Friday, February 18, 2005

Working with Recruiters – Getting the Most Value From The Relationship

There is magic to getting the most from your relationship and interactions with executive and professional search consultants, recruiters and career advisors.

Recruiters are knowledgeable advisors

First and foremost, “search consultants” and/or “recruiters” are your ally when seeking a new position. Think of them as highly knowledgeable and able resources that can shorten your learning curve, enhance your access to opportunities and help ease the pain of searching for a new position. If you leverage your relationships with them well, your job search can be significantly shortened and enhanced.

During the routine course of a recruiter’s average month, they are talking to hundreds of other candidates and hiring authorities about what is happening in healthcare and in the functions and disciplines that support the industry. They are experts at what is effective and what isn’t in presenting candidates. They know the short cuts to get you to the “top” of the heap of contenders – YOU need to be sharp about attracting them to work on your behalf.

What you need to do

Be armed to ask good questions and be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your career. Even if you are in a profession that is considered highly sought after, it might be that your personal preferences are to work in the same “hot” geographic location or for the same “top” health system or “leading” biopharmaceutical competitor as hundreds of others job seekers. A good recruiter can serve as “agent” and resource to guide you through the murky waters of assuring your credentials are presented well and in a manner that makes you “sizzle” as a candidate.

Helping to focus your search

A good recruiter will want to learn about you and your career interests. They will want to learn the “soft side” of what will make you most satisfied from a career perspective. If you take the time in advance of conversing with a recruiter to know what your hot buttons are, what cultural working climate you prefer and what incentives you are seeking (tangible and intangible), your recruiter should be able to advise you about framing your search so that it best meets your preferences.

Not all recruiters are “consultative”. The best will employ a relationship building approach that gives you an opportunity to frame your ideal situation and provides them the ability to discretely advise you of the options which best fit your needs.

Best wishes with your search.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Interview Preparation

Interview Preparation

Hi All!

I just thought I'd add a few thoughts about interview preparation. I have 13 years experience on the hiring side of healthcare, interviewing more than my share of healthcare candidates at all levels from CEO's to Physicians to Infection Control Department Managers. For the last six years I've been studying the art of interviewing as an executive and physician search consultant. I've noticed this trend.

Healthcare leaders including the physicians who provide care are some of the brightest people on the planet, but as such they usually believe they can get a handle on most anything easily - and it is true they can. However, interviewing well requires preparation. Unfortunately most interviewees are not prepared for an interview - especially a behavioral based interview and most interviewers aren't well prepared either.

It is proven that hiring mistakes can be avoided by using a definitive interviewing process - one that is consistent across candidates and behaviorally oriented, but that is another posting. With that said - preparing for an interview requires really thinking about career goals and accomplishments. Being able to answer the "tell me about yourself" question is one of the most important things that any healthcare candidate can learn and practice.

The best answer to the "tell me about yourself" question is a three part response.

1) Summarize your career in one sentence.
For example someone completing a fellowship in infectious disease medicine might say, "Ever since I was a kid, I always had a keen fascination with solving problems which led me to specialize in infectious disease medicine, because I love the science of the specialty combined with the detective/sleuth problem solving." Someone who has been in practice might have a different message, "My 20 year infectious disease private practice has been characterized by treating some of the nastiest bugs on the planet and I've seen the full gamut ranging from plague to ........."

2) Next give a one to two sentence example demonstrating your accomplishments.
Be sure the accomplishments are relevant to the position you are seeking; have the description be easily understood, indicate an impact on the bottom line by enhancing patient care or by being cost effective.
For example, "I have always had a very busy practice. It was important to have high patient volumes and to maximize the efficiency of my office. I had a physician assistant and a nurse practitioner who worked with me getting the number of patients seen each day up to 30-40."

3) End your answer to this question with a one sentence statement about what you want to do next in your career and HINT the statement should match with the purpose and intent of the position for which you are interviewing.

Every harried physician practice manager, physician hiring committee member, hospital or physician executive asks some version of the "tell me about yourself" question.

As a candidate you will stand head and shoulders above the others if you take the time to frame the answer to this question well and practice it so that it rolls out of you spontaneously and easily.

Have a great interview.*

Lynden Kidd
Next Iteration

*Credit is to Jeff Skrentny at Jefferson Group Consulting for the three part answer framework. Jeff can be reached at or 312.474.6076