Your Path to Program Success: Expert Advice

Looking for Career Advancements? Tips for Making the Most of a Relationship with a Recruiter

Kevin Miracle, Recruiter, Corazon, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Kevin Miracle, Recruiter, Corazon, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
If you have ever been contacted by a recruiter, they most likely have been contracted by a hospital or practice to identify and screen candidates with a background similar to the skill set you currently possess for an open position. Recognizing your unique skills, the recruiter has gone to great lengths to identify and make contact with you. You may be wondering, “Is this a stroke of pure luck? Is there any value in working with a recruiter?” There is an absolute value in working with a recruiter when you are looking for new career opportunities. The following information has been compiled to highlight tips for making your partnership with a recruiter successful. Benefits for Potential Candidates Experts predict that up to 80% of positions are no longer advertised using traditional methods such as newspaper or online classified ads. Given the current economy, hospitals cannot afford to leave key service line positions vacant for long, and instead must rely on a more aggressive means of filling open positions. We believe that recruiters are most effective in filling a position quickly with the highest probability for long-term success. Furthermore, recruiters often have access to hidden opportunities. Using a niched recruiter can provide greater access to positions in a particular field. Qualified candidates should not waste time exploring positions that do not match their career focus; thus, working with a firm specialized within a particular industry like cardiovascular heightens the chances of finding a position in a cath lab, EP lab, or interventional suite. Still, many continue to ask, what is the advantage of working with recruiters? What do they have to offer? Often, healthcare organizations or clinical practices directly hire recruiters to identify candidates for cath lab or other cardiovascular management positions. Such positions are typically difficult to fill, as well-rounded, experienced candidates are in short supply, especially within the heart and vascular specialty. In fact, several of our current clients report job searches that have lasted greater than two years before turning to an outside recruitment firm. Those who do possess the required skill set may not be ‘in the market’ for changing jobs. But, the role of a recruiter is to seek out the most qualified candidates — the ‘best-of-the-best’ — and attempt to place them into another position that meets their career goals. The hospital expects the recruiter to identify candidates who currently possess the required skills, so the hire needs very little to no additional training once in the new position. Still, despite the benefits, making the decision to work with a recruiter can be a difficult one. Before you make contact with the recruiter, keep these four tips in mind to help you maximize your relationship with the recruiter: 1. Treat the recruiter as the final decision-maker. While a recruiter is not the final decision maker, they are the first point of contact you have with the organization. Maintain professionalism in your interactions and make sure you proofread all written communications, including email correspondence. Don’t ever diminish your level of professionalism because of the informality in conversations with the recruiter. Always conduct these conversations as if you are speaking directly with the hiring manager. Realize that you are being assessed on your professionalism and communication style during all interactions. 2. Take advice seriously. Good recruiters have a solid understanding of their client’s organizational culture and expectations. Any advice provided to you by the recruiter should be considered ‘insider information’ on the organization. Listen to and seriously consider their advice, especially when you will be speaking with the hiring manager or other personnel at the organization. Likewise, if you are extended an employment offer, the recruiter is aware of industry trends and market factors when it comes to negotiating compensation packages. For this reason, hiring organizations frequently involve the recruiter in this process. This current market knowledge is a true resource that many candidates fail to take advantage of during negotiations. The recruiter will work diligently to ensure that your compensation and benefits package is based on fair market value. This unbiased expertise can be beneficial for both the hiring organization and the candidate. 3. Communicate with the recruiter. Make sure you tell the recruiter exactly what you are looking for. Be clear and upfront about your requirements regarding the type of organization you prefer to work for, geographic limitations for relocation and any salary expectations. Also, maintain open communications during the recruitment process and keep the recruiter abreast of your interest level, especially if circumstances change. If you decide you are no longer interested in a specific position, inform the recruiter immediately. Also, regular, respectful follow up with the recruiter is good, though pestering is bad. For example, calls or emails every week for feedback and follow up are considered standard practice; several calls per day, however, may not be necessary. If you do not hear back from the recruiter in a timely fashion, do not take it personally. One of the more common reasons for a delayed response is indicative of the recruiter not receiving the feedback they are waiting for from the hiring organization. Or, the recruiter could be out of the office. 4. Respect the unspoken rules of working with a recruiter. Be honest. It is important to inform the recruiter if you are also working with other search firms and evaluating other opportunities. As in any work setting, open communication and honesty is essential. You should also always be open and honest regarding your education, experience and professional credentials. An experienced recruiter knows what their client is looking for and is savvy regarding the required credentials. Any untruth, no matter how minor, will be revealed eventually, doing much to damage your chances of hire. Be ethical. A candidate should never try to circumvent the recruiter to get a position. There is almost always language in a contract that will require an employer to refer all applicants they receive for a position to the recruitment firm. If you had spoken with the firm and tried to go behind the scenes, so to speak, the recruiter will almost certainly find out. This could cause the recruiter to question your ethics and remove your candidacy status. Being “caught in the middle” almost always results in a difficult situation and often the hiring manager will remove the applicant in order to eliminate the issue.1 Benefits for Hiring Facilities On the other hand, the hospital itself can reap many benefits when working with an outsourced recruiter compared to facilities that attempt to fill these difficult vacancies on their own. With access to multiple client postings, along with a nationwide pool of potential candidates, recruiters possess the tools to find that perfect fit. It can be more economical to use a recruiter than to advertise in newspapers or the internet, especially since the price tag for such ads keeps going up. Furthermore, with ads, there’s no guarantee on the number or caliber of candidates that will apply. Most recruiting firms have developed databases of candidates with details on skills, credentials, location and employment history. This established network of qualified individuals and the relationships with them are among the greatest benefits of working with a recruiter. Experienced recruiters understand which candidates will fit best within which organization, making the entire search and hiring process much smoother from both the hospital and candidate perspectives. The hiring organization almost always pays for the search; thus, no financial burden rests on the candidates. Interested candidates get all of the benefits of the recruiter without any of the fees. How to Begin Our company is a nationwide cardiovascular recruitment and consulting agency. Over 90% of our recruitment engagements are for a retained search, which means the hospital pays all fees associated with the recruitment process, including candidate travel to and from the facility during the recruitment process. We recruit for cardiovascular-specific leadership positions, and on occasion, for non-management (staff) level positions that involve a large amount of direct patient care. The rare exception would be for physician extender roles, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. We are often asked, “How do I begin the recruitment process with a firm like yours?” As a first step, candidates will usually submit their resumes directly via email or direct mail. A cover letter will indicate the type of opportunity the candidates are seeking. Once a resume or curriculum vitae is reviewed by a recruiter, the next step is a telephone screening interview to discuss the candidate’s experience and professional credentials, and how they may match qualifications for all open positions. Once this interview is complete and the determination has been made that the candidate meets qualifications for a specific position, the recruiter acts as the candidate’s spokesperson to the hiring organization. Remaining steps in the recruitment process are specific to each organization and are shared with the candidate by the recruiter at the completion of the screening interview. To learn about current opportunities available through Corazon Recruit-ment, visit our web listing at www.corazoninc.com/recruitment/currentphys/current.html.
References
1. Santiago A. Do’s and Don'ts for Working with a Professional Recruiter: How to Get the Most Out of Your Recruiter. Available at http://healthcareers.about.com/od/advanceyourcareer/a/RecruiterDoDont.htm. Accessed February 16, 2009.