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What Is a Staff Physician Recruitment Professional?

By Joey Klein, Senior Physician Recruiter, Cleveland Clinic, Lyndhurst, OH

At a recent social event, I was asked what I do for a living. Along with the weather and cries over how the Browns are once again terrible, this is pretty common conversation. My answer to this question has always varied based on who was asking it. The truth is assigning a title to what we do on a daily basis would never do it justice. Our jobs require fluency in so many areas that it’s hard to quickly sum up what we do. The misconception, and something I personally take offense to, is the “oh, you are a head hunter” response. So to anyone stuck at the punch bowl at a party with a new friend who truly wants to know what a staff physician recruiter does…here’s your cheat sheet:

  • Medical novice. We’re not scientists. I know my science education ended with a worm dissection in high school, but it’s our job to know medicine. We need to know the ins and outs of the specialties for which we recruit. When we are talking with a candidate or department it’s vital that we understand what they do. We need to know what journals they read, what procedures they perform, and what acronyms they use.
  • Point of contact. The chairpersons that we work with are busy people and so are the candidates. It’s our job to be available and to solve problems. Admittedly, we may take this to the extreme (at least I do) but our role, in part, is to field requests and handle them as efficiently as possible.
  • Market analyst. We plan and advise on the ad campaigns and outreach efforts from the start of a new project. Dollars are always a concern and need to be spent wisely. It’s our responsibility, for each specialty, to know the trends, the job market, and the “good” publications and websites. We are in-house consultants and our value, in part, stems from our level of expertise.
  • Project manager. Each search, every department has a different story. Each has a different need, time frame, budget, and set of expectations. It’s our responsibility to plan, implement, and track advertising/outreach, sourcing, site visits, referrals, and costs. We often work with vendors to design ads, buy lists, or coordinate events. Making sure that all of the parts are working together and managing success is a key part of physician recruitment.
  • Ambassador. For our employer and city.

As in-house physician recruiters, we are fortunate. We have the privilege and responsibility of directly adding value to our organizations. We have a direct line to department/organization leadership and important people depend on us. We interact with interesting people, we thrive on building relationships, and we believe in what we are doing. Often times our work goes unnoticed, but our impact is always felt. The next time someone asks me what I do, I’ll probably just stick with the short answer.

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