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From hunter to hunted: Perspectives on recruiting from a recruiter turned physician – Fall 2014

By Cole Marschke, DO, PGY-2, Geisinger Medical Center

Have you ever thought about what it might be like if the tables were turned in life—if the predator became the prey, the mouse chased the cat, or if Bugs Bunny hunted Elmer Fudd? I have experienced this firsthand and I’d like to share my experience with you.

After trudging through my undergraduate years, I found myself completing three additional years of pre-medical education. I had decided, after all, to become a doctor. However, with the rigorous schedule that included classes, labs, homework and projects, it became difficult to find a job that would accommodate my schedule. I hit the jackpot when I found a job “cold calling” physicians into the wee hours of the night. Over the next year, my position expanded and, prior to entering medical school, I spent a year as a full time physician recruiter. I was successful as a recruiter because I spent my time concentrating on the needs of my clients and digging into their preferences to find the best fit for both parties involved.

My dream of becoming a physician became reality when I started an emergency medicine residency program, just over a year ago. I am thriving in this high-paced environment, but with this transition also came the switch from being the “hunter” to the “hunted.” In addition to the dinner invites, job offers and the prestige of being a physician, I am also faced with the responsibility of holding patients’ lives in my hands, deciding where to move my family, and determining what practice environment will suit me best.

Through this transition, I thought it might benefit other physician recruiters to gain some insight from the other side of the fence. To do this, I’d like to touch on a few points, from a physician’s perspective that might help you better associate with the candidates you recruit.

  1. Contact frequency
    Limit your attempts to contact us to, at most, twice monthly. A weekly voice message or email begins to feel more like an annoyance rather than a courtesy. Keep your calls succinct and under a minute long. Personalize emails, don’t include pictures, and be sure to include a website so we can do our own research before returning your call.
  2. Site visits
    Keep in mind that, as residents, we work 60 to 80 hours per week and may have studying, family responsibilities, and sleep to fit in outside those hours. Our programs may limit time-off to, at most, a week per month and require a 60-day advance notice before getting time-off approved. Therefore, we will need a lot of flexibility when scheduling site visits. Let us know what expenses are going to be reimbursed, and if possible, cover the large expenses upfront.
  3. Interaction
    As a recruiter I was able to recite benefit descriptions, medical procedures and community demographics in my sleep. What I’ve realized since that time is that residents get little education on benefit options. We’ll probably need to bring your information back to our program directors to have a better understanding of what is being offered. Give us the option to call you back with questions.

    Also, please be humble in your interactions with us. Remember, we’ve spent hours reading, listening and training to become physicians. Even though, as a recruiter, I could use terms like “float a pacer” or “TPA a stroke,” it was all just jargon. I had no idea how to do those things, nor did I realize the impact it had on patient care. Know that you, as the recruiter, are a conduit for information but remain unassuming when speaking to the physicians you’re recruiting.

Cole Marschke, DO is a PGY-2 Emergency Medicine resident at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. He attended medical school at Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa and earned his bachelor’s degree from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to residency, Marschke worked as a physician recruiter for Ministry Health Care in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

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