Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What You Should Know About Recruiters

Your relationships with your recruiters should be like your relationship with your Hair Stylist/Barber or Massage Therapist or Shrink, you wouldn’t think of using anyone else unless something catastrophic happens.  In the Healthcare IT industry there are almost as many recruiters as there are consultants so how do you choose and what should you know about maintaining that relationship?

Use Your Instincts:  Initially you should go with your gut.  Do you genuinely LIKE the person?  When the recruiter contacted you were they easy to talk to?  Did they try to give you a “hard-sell” or did they actually listen to what you were looking for?  Do they understand your qualifications and know how to represent you to their client?  Were they forthright about discussing the financial aspects of the role/the client/the particulars?  If you’re feeling good about the person, then it’s time to build that relationship.

Building the Relationship:  Has the recruiter followed up with you even if the position they originally called you about has stagnated or you weren’t chosen to interview?  Are you inclined to feel they have your best interests at heart?  Do they call you with other opportunities?  With each conversation are you getting to know one another a bit better so they understand your salary requirements, personality, location, availability, qualifications?  Are they calling/emailing you about the right type of positions? If so it’s time to give them some loyalty. 

Providing Loyalty:  Most recruiters work on a commission or salary plus commission basis.  This means that their livelihood depends on how many placements they make.  There is competition in the recruitment industry very similar to the sales industry, so developing relationships with candidates is a recruiter’s best road to success.  Certainly there are some recruiters that adhere to what I call the “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” version of recruiting where they burn and churn through candidates to get their next hire with very little regard to honesty, integrity or loyalty and  that will become apparent very quickly to the candidate.   It is always wise to form relationships with a variety of recruiters from different firms to make sure you’re getting the most exposure in your industry, but what about dealing with 2 recruiters from the SAME company? 

Different Recruiters, Same Company:  What most candidates do not know is that normally recruiters working for the same company have access to the same job openings.  If you have a strong relationship with John from Point Blank Staffing and you receive a call from Terry instead, whom you’ve never worked with before, you should ask Terry:  “does John still work for your company?, I’ve worked with him for a long time and I’d like to speak with him about this role”.  You would expect that Terry will give you an honest answer and put you on the phone with John.  Keep in mind even though the Recruiters are working for the same firm, they are still in competition with each other for placements and commission.  Some companies are set up differently but most use this business model. 

By building relationships with a few recruiters that work for different firms you should be well represented in your marketplace and depending on your qualifications, should be able to stay busy with contracts or be able to land the permanent job you’ve been dreaming of.  Keep in mind that the ball is ALWAYS in your court.  You are the person with the talent and education and qualifications we are seeking.  You have the right to choose which recruiters you want to work with, what positions you want your resume submitted to and what contracts/job you accept.  The very best way to find the ideal opportunity is to have a strong relationship with the recruiters that represent you.
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Monday, January 12, 2015

New Employment Trends in Healthcare IT - 2015

For the last 6 months or so we've all been watching the Healthcare Technology Industry with a careful eye as a new trend seems to be developing:
(the use of "Healthcare Systems" and "Employer" / "Client" used in the post are general terms used to represent hospitals of any size)

* We are no longer in a time when contractors can set their rates as high as they want due to their qualifications/experience, we are entering a time when healthcare systems, vendors and large consulting firms are setting the hourly rates and these new rates are reflecting a money crunch in the industry.
* Consultants that used to find it relatively easy to glide from one contract to the next are now finding it more difficult to land their next project.
*  Many healthcare systems are opting for the hiring model: Contract to Hire - as opposed to just engaging contractors or immediately bringing someone on as an FTE (full time employee).  Its what I call the "try before you buy" method which works both ways - the employer is able to determine if the consultant will be a good fit and the consultant is able to see if the client will be a good employer.
* Healthcare systems have spent an exorbitant amount of money implementing new EMR systems and are no longer in need of large numbers of consultants, so the contracts are ending and remaining positions are being filled with FTEs.
*  Healthcare systems are limiting consultant travel across the board due to financial constraints.  While some are fortunately and wisely allowing for remote work, most are requiring that consultants are local and only considering travel or remote when efforts to find local qualified candidates have been exhausted.
*  When hiring FTEs  employers are also trending toward finding local candidates to save on relocation fees.  Some are still open to paying for relocation and even fewer are open to considering an FTE that is remote.

What does all this mean for industry consultants? 
1.  You will need to be more flexible on your rate ($) expectations.
2.  While working remotely is ideal for many, if possible be open to travel and consider local healthcare systems when looking for your next contract.
3.  If you've gone many months without finding a new contract, it may be time to consider FTE.
4.  Consider aligning yourself with multiple consulting firms (make sure to only work with recruiters you feel comfortable with, that will give you honest rates and information - even if it isn't what you wanted to hear)
5.  When working with consulting firms ALWAYS specify that they are not allowed to submit your resume to a client without your permission.  With fewer jobs on the market you don't want to risk a duplicate submittal to the same client as this will potentially eliminate you from consideration.

What does all this mean for people seeking a permanent FTE?
1.  Find consulting / staffing firms that also assist their clients with perm placement, often having a firm submit your resume is more successful than applying through a company web site. (*note - most potential employers will not accept a resume from a firm IF that candidate has already applied via their website SO... DO NOT apply through a company web site if you can go through a firm... typically firms will have direct communication with the hiring manager and will be much more likely to get you an interview)
2.  Be flexible on your salary requirements - consider the job and take lower pay for the role that
ticks all the other boxes.
3.  Be flexible on other specifics such as PTO, remote work, benefits etc.
4.  If at all possible - be open to relocation.
5.  Apply to all your local healthcare systems and follow up your web site application with an note via linkedin to the person that would likely be your manager. (if you're unable to find a firm to represent you)

In the present market finding a job can be a full time job in itself.  With a strong resume, solid skills and the right effort and flexibility, you should still be able to land a position that will suit you. 

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