Preparing for your interview

An inDepth Interview with PracticeLink can help you stand out to in-house physician recruiters.

By Chris Scites | PracticeLink Tips | Summer 2020

 

The job search is stressful—and anyone who has ever looked for a job can relate. That’s especially true when it comes to the interview.

An interview is the culmination of sometimes months of contact with a potential employer via phone and email. No matter how good you appear on paper, an interview can make or break your chances of working somewhere. The good thing is that if you’ve made it to the interview stage, there’s a good chance the recruiter thinks you could be a good fit for the opportunity.

By the time of an interview, both parties have a lot invested in the job-search process. But that doesn’t mean you should rush anything. Though you’ll want to take the opportunity to sell your unique qualities, also take the time to ask questions of your own—and follow these steps before you go.

Review your CV

Review the CV you have shared with the potential employer. (Or start it at PhysicianCV.com.) Be prepared to discuss in detail and expand on any item. If you’ve done research, what drew you to the topic, and what did you find most interesting? Who was your favorite professor in medical school and why? What did you like about living in the area where you did your residency? Consider any examples of challenges you’ve overcome or problems you’ve solved creatively, and be prepared to share.

Identify a hook

Once you’ve reviewed your CV, it’s time to start thinking about what sets you apart. One way to stand out is through an inDepth Interview with PracticeLink.

After you create a free candidate profile on PracticeLink, our physician relations team will contact you for one of these brief interviews. We’ll ask you the who, what and why of your job search—the things that set you apart. After all, it’s fair to assume that all the other candidates that are being interviewed for the position have similar qualifications. So what is it about you that makes you the best fit? Your answer might include a back story about why you are so passionate about the field that you are practicing in, a familial tie to community, or a special interest in the employer. You’re looking to share anything that makes you uniquely perfect for the role.

With your permission, information from your inDepth Interview is shared with in-house physician recruiters who are looking to hire in the areas in which you’re interested. Your participation not only increases their understanding of your skills and interest in your profile, but it also gives you a chance to practice the interview process with questions we’ve honed over decades of working with both physicians and employers.

Research the organization

Make sure you do your research on the organization that you are interviewing with. This helps you avoid any awkward moments when they inevitably ask you what you know about them, and it will help guide your development of questions you’ll want to ask them. Remember that if you do get the position, you will likely be there for at least a couple of years. Of course you are going to want to ask about compensation structures, insurance, tail coverage, call and numerous things to do with the practice itself. But you will also be living in that community. If you have children, ask about the schools and extracurricular activities popular in the area. Do you have a spouse or significant other? Will they be able to find work? Don’t forget that, though your work life is important, it’s the total experience of living in the community that will have the biggest impact on your family’s quality of life.

The most important thing to remember about your interview is to be prepared. It is much easier to relax and project confidence when you are prepared. Study the materials you have submitted and the organization. Practice the interview and conduct an inDepth Interview —then nail the interview and achieve your dream practice.

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s director of physician relations. Contact his team for free job-search help at (800) 776-8383.

 

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Free resources for your job search

PracticeLink offers assistance online, in person, over the phone—and even in your mailbox.

By Chris Scites | PracticeLink Tips | Spring 2020

 

Through my role with PracticeLink, I have had the opportunity to attend a number of specialty conferences. In 2019 alone, I represented PracticeLink at SHM, ACP-IM, ACOG, AAFP-FMX and ACG. It’s a pleasure to meet face-to-face with some of the physicians and advanced practice providers who use PracticeLink throughout their job search, and introduce PracticeLink to those who haven’t yet started.

One of the first questions I get asked by those in that group is, “How can PracticeLink help me in my job search?”

How can PracticeLink help?

The answer I always give is that PraticeLink helps physicians through the job search in the same way that a fully outfitted operating suite helps a surgeon. It provides the tools you need when you need them.

PracticeLink provides you, the job seeker, with a complete set of resources that helps you find your dream practice using the criteria that are personal and important to you.

