Barking Dogs and Skype: A Day in the Life of a Physician Recruiter
By Wendy Hauptli, FASPR, Physician Recruitment Professional, Phoenix, AZ
A few months ago, I was “separated” from my job of many years as part of a major corporate restructuring. While not uncommon in today’s economy, in the busy field of physician recruitment, this was entirely unexpected by me. Joining the ranks of the unemployed has had its ups and downs. I had been putting in 50 hours plus a week for as long as I could remember. That vacation that I never had time to take? I took it! Catching up on sleep? You bet! When the time came to look for a new job, I decided I would really like to work from home. It seemed like everybody else was doing it. The benefits were obvious. No more rushing to get on the freeway before 7 a.m. or being stuck in traffic jams on the way home. I have a den, a computer, and even free long distance. Why not? I began setting things up for my “new world of recruiting.”
To find the right employer, I started looking at jobs posted on the Internet. I began getting tons of lists of opportunities to explore… e-mails from Climber.com, JobSeekers, IHireHR, PhoenixJobs.com Alert, Beyond.com, CareerBuilder.com, HealthCareerWeb.com, etc. My e-mail inbox was flooded with opportunities! In addition to LinkedIn Job Listings, KI Kommunity emails, and ASPR Chat, I was suddenly spending hours on the computer, accomplishing absolutely nothing.
All of a sudden I started getting responses. Would I be interested in selling life insurance? How about interviewing with AFLAC? Finally I got a couple prospective interviews for health care opportunities…telephone interviews, that is. Apparently face-to-face interviews are no longer the standard, because, you see, there is Skype! The telephone interviews would get me ready for the Skype interviews, I’m told. At first, Skype sounded like a good idea… I wouldn’t have to get dressed up and drive to the interview, I thought.
So, the other day I got an e-mail from a potential employer. The message explained that I would be contacted two days prior to the interview for a “Skype Test.” The e-mail was one of those where you have to click a box to accept the request, and after I did this, a box popped up that explained I would get a call the next day to make sure my Skype equipment worked correctly. I had used Skype before, years ago, and it worked fine then. I didn’t expect any problems. When I got the call the next day, a box popped up in the bottom of the screen and it was ME. I took one look at my face and realized that I hadn’t put on any makeup (since it was just a “test” call) — and apparently, I needed it badly because every wrinkle looked embellished and the picture on the screen made me look just horrible! The woman performing the test asked me to close the window blinds behind me. I told her they were closed. Apparently the sun was still shining right through the closed slats, creating an unflattering halo behind me. Oh dear, this was a problem, I was told. I was asked to move the camera slightly so the blinds would not show. My Skype camera is about a half inch high by two inches wide and balances precariously on top of my computer’s flat screen. Touching it slightly, I moved it around, trying to get the blinds out of the picture. This didn’t work well. The test administrator asked me to check the connection. After figuring out which one of the 15 wires it was, I moved it slightly, and nothing improved. And if that wasn’t enough, my voice was suddenly sounding “fuzzy,” the test administrator told me. I tried the wire trick again. I think the connection got disturbed when I touched it because suddenly there was static, too. To top everything off, there were now serious background noises … my two dogs barked like mad when a strange dog walked by the house. My landline phone rang four times before going to voice mail. And then my cell phone rang — Aaugh!
Now the test administrator threatened to get the IT department involved in fixing my Skype problems. Sheesh! I had now spent at least 20 minutes on the phone and my fuzzy voice had apparently become even more fuzzy (me — the one who passed Toastmasters!) My Skype had apparently failed the test!
Tonight, I’ll be shopping for a new Skype camera and tomorrow before the interview, I’ll call the test administrator to re-test its efficiency. I’ve been so worried about Skype, farming out my dogs for the day, turning off my cell phone, fixing my hair and makeup, and bleaching my teeth, that I’ve completely forgotten who this interview is with and what position it is for….
Journal of ASPR - Spring 2012