No Client, I will not send your ideal candidate

                                           Would you hire this individual? Most of my clients won't.

I thought of adding this to the rant forum but thought other RBC members might have experienced similar situations. Perhaps there is more that I can be doing.

As many of you know I recruit physicians. I broke into the business focusing specifically on OB/GYN recruiting. Over the years I've dabbled in many other areas but still consider OB to be one of my more experienced niches.

When I'm speaking to a new client and getting details about their open position I often ask them to paint a picture of their ideal candidate. Sure, this is a canned open question but it has always worked for me in getting a strong sense of what the practice/hospital might be looking for beyond a candidate’s skill sets. 8/10 times I get the same response and even today I am still surprised by it.

Client: We want a female, American Trained, must speak good English and recently out of residency.

Now I get it. These clients are thinking in terms of a business decision rather than an actual fit. American trained means better training. So they think. Female- well because that is what patients want. So they think. Must speak good English- code for all American.  Recently trained- because it is easier to provide malpractice insurance. So they think. Well, maybe they’re right with the last one, but you get my point.

Although I have become a bit think skinned to such demands over the years, I'm at times just as put off by such brazen requests. Thus why I took to this blog/rant. I'm actually surprised that clients haven't thrown in weight requirements, political affiliations and sexual preferences. It’s as if they are requesting a product with various features from a catalog.

My canned response to these requests is typically to thank them for the information and let them know that in my position I need to present all qualified candidates. So my question to everyone- is that not good enough? Am I contributing to this mess by not putting forth more of an educational effort? Outside of healthcare do other recruiters encounter this? And if so, how you handle it?

I will add that there have been many times that I’ve had these type of requests and made placements with individuals that differed from said criteria. It’s one of those challenges that I welcome as a recruiter.

Views: 647

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on October 6, 2011 at 2:21pm

Hi Tim

This is potentially a huge subject area.  Ordinarily I'd say you ought to try to educate all of these clients and convince them of the commercial advantage they might obtain by fishing in different candidate pools - but then I don't know the nuances of your market.


I'll have a think..

Comment by Bill Schultz on October 6, 2011 at 2:28pm

Perhaps you should narrow the scope of your question such as "Describe your ideal candidate in terms of experience, schooling, expertise...."

I don't run into it much anymore.  When I sold temp service in NYC, it was pretty brazen.  Probably still is.  

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on October 6, 2011 at 2:33pm
and follow it up with "which ONE OR TWO of these criteria are absolutely non-negotiable?"  Unfortunately Bill it's still pretty brazen...
Comment by Tim Spagnola on October 6, 2011 at 3:04pm
Very Brazen as Amy points out. So much so that there are many times where I don't even ask the question and get hit with these requests. The irony is when I speak to a practice manager they sometimes whisper 'we only want a female', as if they know right from wrong. Thanks everyone- I appreciate you reading and weighing in. I look forward to your thoughts Mitch,
Comment by Bill Schultz on October 6, 2011 at 3:07pm
I prefer female doctors myself.  They listen.
Comment by Tim Spagnola on October 6, 2011 at 3:09pm
I suppose I would become a hypocrite to mention here that I prefer younger doctors myself. They listen and are open to new approaches.
Comment by Bill Schultz on October 6, 2011 at 3:12pm

Yes young females.  (Are we sliding down a slippery slope? )



Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 6, 2011 at 3:53pm
@Tim--never discount old farts.  They wrote the book and can make adjustments based on EXPERIENCE, scar tissue and good common sense earned from experience and scar-tissue making events,   Examples?... 

Chesley B. Sully Sullenberger and Apollo 13 Astronauts and Ground Control...old farts a la mode

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on October 6, 2011 at 4:10pm

I've successfully placed several young men named "Mike" lately in one group... had to tell the hiring manager we were not making that part of the criteria.  :)

Comment by Francois Guay on October 6, 2011 at 7:57pm
I remember my first recruting role ever, working a temp desk p/t and doing recruitment placements on the other side. I will tell you the number of times we heard, young pretty woman (sometimes they would sometimes discuss certain attributes, you get the picture) for certain positions it was unbelievable. Twenty something years ago we turned them down... I know its still happening but its definetely gone more underground around here.  I will do a blog shortly on what | perceive as short sighted which is how some CEO's will only hire from one or two schools..and they want them tomorrow.. |Ha ha.


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