Search for jobs

You don’t have to create an account on PracticeLink to see the opportunities posted at more than 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, medical groups and independent practices. When you search anonymously on PracticeLink, you can select from a number of filters in the search tool that allow you to view opportunities based on criteria such as geography, visa waivers, or if it’s an academic position.

If you choose to create a PracticeLink profile, you’ll unlock even more tools. Specify the criteria you’re looking for in your next opportunity, and we’ll send you a Job Messenger email that notifies you of new opportunities that match. You can also use PracticeLink or PhysicianCV.com to enter your professional information and create a downloadable CV if you don’t already have one.

Creating a PracticeLink account also gives you the choice to share your criteria and profile with in-house physician recruiters. Sharing your profile allows in-house physician recruiters—recruiters who work directly for the organizations for which they’re recruiting—the ability to find and evaluate you for their opportunities. This means that the recruiter has the opportunity to consider whether you’d be a good fit even before they reach out.

Complete an interview

To communicate your criteria and fit for new opportunities even further, complete a Candidate Interview with one of PracticeLink’s Physician Relations representatives. We’ll reach out to you when you register at PracticeLink.com for a short interview to delve into the whys of your ideal practice. Why you are interested in the location you’ve indicated? Do you have family nearby, enjoy the activities in the community, or are just interested in somewhere new? Why did you decide on your specialty, and what kind of environment are you looking for in a new practice?

The information you provide through this brief interview helps you stand out in the PracticeLink system. In-house recruiters use the information to learn why you may or may not be a good fit for the opportunities they have available.

During the interview, feel free to ask your physician relations representative any questions you have about your job search. The team speaks to thousands of physicians each year and can answer any questions you have about your job search, CV and more.

Get help in person

Remember those specialty conferences I mentioned earlier? Stop by the PracticeLink booth at nearly two dozen conferences each year to receive free job-search help, create a job-search profile, enter to win a $500 Visa gift card and pick up some swag!

Or attend a PracticeLink Live! Career Fair in a city near you (see page 21 for details). Each PracticeLink Live! event brings employers from across the nation right to you. Learn about their communities and opportunities while networking and enjoying a complimentary buffet dinner and drinks. Free parking, free attendance, a free job-search seminar and $1,000 in door prizes are featured at each event. Register to attend at info.practicelink.com/2020-practicelinklive.

Access free resources

In your mailbox and on the PracticeLink website and FirstPractice.com, you can access all kinds of helpful career resources. In quarterly themed magazines (like this one), PracticeLink aims to help you thoroughly understand and prepare for your job search. Learn about everything from negotiating a contract to how employers are helping physicians achieve the right work/life balance.

This is just a brief overview of the tools and resources that PracticeLink makes available to help you with your job search—and we’re always working on ways to add more. PracticeLink is more than a job board; it’s a complete set of tools to help you find your dream practice. •

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s director of physician relations. Reach his team for free job-search help and to complete an inDepth Interview at (800) 776-8383.

 

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It’s not just the job

You may have found a place to work…but can you actually be happy living in the community?

By Chris Scites | PracticeLink Tips | Winter 2020

 

Have you ever lived somewhere you didn’t like? Not just your apartment or house, but the actual community? Maybe when you moved there, you thought that you could make it work…after all, if you like your job and there’s running water, how bad could it be?

Picture this…

During the honeymoon phase, things are OK. But then you settled in at your new job, you’ve unpacked all your moving boxes (or given up and stacked them in a closet) and decide to treat yourself to a curry. That’s when you realize the closest curry place is over an hour away, and they close at 7.

Undaunted, you learn to make your own curry and keep trying to find things to like about where you live. You start to forget about all the things you used to do after work…and then you go on a vacation, or a trip to a CME conference. Suddenly, all the things you used to do are there again. When you get home, you realize that you’re actually kind of miserable, but you better get used to it because there are two more years on your contract and you won’t be going anywhere soon.

