April 23rd, 2014

Am I just paying a psychiatrist's free vacation?

People like free stuff; “If it’s free, it’s for me.”

This will never change and as psychiatry recruiters we have found that relatively high net worth physicians are no different in this regard. At Monroe & Weisbrod, we actually have a “blacklist” organized by location of the “do not interview” psychiatrists who will interview absolutely anywhere a job within their specialty comes open. It’s sort of like a “do not accept a check from this person” list in a convenience store. “Really doctor… last week you wanted Poughkeepsie despite no apparent connection to upstate New York and this week you want South Florida, again, with no reason why?”

In a lot of cases it seems like a simple matter of people wanting a free trip, however, in other cases it is seemingly less about the free stuff and more about, I suppose, the fact that a hiring entity heavily vying for your favor and commitment is a source of narcissistic supply. I could probably make some far reaching conclusions about the insecurities of those needing this sort of collateral ego reinforcement, but the simple fact is that psychiatrists who interview with no intention of taking a job are a complete waste of my time and my clients’ time.

Here are some simple tips we follow as professional psychiatrist recruiters that may be of value to you in preventing against such a waste of your time and money:

  1. If the psychiatrist has family in the area, they of course seem like a great potential match for this very reason as familial ties are among the top reasons why a candidate will take a job; that said, they may also just want a free trip to visit Aunt Sue who they really need to visit since she’s probably not long for this world but who they also don’t like enough to shell out their own money to see. If they do have family in the area, make sure you present them with a very detailed itinerary well in advance of their trip that lets them know that their time away from the their interview obligations will be very small. As professional recruiters, we at M&W are more than happy to help create this itinerary for our clients or at least give you are thoughts on what you put together;
  2. It is not unreasonable to ask a potential candidate who has been out of training long enough to have amassed a degree of personal wealth to share in the cost to interview. While it’s probably never acceptable to ask that they foot the entire bill (though a really good and really interested candidate may offer), it is not inappropriate to offer to wine and dine them once they get to you, but to stipulate that they are responsible for their airfare. This will weed out the serial interviewer types. In fact, at M&W whenever we get a call from someone on the blacklist I mention above, we just tell them that our client is not paying for any expenses and that always ensures a short phone call;
  3. Those coming right out of training can be exceptionally problematic in this regard because they may not be able to afford to fly out on their own dime since they are currently earning a resident/fellow’s salary and are probably quite in debt. Furthermore, those in training probably don’t have a clear cut idea of what their ideal practice setting is (large group practice, small group practice, multi-specialty group, academia…?) which lends them to picking a number of cities and then going on a number of interviews in each city. There is not a whole lot that can be done to avoid this problem with those coming out of training, so be forewarned. That said, we always recommend to our clients when considering a candidate in training that they insist they be the last opportunity they interview with in a particular locale. For some reason, statistically speaking, a candidate who goes on a number of interviews is most likely to join the last practice they interview with. Furthermore, with respect to those in training and really any candidate looking at multiple opportunities in your area, make sure that you are only charged with a fairly allocated amount of the interview expense. For instance, if your candidate is interviewing with you AND your closest competitor, make sure expenses are evenly split down the middle.
  4. Make sure you or your physician recruiter asks the candidate about their time frame for relocation. Most “tire kickers” will be vague and non-committal.
  5. If you or any of your group’s psychiatrists are very active in their respective societies (APA, AACAP, etc.) and groups then make this known to all interviewing candidates, as we have found that those not truly interested will avoid interviewing with groups that have such politically active psychiatrists in them, as they don’t want to annoy one of the big names in their specialty.
  6. Have the candidate pay for all expenses and then offer to reimburse them. Many of our blacklisted physicians have credit and financial issues as well and will not want a free trip even if it only takes up temporary space on their AMEX.

As experienced, professional psychiatrist recruiters, we at Monroe & Weisbrod have had a lot of experience with serial interviewing psychiatrists. Do you suspect you may soon be the victim of one, or do you want to talk more about how to avoid this? Give us a call at 512-270-2885 and we would be happy to discuss.

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