Breaking Down the Physician Job Search Process

Cortney Ikpe

Starting the job search process can be daunting for any professional, but it can be especially taxing for a physician who has spent years in training and feels as though their efforts should culminate in a job that accurately reflects their value, skills, and interests.

The good news is that jobs like these are attainable. It simply requires proactive thinking, a plan, and some guidance along the way. Here, we will break down the steps of the job search process from preparation to negotiation.

Physician Job Search Preparation

In today’s job market, it is vital for physicians to get a head start on the hiring process, allowing them to locate multiple practice options in their desired geography. All too often physicians place 100 percent of their stock in a single practice that falls through before a contract is signed, leaving them scrambling to find a job in a short amount of time.

Situations like this can easily be prevented with a better understanding of the job search timeline. For residents and fellows, the job search process should start 12 to 18 months before graduation. Providing yourself with more than a year is necessary as the actual hiring process can take anywhere from three months to six months depending on the physician’s specialty, setting and preferred location.

To be fully prepared, begin with considering the setting or location in which you would like to practice. Urban or rural? Hospital or group practice? Going through a checklist (like this one here) and laying out your preferences can really speed this process along. Once you decide, the basic materials you will need for your job search are your cover letter, curriculum vitae (CV) and letters of recommendation. These should highlight and reflect the setting and location you are interested in.

Sending the CV

You should have a general idea of your preferred setting, location, and responsibilities before ever sending a CV. Accompanying your CV will be a cover letter which will summarize and support the information to be presented in your CV. 

Once you submit these documents to a potential employer, it can take up to a week before ever reaching the physician hiring manager. After receiving your CV, the hiring manager may take up to three more weeks to review your qualifications and decide if you and their organization could be a fit.

When the physician hiring manager has looked over your CV and approved it, they will then contact you to set up a phone interview.

Phone Interview

The phone interview is your first chance to establish a rapport with the interviewer and thus the organization as a whole. Some of the phone interview questions may be on basic information about your training, licensure and professional experience. To aid in this process, make sure to have your CV on hand and prepare for the interview like you would for an in-person interview. Once finished with the phone interview, you will know within about a week whether or not you will be brought in for an on-site interview.

On-Site Interview

If the physician hiring manager determines that they would like you to come in for an on-site interview, you will have to find a time that is mutually agreeable for both of your schedules. This process could take up to a month due to travel arrangements and other obligations. You should be prepared to prioritize your duties over the following weeks so that you know what you can and cannot afford to miss.

Receiving an Offer

If the interview process goes smoothly and the physician hiring manager and other interviewers find that you are a match for their organization, you will receive an offer of employment. In the vast majority of cases, you will receive the offer within the two weeks following the on-site interview; however, this can take longer if the hiring manager must consult with your interviewers to obtain approval, or if they have other qualified applicants which they are considering.

Contract Review and Negotiation

Once you have been offered a contract, you now have the ability to determine which aspects of the contract meet your needs and which ones do not. These contracts go far beyond just starting salary and on-call pay though. Therefore, it is crucial that you have an experienced contract attorney and financial experts review the terms and conditions of your contract. Resolve Physician Agency’s attorney team has reviewed and negotiated over $1 billion in physician contracts and works on your behalf to maximize the value of your contract.

Typically a physician contract can be reviewed in less than a week. Resolve’s attorney team can even review time-sensitive contracts in less than 48 hours. However, negotiation with the employer can take longer.  The speed of negotiations depend on how quickly the employer responds, and it is estimated that this process can take up to a full month.

A Long Process

For physicians, the job search process can be a lengthy and complex experience, which is why it is helpful to have a team on your side. Resolve provides the necessary expertise essential to making your job search a smooth, manageable and much less stressful journey.

Resolve can access every practice and hospital in the country, which allows us to find jobs in tough markets, and those that aren’t yet advertised.

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