Finding a great place

Considering where you want to live is one of the most important parts of your job search. There are undoubtedly things you do love that are unique to you. Start keeping a journal of what you enjoy doing in your off hours, and note how important it is that you have easy access to them. Is a good trout stream a need-to-have? What about art galleries? What’s crucial, what’s nice, and what are you OK doing only on vacation?

It’s not just the activities, either. Also consider the area’s culture and the practice type. What kind of procedures do you want to do most often? What kind of call arrangement are you hoping to find? What kind of relationship are you hoping to have with colleagues? In what kind of environment will you best fit?

Make your need-to-have, nice-to-have and doesn’t-really-matter lists. If you have a significant other or kids, make sure they make one, too. Figure out the places that have these things available, and let that guide your job search.

PracticeLink can help

Make sure you update or add an inDepth Interview to your PracticeLink profile. The inDepth Interview expands on what’s in your profile so in-house physician recruiters can understand the why behind your interest in an area or opportunity.

The process helps you, too, narrow in on what you’re looking for in a new opportunity. An inDepth Interview added to your PracticeLink profile will help you find opportunities you might not have found in your own search but that might be the perfect fit.

You may be a city person, a country person, or a person who doesn’t care which as long as there’s at least a solid week a year where the ground is completely covered in snow. These are things you need to know about yourself and your family to help can guide your search.

No employer wants one of its physicians actively planning their escape a year before their contract has ended. An employer wants you to be happy where you live and work. They don’t want to find a replacement!

PracticeLink and our inDepth Interview team are here to help you let potential employers know what you’re looking for in your next opportunity—and your next place to live.

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s director of physician relations. Reach his team for free job-search help and to complete an inDepth Interview at (800) 776-8383.

 

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Traveling to a specialty conference?

Your trip can help you strengthen your network or even find a new practice.

By Chris Scites | Fall 2019 | PracticeLink Tips

 

Every year, in cities across the nation, it happens.

In places like Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and many others, the denizens of these fine cities wake up one day to find that their downtowns have been inundated by thousands—sometimes tens of thousands—of physicians and other medical professionals. They swarm around convention centers and nearby hotels and restaurants. The younger ones often carry tubes on their backs, talking to each other in the mysterious language of their specialty. Entire blocks of downtowns are sometimes shut off so that vendors of various tools and potions can pay tribute to these practitioners. And then, in a few days, as quickly as they came, they disperse…until next year.

OK, so that may be a little dramatic. But specialty conferences—especially the annual conferences of large organizations like the American College of Physicians (ACP) or Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM)—are a big deal. There is a lot going on at each conference, starting early in the morning and often running late into the evening.

You’ll find lectures about new developments in your specialty and numerous opportunities to earn CME credits. If you can get to one, they are well worth your time—especially if you are looking for your first or next practice.

Work the room

Almost every specialty conference, both the large and the small, have exhibit halls. This is more than the place to stock up on free pens or register to win the latest Apple Watch. With a little planning, you can jump-start your job search and get preliminary interviews with several different potential employers while you’re at the conference.

Most conferences publish a list of exhibitors online before the event. Many of these exhibitors will be hospitals or groups attending the conference specifically to recruit clinicians in your specialty.

Study this list. See if there are any employers in which you’re interested. Before the conference, take some time to tailor a CV and cover letter to each of the employers that interest you.

Draft a list of specific questions. The conference will be the perfect opportunity to skip past emails and phone calls and get face-to-face with a representative who is there specifically to find good candidates.

Contact the organization ahead of time, and ask the physician recruiter if you can set up a specific time to talk. If you’ve done your homework and take a proactive approach, you’ll stand out among the other candidates. Those first impressions can go a long way in helping you land a job there.

PracticeLink can help

PracticeLink attends about 20 specialty conferences each year. Stop by the PracticeLink booth while you’re in the exhibit hall.

We can share your interest with employers that match your job-search criteria, and our physician relations representatives can provide free job-search help.

