Who is This Physician Recruiter and Why are They Calling Me So Often?

By Todd Vandewalker, MHA, FASPR | Recruiter Resources | Winter 2019


Physician recruiters are often perceived negatively. Even the term “recruiter” can bring up past, poor experiences and negative stereotypes. As in any industry, there are significant differences in talent and experience that can lead to a wonderful or disastrous hiring process. Continue reading to learn more about the types of physician recruiters, their motivations and specific recommendations on when and how to utilize them for the highest possible chance of landing your next, ideal opportunity.

In-House Physician Recruiters:

Advantages: In-house physician recruiters are employed by the health organization you are considering joining. They generally live in or nearby the community they recruit for and are quite knowledgeable about both the hospital/clinic and the amenities available in the area. Good in-house physician recruiters are looking for the best talent available because these new physicians often end up caring for their family, friends, neighbors and even themselves! They are motivated to find the right fit because they must work side-by-side for potentially many years and administration evaluates their success by the quality of candidates hired. In-house recruiters are part of the decision-making team and have easy access to executives. They can quickly become your close friend!

Disadvantages: The disadvantage of in-house recruiters is that they are limited in their options and typically recruit for a small geographical area. Because in-house physician recruiters are a significant decision maker, you must treat them professionally and establish a strong rapport. If you don’t have a solid relationship with the recruiter, your chances of being selected are slim.

Agency Recruiters:

There are two main types of agency recruiters: retained and contingent. It is important to note agency recruiters typically do not cost the physician anything; however, they are very expensive to the potential employer, which could impact a potential offer.

Contingency firms work 100% on commission and only get paid if they successfully fill the search. This incentivizes them to carry as many opportunities and work with as many candidates as possible. The upside to working with a contingency firm is they typically have many options to choose from in a variety of locations and practice settings. If finding a very specific location is not a crucial parameter of your search or you are evaluating the overall market, working with a well-known contingency recruiter can provide a lot of value. The negative is these recruiters are often sending many candidates for each opportunity in the hopes one is signed, so the competition can be fierce. They tend to know limited details about the opportunities, have rarely been to the community and as trained sales professionals, can often use sales tactics to pressure candidates into proceeding with an opportunity when they may not be ready or genuinely interested.

Retained firms are paid an up-front retainer and traditionally a monthly amount regardless of whether the search is successful. They generally work with the hospital or clinic on a long-term basis and continuously fill needs as they arise. The benefits of a good retained firm are: they generally have strong knowledge about the opportunities they represent, have built strong relationships with their clients and can really help you get in the door. The major disadvantage to traditional retained firms is they usually represent very challenging-to-fill opportunities, which is why they are so costly. These challenges can include hard-to-fill locations (rural, underserved, etc.) or practice dynamics (employer doesn’t know how to recruit, many candidates have already declined the position, low earning potential and so on).

Executive Agents follow the sports and talent agency model in that they represent you and your interests and not the employer. They will help guide you through the recruitment process, explain how to find opportunities, write your CV, advocate for your goals, help you prepare and practice for interviews, negotiate your employment contract and so on. In exchange, you will typically pay an up-front retainer or a percentage of your first-year salary after you’re hired. This service could be valuable if you’ve interviewed at multiple locations and keep finding yourself without an offer. These agencies are very good at helping candidates practice for the interview because they are incentivized when you finally sign. It is up to you on whether the cost associated is worth it. From my experience, an experienced recruiter will be able to help you with some interview preparation for free, but keep in mind they represent the employer and not necessarily your interests. You should certainly not be paying any fees for any recruiter that is not specifically representing you and your financial interests.


Most practices utilize a recruiter for their physician searches. This could be in-house, agency or a combination of both. My advice is to work with an experienced recruiter who is very knowledgeable about your specialty and the practice dynamics of the group you are considering joining. It is very costly and time consuming to interview for opportunities that don’t meet your professional goals. The best way to learn is to ask these questions up-front to your recruiter and make sure they are a good representation of the opportunity they are looking to fill. Any recruiter that is unwilling or unable to help guide you through the process or spend the time necessary to make sure you understand the opportunity is likely indicative of their employer and perhaps not the best fit. Good luck in your efforts!



MINK Physician Recruiter Spotlight – Rob Dinneen

Recruiter Resources | Winter 2019



Rob Dinneen, Physician Recruitment


Liberty Hospital, a 225 bed Level II trauma center in Liberty, Missouri (Kansas City metro area)

Why did you choose to become a physician recruiter?

Actually, it kind of chose me.  I had no idea there was such a thing as a physician recruiter. I had a background in HR and as an EMT and I had a friend who worked at HCA. She mentioned to me there was a physician recruiter opportunity available. I applied and got the job.

