The recruitment season is heating up – The competition is fierce – Bring your “A” Game

Looking for a new physician opportunity? Here’s 9 tips to ensure you’re bringing your A-game. 

Physician Recruitment season is in full swing, and indications of dramatically higher turnover rates among physicians and physician leaders mean the competition is fierce. This isn’t a slugfest, it’s more like a game of chess. The environment is extremely competitive, so it’s more important than ever for your approach to be strategic. Here are nine tips that can help you be more competitive–and put you where you need to be to get the position you really want.

It all boils down to time. Time delays of any kind put you at a disadvantage. So, be prepared, make decisions quickly, and be ready to act. Anything that delays an employer’s ability to consider your candidacy leaves the door open for your competition. Remember the #1 rule: There’s always competition.

Here is where I’ve seen things go amuck in the process: Potential employers that have to wait for days or even weeks to get your updated CV. Don’t wait until you see a position you are interested in – be proactive.  Update your CV before you get very far into your search. Even if you are “casually looking,” you’ll inevitably come across a posting for a position that piques your interest. If you’re prepared ahead of time, you can act in a timely way. Every day your CV is delayed is another day an employer will get a CV from another physician. You can’t be considered if they don’t know you exist.

Tip #1: Create an event on your schedule once a year to review and make any updates to your CV.

Tip #2: Get help putting your CV together. I see far more bad ones than good ones. Your CV is the first impression a potential employer has of you. It’s also hard to be objective about writing about yourself, so a CV writing service is an investment that’s well worth it.

Tip #3: Don’t put off phone or virtual interviews until your schedule matches perfectly. I’ve seen interviews get pushed off for several weeks. Your goal should be to have that interview happen within 1 week of getting the invitation, so be as flexible as possible to accommodate getting it done.

Tip #4: Get prepared for your first interview. I can’t tell you how many times a Department Chair or CMO told me post-interview, “The candidate didn’t do their homework. They knew nothing about us.” To be seriously considered for a position, you need to demonstrate you are seriously interested in them. One of the best ways to do that is to research the organization and department and gather as much intel as possible. Every organization has a website. Use it. Dig in to see who’s there, who leads it, and any specific information about the department, services offered, staff, locations, etc. You’re bound to think of things you have questions about. Thoughtful questions are a great way to show interest.

Tip #5: Don’t delay on-site interviews. 

This is the toughest thing to get done in a timely way. I’ve seen on-site interviews get delayed months, but our goal should be to get the interview scheduled to happen within 2 to 3 weeks from the invitation. Sooner is better. The more flexible and accommodating you are, the better impression it leaves on the people you will be meeting.

Tip #6: Be prepared. Have two dates secured on your end and offer your available dates upfront so they can work around your schedule.

Tip #7: Don’t delay a decision on an offer, even if you are determined to get five interviews before you make a decision. I’ve had more than one candidate do this and it rarely ends well. Here’s why.

  • Telling an employer you have more interviews scheduled and can’t make a decision yet tells them their position isn’t your first choice or something’s missing from their offer.
  • You are inadvertently telling them you aren’t good at making decisions.
  • Imagine if they told you, we like you okay but want to see more candidates before we decide. No one wants to be the second choice or the “backup.”

I’ve had so many occasions when a candidate, after taking a long time to make their decision, came back to accept the offer, and I’ve had to say, “I’m sorry, but we filled the position.” One of the worst parts of my job as a recruiter has been having to tell candidates at the end of a very long process, “The position is no longer open.”

Tip #8: Making the decision to take a new position is a big deal. Here’s my advice: If you don’t walk away from an interview clicking your heels together with excitement, it’s probably not the right position for you.

Tip #9: After your interview, if you hold that position up as the gold standard by which all other positions are compared, it probably is the right position for you.

Based on my 9 tips, it’s clear you need to prepare ahead of time so you can act quickly. To move forward confidently or back off graciously, it’s also critical to do your homework and stay informed and ready with questions you need to be answered. Last, you should relay your decision as soon as you know, one way or the other. If not, your delays can open the door for competition. If your answer is no, tell them. It keeps everyone from spending wasted time and lets you and the employer move on.

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