Specialty conferences provide many great opportunities. They are, of course, helpful for earning CME credits and looking for new opportunities. But they are also great places to network and make new contacts.

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s director of physician relations. Reach his team at (800) 776-8383 for free job-search help.

 

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How to do your pre-interview homework

PracticeLink.com can help you learn more about an organization before your first call.

By Chris Scites | PracticeLink Tips | Summer 2019

 

As a physician, you face many decisions about where to practice. There are all kinds of factors: the distance you want to be to family; educational facilities available to your children; opportunities available to your spouse; distance to an airport—even how long it would take to get to the slopes if you happen to be an avid skier.

And that’s not even considering what type of organization for which you want to work.

Just like people, every hospital and organization is different. Even if they provide the exact same services in similar locations, there will almost certainly be differences among organizations’ cultures, how they operate, and their relationships with the community.

First, determine your search criteria

As someone who is looking to commit to an organization for the next two to three years or longer, it is important that you first determine the type of organization that you want to be part of. Keep in mind that when you start working for a hospital, they represent you as much as you represent them—so make sure your values align.

Is community outreach important to you? Do you hope to be part of an organization that is on the cutting edge of research and technology? How about being attached to a hospital that consistently ranks well in your specialty?

Like just about everything else in your job search, you will need to determine the criteria important to you first.

Then, look on PracticeLink.com

Once you have determined what you are looking for in an organization, use PracticeLink to help you pick out the organizations closest to what you’re looking for.

On nearly every posting that you find on PracticeLink, the employer has had the opportunity to tell you a little bit about themselves. Usually, they will tell you something about their organization and the community in which they’re located. Most have pictures of the facility and community, and some have videos as well.

In the right hand pane of the posting, you’ll find a link to the organization’s profile on PracticeLink where you can find out even more about them. All of this information helps you get a feel for the organizations you are considering.

It can also help you develop questions to ask the in-house recruiter about the organization when you contact them about a specific opportunity. The recruiter’s contact information is located near the bottom right of every opportunity on PracticeLink. Contact them directly to learn more, or register with PracticeLink to email them with your interest and CV.

Lastly, and most importantly, remember that nothing replaces a site visit. Even with the information posted on PracticeLink and the independent research you have done on the organization, you may be surprised with what you find when you are at the facility and able to speak directly with physicians and staff.

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s physician relations manager. Reach his team for free job-search advice at (800) 776-8383.

 

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Curious about the jobs out there?

PracticeLink.com lets you conduct even a confidential job search.

By Chris Scites | PracticeLink Tips | Spring 2019

 

There comes a time in every physician’s life when, even though they might be fine in their current position, they would like to see what other opportunities are available.

This might be due to any number of reasons: curiosity about what else is available, a desire to relocate, wanting more diversity in cases, looking for more compensation, or dissatisfaction in their current role.

Problem is, you probably don’t want your current employer to know that you are looking until you’re ready to disclose it. And at the same time, your employer is likely combing physician recruitment sites, looking to hire more providers to your practice. Fortunately, with PracticeLink, it’s easy to look for opportunities and keep your search confidential from your current employer.

Browse confidentially

You don’t have to register with PracticeLink in order to see the jobs that are available. If you’re truly just curious to see what’s available in your specialty and location, simply browse the job profiles employers have posted on PracticeLink.com without registering.

Set your status to passively looking

If a job search is in your future, you’ll want to register for PracticeLink. When registering, set your job search status to “passively looking” if your search is confidential. You can choose this option while you’re setting up your profile. If you’ve already registered, you can change your status at any time in your account settings. From your dashboard, simply go to “My Account” and use the radio button near the bottom of the page to select the job search status that’s right for you.

Choosing “passively looking” will allow you to apply to jobs on PracticeLink, but will limit your profile visibility to only employers with jobs to which you’ve applied. Choosing “passively looking” will also let you receive PracticeLink’s Job Messenger email alerts, which notify you of new opportunities that match the criteria you’ve selected.

