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The Care and Feeding of Your Recruiter – Managing Your Relationship

You’ve made a decision to find new employment, and you’ve set up an arrangement with a recruiter who understands your objectives and is committed to finding a position that matches your skills and interests.

During this process your recruiter will be doing his or her best to represent you to clients looking for new talent. How do you maintain your end of the job-seeking bargain, and make sure you’re placed in the best position possible? By taking good care of the recruiter/physician relationship.

While recruiters are working hard to place you, they will need information, cooperation, and feedback from you to be sure they are doing all they can for your career. You can make sure that the placement process goes smoothly by caring for and feeding your recruiter.

Offer Complete Information

First of all, a recruiter will need honest, complete information from you. The recruiter may begin by contacting you to see if you’re interested in making a career change. When they do, the most important thing you can offer is a clear indication of whether you’re immediately ready to change positions or whether you’ll be open to a change in the future. If you’re able to give the recruiter a time estimate on when you might like a call-back, you can save yourself and your recruiter from unwanted “nag calls” to determine if now is the time to work on placement.

When you are looking for a new position, your recruiter will want specific employment and credentialing information from you. Understand that the recruiter is required to verify all the information you provide, so you make it easier on your recruiter if you provide complete contact information for your previous jobs, professional references, and specialized credentials. Let your professional references know that someone will be calling to confirm your skills, before the recruiter calls. The easier you make the job for the recruiter, the faster you will be placed in a new, better position.

Then you must give the recruiter all the information you have about your qualifications and past work experiences. Make sure your curriculum vitae (CV) is completely up-to-date. Provide the recruiter with any information such as awards, special accreditations or internships, and any other distinctions that will make you stand out from the crowd.

If you have professors, mentors or previous coworkers that your recruiter can call, it is best if you provide all the information up front. In addition, if there are any lapses in employment or unusual work or educational reference, be sure to explain them to the recruiter at the beginning of the job search. You will save your recruiter much time and hassle by preparing this information for him or her.

Finally, if you are working with more than one recruiter, be honest about this upfront. The recruiters will eventually find out, anyway. You don’t want two recruiters sending you to the same interviewer, or have to suddenly announce that you’re no longer on the job market because your other recruiter has found you a job. Keep the recruiter informed.

Honestly Present Your Goals and Talents

The first time you meet or teleconference with your recruiter, he or she will ask you questions to determine your goals and talents. Be sure that you have spent some time in honest self-assessment about these traits. Your recruiter needs this information to place you in the best possible position.

Humility is no excuse for not portraying your talents properly. Your recruiter needs to know just what you are most capable of and what you are not so talented in. If you underestimate yourself to the recruiter, he or she will have little opportunity to present you at your best to a client. By the same token, excessive pride may do you more harm than good. If you over-promote yourself or exaggerate your accomplishments, the recruiter and client will have to sort out the truth at some point. This will reflect negatively on you and the recruiter. Even if you were to land a job with inflated claims about your skills, you may have difficulty maintaining the role with your current talents.

The recruiter’s goal is to place you in a position that will provide maximum benefit to you and the hiring organization. So if you tell the recruiter that you have plenty of experience managing staff, but your goal is to find a job with less responsibility or more focus on treating patients, the recruiter has the information he or she needs to match you with the right role. Make sure the recruiter knows your long-range plans, such as the desire to retire in five years or to work into a sub-specialty. If you are abounding in talent in an area where you’re burned out, make sure the recruiter understands that you’re looking to move in a new direction. All of this information will help the recruiter understand where to place you.

Be Clear About Your Job Expectations and Compensation

There’s nothing worse than being placed in a job and find the hiring manager’s expectations were much different than you assumed. Make sure your recruiter knows what you expect and be sure you have a complete set of expectations from the client. For example, you may want to work no more than forty hours each week, or you may want to have some say in the decisions made at the new organization. If the practice requires you to do some traveling or to teach, that information should be shared with you and you should be honest about what you will agree to.

Don’t be so dazzled by a wonderful opportunity that you are willing to agree to expectations that will have you frustrated within a few months. Be sure that you clearly and firmly communicate your boundaries to the recruiter, and weigh your job options against them.

The same is true about compensation. A dream job with little compensation may or may not be worth it. Talk honestly to your recruiter about your bottom line. Let him or her know the minimum pay you will accept and what your hoped-for salary would be. This is not a poker game, where you bluff the other player. Your recruiter must have this information to present you with appropriate opportunities. Neither the recruiter nor the client wants you to become excited about a position and then turn it down because the salary is below your level of acceptance.

