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Why Recruiters Are Favoring Less Experienced Physicians


As the healthcare field is changing, hiring tendencies are changing as well.

It seems like a no-brainer to me: a more experienced physician translates to more patients who trust his abilities, and therefore, more patients who frequent his practice.

But according to a new survey put forth by The Medicus Firm, a national physician search company, that’s not the way it works – or at least, that’s not what physician recruiters are favoring. When it comes to physician hiring, it appears experience isn’t an asset.

The survey asked more than 1,000 physicians about their job hunting experience. Nearly 30 percent of them with more than 15 years of experience reported a zero response rate on applications to hospitals and direct employers. Meanwhile, only 8 percent of them with less than 15 years of experience reported such a dismal response rate.

Additionally, those physicians with more than 15 years of experience said they had received an average of only 2.12 job offers in the past two years. That number jumped to 7.88 offers for those with less than 15 years of experience. Physicians in both groups had applied to an average of eight jobs.

Susan Douglass, founder of Susan Douglass and Associates, a healthcare management consulting company based in Colorado Springs, Colo., said via e-mail to Physicians Practice that she finds the survey results “surprising.” But she said, physician recruiters may be anticipating upcoming changes in the medical field.

“Those physicians with 16 plus years experience grew up practicing in an autonomous fashion where they were in control,” she said. “Those with less experience are more well-versed in focusing their practice of medicine on today’s imperatives (i.e. teamwork, cost reduction, patient satisfaction, quality improvement, electronic health records, collaboration with nurses and executives).”

As a result, expected shifts in reimbursement from volume to value; healthcare reform initiatives such as ACOs, which stress care coordination; and technological advances and requirements such as meaningful use, could all be making younger candidates more attractive.

Still Douglass said, it is very “shortsighted” for practices or recruiters to eliminate more experienced candidates. One reason is these physicians can help practices further coordinate care with larger healthcare systems.

“This group can serve as a terrific group of mentors for the younger physicians and also has the leadership experience through years of practice to serve as an ally/statesman between administration and physicians as the organization moves down the path of physician/hospital integration,” she said.

If you are a more experienced physician applying to new jobs, Douglass suggests you present yourself as a physician who:

• Shares the vision, goals, and values of the new era of healthcare;
• Is committed to ensuring patient outcomes improve and develop specific examples where you have improved a patient outcome as a result of embracing today’s healthcare imperatives; and
• Is open to learning whatever competencies the employer feels is important (i.e., leadership).

And Douglass said, make sure the employer knows you “are not just looking for a safe harbor for income protection.”

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