Hide your profile from specific employers

If you are interested in a more active job search (but would rather your current employer not know about it), another option is to hide your profile from specific employers.

In this case, switch your account’s job-search status to “active.” This will enable any in-house recruiter on PracticeLink to view your profile. Directly above that account setting, in the section labeled “Hide from specific employers,” there are two selection fields. The block on the left lists the employers that have opportunities posted on PracticeLink. Simply highlight the ones you don’t want to see your profile, and use the arrow buttons to move them to the right. Any employer in the block on the right will be unable to see your profile.

Pro tip: if you are looking for an opportunity with only one specific employer, use the double arrow to move everyone to the field on the right, then from that field select the employer or employers that you want to see your information. Use the single arrow to move them back to the left.

Even if you’re engaged in a confidential job search, PracticeLink can still help.

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s physician relations manager. Reach his team for free job-search advice at (800) 776-8383.

 

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The case for a narrow job search

Being open to any location can send the wrong message to physician recruiters.

By Chris Scites | PracticeLink Tips | Winter 2019

 

Online job search.

At a recent physician specialty conference, a client stopped by the PracticeLink booth to say hi and offer some feedback. As PracticeLink is dedicated to constant improvement, I paid close attention so I could pass the idea along.

However, this particular client’s issue had less to do with PracticeLink and more to do with the physicians who use it—specifically, the way that physicians select the geographic areas in which they’re interested in working.

Curious, I informally surveyed more physician recruiters and found that most agreed: They hate it when physicians list their geographic preferences as “open U.S.”—meaning you’re open to a new job in any location, nationwide.

Why being too open can backfire

From your perspective, this might not entirely make sense. After all, there is a good chance that you’re just finishing training and are, in fact, pretty open to where you’ll go next. And you certainly don’t want to miss any opportunity that might be a good fit, no matter where it might be located.

But from the perspective of in-house physician recruiters, this openness is a signal that, when your contract is up in two or three years, you’ll be packing up and heading out somewhere new.

So what’s the answer?

Obviously, there are no guarantees that you are going to like the place you go, no matter how much research you do beforehand. And though nobody will expect you to stay beyond your contract if you’re miserable, some prep work can minimize that chance and help you identify locations where you’ll be more likely to stay long-term.

First, there might be some parts of the country to which you’re already attracted. Start there, and try to figure out why you like about those areas. Is there another part of the country that has those same attributes?

Next, think back to a time when you had free time. What were the things you enjoyed doing, and how important are they to you now? Will those opportunities be available in the locations you’re considering?

Are you interested in being close to family? If so, make sure you include those areas in your preferences, and determine how far you’d be willing to drive for a visit. Recruiters love when a candidate has roots in their area, and it may give you a leg up. Consider, too, the opportunities available for your spouse or partner and children.

Once you have some places identified, make those your geographic preferences. The next step is to visit those locations, ideally through the interview process. When you get there, make sure you try and take some time to explore the area, not just the employer.

You may find that you were wrong and those are not places you want to live. That’s fine—and better to find out before a contract is signed. Remove the location from your preferences and take it as a lesson learned.

Picking a location is as important as picking a practice. Employers know this and are going to be a lot more interested in candidates who have done their homework and know exactly where they want to live.

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s physician relations manager. Reach his team for free job-search help at (800) 776-8383.

 

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What’s the difference in physician recruiter types?

Agency and in-house recruiters both aim to help physicians through their job search—but there are some differences in their approach.

By Chris Scites | Fall 2018 | PracticeLink Tips

 

businessman interviewing

As a job-seeking physician, you are probably receiving numerous emails from recruiters. If you’re lucky, you’re receiving far more than you know what to do with.

You may have noticed that some of these recruiters seem to represent specific hospitals or organizations, while others aren’t really clear about who in particular they represent. What you have noticed is the two main types of recruiters: in-house and agency.

