, 2022

Been there, done that!

It’s not uncommon for experienced physicians to reflect on what they’ve learned since their first job search and identify what they wish they’d done differently.

Here are some of the ways recruiters can help candidates avoid early-career job-search mistakes.

Educate about practice type

Certain practice settings may fall in or out of fashion among residents and fellows. Others may not be well-explained in residency. Will candidates understand your particular organization? And do they know enough about their own preferences and needs to make a decision they’ll stick with for at least a few years?

Jay Wofford, M.D., dermatologist, dermatopathologist and North Texas regional president at U.S. Dermatology Partners, says that when he was a resident, a bias against private equity in medicine was common among his peers. He credits U.S. Dermatology’s marketing lead, who was energetic in reaching out and getting to know the physicians in his fellowship program, with addressing the negative slant and helping him better understand what working in the group would offer.

Recruiters can help by: Providing clear insights into the group’s style and culture.

Bring new hires together

Wofford says that staying in touch with co-residents a year or two ahead is another way candidates can get a realistic picture of what it’s like to work in a particular environment. He suggests that newly hired physicians can give insightful feedback about their jobs after about six months.

Recruiters can help by: Assembling groups of recently hired physicians to be available to answer inquiries from candidates.

Family medicine physician Kristin Miller, M.D., recalls a situation early in her career where she arrived at a job and was unhappily surprised to find herself the only physician working in her rural clinic. This was a difficult adjustment compared with training, where young physicians are always surrounded by colleagues for friendship and support. Miller now urges residents to ask whether colleagues will be working in the same location (or nearby).

Recruiters can help by: Facilitating networking and events to help newly hired physicians form new connections.

Encourage self-reflection

Miller says that many residents show up to interviews without having prepared questions of their own. She recalls from her own experience that med students and residents learn to focus on pleasing others, and they often bring that people-pleasing orientation to job-seeking. As a result, they sometimes don’t ask enough questions in an interview to learn whether a job is right for them.

When a candidate accepts a job that turns out to be a poor fit, their unhappiness can affect everyone around them - and when they leave soon after they start, their employers don’t recoup the investment made in hiring them. Candidates who don’t ask questions may not have done enough preparation or self-analysis.

Recruiters can help by: Urging candidates ahead of time to come to their interviews with questions of their own.

Make following up easy

Miller adds that group interviews may make it hard for candidates to ask specific questions. She encourages residents to follow up individually with people they meet in group sessions.

Recruiters can help by: Providing a list of all interviewer contacts and titles, and by making themselves available one-on-one for the most delicate subjects, like compensation and time off.

Educate about compensation packages

Candidates may make mistakes when comparing compensation offers. Information about factors that contribute to physician productivity, such as practice marketing and staff support, can also help candidates make more informed decisions and avoid passing up solid opportunities.

Recruiters can help by: Providing a comprehensive projection of possible earnings.

Read PracticeLink articles by Laurie Morgan

Laurie Morgan

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