What’s your favorite part of recruiting physicians?

I enjoy talking with young residents and fellows just finishing training. I like being a resource for them as they navigate the maze of finding their first position. Most residency programs don’t teach a lot about preparing a CV, interviewing, negotiating, contracts, etc. Even if they don’t end up accepting a position with us, I feel like I’ve developed a relationship for the future.

What’s your best piece of advice for physicians in their job search?

Start early. Everything takes longer than you think it will! Also, don’t look at too many opportunities. Narrow it down to three or four that have what you want. You won’t have the time or resources to look carefully at a bunch of different opportunities.

What can physicians look forward to in your community?

Liberty is a great family-friendly community with a long history. Great schools, activities and people. We are also about 20 minutes from Kansas City and all it has to offer.



Search Smarter, Find Faster

Recruiter Resources


Conducting your candidate search efficiently and effectively using PracticeLink’s Active Candidate Database

Physician vacancies undoubtedly affect your bottom line. By filling your vacant positions quicker, you’re saving your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Use PracticeLink’s Active Candidate Database to look beyond just the clinical skills and expertise you need. Taking those extra steps to find the right candidate, not just any candidate, reduces your long-term costs of high turnover and additional recruitment costs. By taking the extra step to actively recruit, you’ll increase your recruiting ROI and your retention rates.

All the candidates in PracticeLink’s Active Candidate Database have opted in as active job seekers. Our Database makes it easy for you to be an active recruiter and do more than just post your job and passively wait for those candidates to come to you.

In-house recruiters search PracticeLink’s Active Candidate Database, email or call candidates directly, and filter their results for physicians that best match their opportunities.

You can find registered candidates two ways, both easy.

Candidate Quick Search

Make your candidate search as quick or in-depth as you have time for. Do a Candidate Quick Search to sort by:

• Profession
• Specialty
• Geographic Preferences

Advanced Candidate Search

Use the Advanced Candidate Search feature to filter additional search criteria:

• Board certification
• Citizenship status
• Medical school country
• Keyword search (for example: search by location, hobbies/interests, languages) •And much more!

The Candidate Profile will help you learn personal and professional information provided by the candidate, including: contact information, academic information, professional interests, personal interests, practice experiences, licenses, presentations, clinical research, professional societies, honors, languages and more!

Your searches can be saved and used as often as you like. Once you’ve completed a search, you can create a call list or send a targeted broadcast email to reach out to those potential candidates. Make sure you get back to those candidates quickly! In today’s market, your delayed response time could cost you that ideal candidate!



Would you Apply to Your Job Posting?

Recruiter Resources


Five tips to help you create quality job postings that attract quality candidates

It all starts with you, the recruiter. The quality of your job posting will determine the quality of the candidates who respond. Your time is valuable and most likely scarce, but by taking the time to create a great posting initially, you’ll attract those excellent candidates fast.

To in-demand physicians who are overwhelmed with options, all job postings start to look the same after a while. Your details, personalization and creativity make the difference. When candidates have so many opportunities to wade through, standing out is of the essence!

Tip 1: Speak to the kind of provider who will be perfect for your community.

  • Start by considering which providers are currently your organization’s best fits. What needs to be included in your job posting to attract this same level of talent? What types of things would be important and appealing to them? These are the details you must include.

Tip 2: Write to both active and passive candidates.

  • Passive candidates aren’t necessarily looking for a job, but the more information you put out there, the more you’ll create awareness of who you are, and you’ll be top-of-mind when they decide to make a change!
  • Active candidates are likely to apply no matter what, so writing to top talent from the start will ensure all your bases are covered.

Tip 3: Craft a compelling headline.

  • As a candidate scrolls through job listings, your headline is often your only chance to catch that candidate’s attention and get him or her to consider your position. Consider how your headline is going to open that door for you.
  • Don’t use your job title as your headline. Include information that goes beyond profession, specialty, employer and state.
  • Showcase your “So What” value proposition — what do the job, organization, and community have to offer that make your opportunity better than others?

Tip 4: Paint the picture. Write an appealing posting that includes details, details and more details.

  • Incorporate logos and attractive pictures of your community and facility. Provide color and excitement about your organization, community accolades, recreational activities, schools and housing market.
  • Use all multimedia available to you, such as videos, photos and testimonials from current employees.

Tip 5: Create awareness. Use every avenue available to get your job posting out there!

  • Use your PracticeLink broadcast email feature.
  • Share the job posting link on your organization’s website and social media outlets.
  • Don’t forget the importance of advertising and branding through other media like magazines, journals, and events.