Agency recruiters

An agency recruiter works for a staffing agency. Their agency will likely be working for multiple clients to fill their staffing needs—in this case, physicians.

A good agency recruiter tries to strike a balance between keeping the client happy by finding candidates to fill the client’s position in the hopes of repeat business and growing a long-term relationship with you, the candidate, in hopes that you will come back to them for your future job-search needs.

An agency recruiter may not immediately tell you who their client is, so you must go through them to pursue the opportunity. Agency recruiters almost always work on commission, giving them a lot of incentive to place you with one of their clients—but potentially lessening their concern about how good of a fit the position will be for everyone involved.

In-house recruiters

In contrast, an in-house recruiter works directly for a specific company. Sometimes an in-house recruiter may be covering the staffing needs of several facilities that are owned by their employer, and sometimes they serve only one facility. In-house recruiters have no reason to hide who they represent. This is primarily because they are trying to build their employer’s brand, not their own.

Unlike the agency recruiter who serves multiple clients and is interested in filling positions quickly, the in-house recruiter has only their employer to worry about and is just as worried about finding a candidate who will be a good fit long-term as they are about filling the position quickly.

This type of recruiter is usually very familiar with the culture of the company they represent and with the community the position is in, as it’s likely that they live there as well. In-house recruiters are generally salaried, and their pay is not as dependent on a quick turnaround.

The key difference between an agency and an in-house recruiter is that an agency recruiter is trying to fill a position for a client, whereas an in-house recruiter is looking to hire a colleague.

Which approach is best for you?

Deciding which recruiters to approach is a decision that you will have to make depending on your needs. Both types are usually very professional, just with slightly different goals.

Fortunately, once you have made your decision, PracticeLink makes separating the different types easy. Job search results on PracticeLink.com are separated into Employer Jobs (in-house recruiters), which is the default, and Agency Jobs (agency recruiters). After running a search for jobs in your specialty, simply click on the tabs at the top of the results to separate opportunities by their representatives.

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s physician relations manager. Reach his team for free job-search advice at (800) 776-8383.

 

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What’s your job-search action plan?

Make a list of your priorities, expand your network, and use PracticeLink to find your dream practice.

By Tammy Hager | PracticeLink Tips | Winter 2018

 

Job search word written on wood block. Wooden ABC

Many physicians find their final year of training stimulating, challenging…and overwhelming! Developing an action plan with a well-thought-out list of your priorities can help you manage your transition from training to practice.

Step 1: List your priorities

At PracticeLink, we recommend that you begin your job search by thinking about what is important to you in this stage of your life. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • What is most important to you?
  • What is important to your family?
  • What type of practice do you want?
  • Where do you want to live and work?

Step 2: Consult with practicing physicians

Most physicians agree that the most important things to think about during the transition from training to practice are geographic location and the key features and scope of a practice.

To help you through this phase, your action plan should include talking with colleagues who have been practicing for five or more years to learn about the realities of various practice settings.

Step 3: Hit the road

Another way to explore geographic locations and types of practices is to attend the state or national meetings of your specialty’s association or society. Many of these organizations can help link newly trained physicians to practicing physicians from all over the country.

PracticeLink Live! Physician Career Fairs (info.PracticeLink.com/CareerFair2018) are also good networking opportunities. There, physicians talk with recruiters from the local area, as well as from different states and cities, to determine if a location and organization is a good fit for them and their families.

Step 4: Use PracticeLink.com

PracticeLink helps physicians in all specialties find jobs nationwide. You can also create a free PracticeLink profile to allow recruiters who work in health care facilities across the country know when you are actively looking for a job. (You also have full control over your profile to protect your privacy.)

Step 5: Remember this advice

It can be overwhelming for residents in their final year of training to think of suddenly becoming a practicing physician. To help you manage through this discomfort, remember a few key last pieces of advice.