Practice Interviews with Your Recruiter

Your interview with a hiring manager is not a fact-finding mission – it is an audition. The hiring manager wants to know if you’re the best candidate for the job and whether your personality will mesh with the team. Once the interview is completed, you want one of two things to happen: you either want the manager to extend a job offer, or you want them to move you to the next step in the interview and hiring process. That is why it’s crucial to prepare for the interview.

Work with your recruiter to identify likely interview questions, and polish your responses to those questions. Run through ideas for discussing your previous job responsibilities to the best advantage, and review the expectations and job duties of the job you are interviewing for.

Ask for his or her feedback on your physical presentation or any suggestions on professional dress. If you meet in person to prepare for the interview, the recruiter should be able to tell you, among other things, if you use distracting hand gestures or don’t carry yourself in a way that does not project confidence or authority. Remember that your recruiter wants you to succeed, so heed any advice you are given. Be coachable.

The recruiter has inside information that will give you a competitive edge. Ask them for any helpful information they have about the interviewer, such as their hot buttons, interviewing style, personal interests and personality. If you’ve interviewed with this company or interviewer before, discuss next steps with the recruiter. You may or may not want to pursue this opportunity. If you have any reservations about the job, the duties, or the interviewer, you must take this opportunity to talk it through with your recruiter. And finally, ask the recruiter for specific instructions on how to locate the interviewer and whether there are any security procedures you should be aware of.

Give the Best Interview You Are Capable of Giving

You owe it to yourself, the recruiter, and the interviewer to follow through and give the best interview you can. If you get cold feet, call the recruiter – don’t cancel the interview. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before, and make sure you bring a copy of your CV with you, or perhaps two: one for you and one for the interviewer, in case he or she has forgotten to bring one.

Display enthusiasm for the role. Any concerns or red flag should have been thoroughly discussed with the recruiter prior to the interview, so you should be able to display competence and excitement about the opportunity. If you you don’t, you will appear lackadaisical or the interviewer will think you’re just not interested. Once this impression has been formed, it will be difficult to change the manager’s mind.

Respond to Your Recruiter after the Interview

You just finished a phone or more important a in-person interview. What is the first thing you need to do once you finish? CALL YOUR RECRUITER!

Your recruiter will be talking with the client very shortly after your interview and needs information from you to most effectively represent you. Many times this is the conversation that can make or break the deal.

Some candidates go through the entire preparation and interview process only to disappear from the face of the earth after an interview. However, the recruiter needs honest, insightful feedback from you – whether you’re interested in the specific job or whether you’re no longer interested in relocating. Recruiters take their direction from you. If you are interested in this position they will do all they can to help you get an offer. If you are not interested, they need to know why. That will help them fine-tune your search and key in on specifics that are most important to you.

Tell your recruiter who you met, what questions were asked of you, and how you responded to those questions. If you feel you didn’t give a good interview, the recruiter might give you a more objective opinion. And if you don’t feel like you gave a good answer to a question, the recruiter can potentially smooth things over with the interviewer. The recruiter will also share with you feedback from the interviewer that will help you continue with placement, whether it is with the current client or another organization.

The recruiter will need to know if you’re still committed to a job search and how interested you are in the position that you interviewed for. At this point, you should indicate if there is any other interviewing activity that will prevent you from accepting an offer.

Partner with Your Recruiter

The recruiter will act as your advocate as long as you are participating fully in the process and cooperate with his or her efforts. Physician recruiting is an art, rather than a science, and requires attention from you as well as diligent work and the insightful matching of your talents with a hiring need. The recruiter is your partner in this process, and you need to treat him or her as such. Your honesty and commitment to the recruiter will facilitate your objective – obtaining that new position.

Bob Eskridge is the founder of Eskridge & Associates, a service disability, veteran owned, small business, focusing on the placement of physicians on a nationwide basis both on a permanent and contract basis. Bob began his staffing career at RHI Management Resources in 1999 where he came to register as a contract CFO and left as an account executive. He personally brought in over $1 million dollars in gross revenues his first year.

Bob went on to become a Branch Manager with Express Personnel in San Antonio and Professional Services Division Manager in Austin. Bob is one of a handful that has five industry certifications. He is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), Certified Temporary Staffing Specialist (CTS), a Certified Physician Recruiter (PRC) and a Certified Employee Retention Specialist (CERS) through the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS). He is also a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP) through the American Staffing Association. He has recently published his first book: “So you Always wanted to be a Physician Recruiter and is working on his second book titled, “The ABCs of Black Belt Physician Recruiting.”


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