Medical Recruiting Insights

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Four Factors to Look at when Evaluating a Physician Opening

Matt Davis | Physician Recruiting, Physicians

Four-factor formula for evaluating Physician Positions

With no perfect job truly existing, it’s almost unfair to use 100% as our target “job.” However, for math purposes, we will use 100% to keep things simple. When considering a job, it can help to break down such a significant decision into four categories, each equating for 25%.

The Four Factors

  1. Quality of Life— This includes stipulations such as your schedule and flexibility of hours. Do you get weekends off? More than 3-4weeks of PTO? Is there a “heavy call” that impacts your evenings and ‘sleep schedule?’ Are there assets in this area that easily provide you access to do what you love with your free time? If you have a spouse or family nearby, are you able to see them regularly or get to school to pick up a sick kid if necessary?
  2. Quality of Practice— Which EMR system do you have and how user-friendly is it? Adequate support staff? Conducive office setting? Are the hours consistent? Do you like who you work with? What about who you work for? Benefits? Fulfillment in how you’re administering your help to patients?
  3. Geography— This is somewhat self-explanatory but truthfully the BIGGEST challenge for most. Having an open mind to different states and towns is rather difficult for many who merely only know the state they grew up in or the handful of places they’ve vacationed once or twice. With 48 states (not including the rare Hawaii and Alaska positions) to consider…stereotypes, social media, and second-hand information all become detrimental to job searching. The purpose of interviewing is to gather information, and it’s always a good idea to have at least one or two positions in consideration that are “outside the box” for you. Reason being, there are SO many great jobs and positions that are overlooked due to being in a state or town that someone “heard something about that one time.” Do your research, try not to judge a book by its cover, and recognize that the average physician will move five times in his/her career. Ultimately, it’s been my experience that the battle of “Time versus Distance” is rather eye-opening. Securing a job in a major city is difficult enough. Then asking a recruiter to find a job inside said major city AND be on the side of town where you intend to live thus making your requested “25-minute commute” unrealistic. Traffic, weather, school zones, all tend to get overlooked when people romanticize big city medicine/living.
  4. Money–Plain and simple, money isn’t everything. You can be making over the 90th percentile annually, but if you despise your employer or feel like breaking down each day after work, padding your bank account will only ‘justify’ working a bad job for so long. Eventually, you will either take a pay cut to leave or realize there are more important things that don’t appear on a W-2 form.

What does it all mean?

So again, if there were such a thing as a 100% opportunity, with each category equaling 25%, life would be great!!! However, this is not the case. If you can find a position, that realistically has 75-80% of what you’re looking for, you need to recognize it and be prepared to decide.

If 80% is what we are going to find, which of the above four categories are you willing to forego percentage points in to get to 80%?

Perhaps start by ranking each of the four in priority, most important to least. If you’re moving with a spouse, have them rank them as well to compare. As simple as this activity sounds, it’s sometimes rather interesting to hear the results from both the physician and their spouse.

You simply can’t expect rural money in a larger metropolitan city. Similarly, you can’t expect a Level 1 ICU’s volume to provide the Quality of Practice that one might call predictable. Make sure you’ve made a list of your criteria and considered whether you’re on the same page as your spouse.

Those rare occurrences where it has a great-paying position JUST outside a major city is where many of our positions fall. Be careful not to get too hung up on Google Maps, and how it ‘projects’ the distance from A to B. With any luck, you can begin to hone in on your must-haves and what areas you are willing to be more lenient on finding. Be patient, be open-minded, be early!!