Narrow where and how you want to practice. Though it may seem frightening to choose a specific location and practice, remember that your first job is not likely to be your last job.

Make a list of priorities, and make your career decisions based on those priorities.

Seek to understand different practice settings. For example, try to gauge how decisions are made in the practices in which you’re interviewing, and who is involved in those decisions.

Remember that compensation isn’t everything. Money may not be the major decision maker if quality of life is higher on your list of priorities.

Your first practice may not have everything that is on your priority list, but creating that list is still worth doing. Use your list, ask colleagues, network and attend conferences to do the research and find your dream practice.

 

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7 Keys to a Successful Negotiation

It’s important for all physicians to understand the principles, proper conduct and mechanics of negotiating an employment agreement.

By Tammy Hager | Fall 2017 | PracticeLink Tips

 

Business people negotiating a contract.
There’s a lot for new physicians to understand when they are considering new employment opportunities.

If you’re nearing a contract review or compensation negotiation, take the time to understand the following keys to success.

Understand: The role of fit

Negotiating your contract and compensation are two of the more difficult areas to address when interviewing for a job. But before broaching those two topics, you must first make sure you find the right practice or position based on your personality, objectives and family needs. Yes, compensation is an important piece of that. However, first making sure the organization and community are good fits for you and your family will help the contract and compensation negotiations be much easier. Both you and the employer will be willing to give and take if they’re confident in a long-term arrangement.

Understand: Who’s on your job-search team

As you schedule interviews, you can ask your in-house recruiter about common employment contract terms and negotiable points. In-house recruiters are employed by the hospital, clinic or practice. You can also ask how compensation is handled in the contract and within the particular location or area you will be working. Organizations write contracts to cover many different physicians and specialties; therefore, there are areas in the contract that will not be negotiable. Other sections, such as those covering signing bonuses, loan repayments and moving expenses, may be topics for discussion.

Understand: How you will be paid

It is important to ask the right questions to understand how you will be paid. Some things to consider: Is the position with a teaching facility with a salary and incentives? Is it a private practice or employed position that uses wRVUs (Work Relative Value Units) to determine compensation based on work performed and appropriate billing practices?

Most income packages offered to new physicians are determined by regional market factors and compensation surveys conducted by organizations such as MGMA. Salaried positions with incentives are usually easy to understand. However, many practices compensate their physicians using a wRVU model. This compensation is based on work units performed rather than the number of patients seen. Ensure you understand how you will be paid for what you do.

Understand: What benefits are offered

In addition to compensation, you need to ask about the benefits offered by the employer. Typically, employers offer health insurance, license fees, medical staff dues and continuing medical education stipends. Also, many physician employees get three to four weeks of paid vacation and CME time. If your compensation is based in part on productivity, you will need to understand how your income may be affected when you take time off.

Understand: Your options for retirement

Many employers also provide retirement plans. In general, hospitals and health system employers offer a better range of benefits and more retirement options than private practices. Also, most employers pay for malpractice insurance. One thing to remember to ask about in the contract is if the employer pays for malpractice “tail” coverage. This covers incidents that happen during employment but are not litigated until after employment ends.

Understand: An attorney’s role

Once you have interviewed and have been offered a contract, we recommend consulting with a health care attorney to help you evaluate the contract. Choose an adviser who has experience working with physician contracts. Try to negotiate a flat fee with the attorney, and keep them focused on the areas in the contract that are negotiable. This will save you time and money. Do not have the attorney involved in the negotiation discussions. You should be the one who speaks directly with the organization about your contract.

Understand: Your role in your job search

Remember, you need to look for the right opportunity—clinically, professionally and personally. Take some time to make sure you ask questions. It is your responsibility to understand the employment contract and compensation offer. Make notes on anything that you do not understand or that needs clarification, and ask questions along the way. For more help on these topics, download our free 10-step job search guide.

Tammy Hager is PracticeLink’s director of client and physician relations. Reach her directly at (800) 776-8383 ext. 459.

 

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