Landing a great first job is everyone’s dream, but not everyone’s reality.
We often see healthcare workers struggling in environments that aren’t well suited to them. They lose steam on a profession they have spent the last few years completely devoted to in training, simply because they didn’t realize how to find (and land!), the right job for them.
It is possible for an NP, PA or Physician to find their dream job right out of school, but it takes some planning and a bit of insight into the healthcare hiring process.
If you’re in school or clinical training, the time has come to start thinking about where you want to be.
Everyone has heard the interviewers’ standard “Where do you want to be in five years?” question. Let’s start there. Instead of trying to dream up a lofty response days before an interview, use this as a starting point. It’s up to you to define, envision and architect the career you want to have. Then use our tips and tricks to streamline a process that gets your foot in the right door for you!
Setting the stage.
This is the time to “get real” and figure out what makes you tick. You need to dig into your personality and define strengths and weaknesses, the better you understand yourself, the better you can determine the direction you want to go.
A few ways you can build meaningful insights into your career path are by:
- completing aptitude and personality tests. There is a range of resources online, or speak with your dedicated recruiter to get some ideas.
- creating vision boards. Take a “whole life” approach. Where do you want to live? Will you have a family? What will you be doing in your free time?
- making a list of pros and cons based on your experience so far. What have you enjoyed about your vocation as you worked through schooling and practicums? What aspects of the job did you NOT like?
The point is, true success can only be realized when you have a clear definition of what success means to you.
Shortlisting and preparation.
- Network, network, network!
We cannot stress this enough, and it’s never too early to start. During clinical training, you will be brushing shoulders with MDs, PAs and NPs every day. This is where relationships start. Find opportunities to ask them about their first job search.
- Timing is important.
Listen for possible openings within the healthcare system, sometimes jobs are not posted immediately and getting an early tip can allow you to be the first candidate to be considered. Ask for introductions to others in order to further expand your network. For example, if you are doing a cardiology rotation and want to work eventually in CT surgery, ask to be introduced to the Surgeon.
- Work with a recruiter.
Recruiters have established relationships with hospitals and practices. Instead of sending your CV off and wondering if it has disappeared into a black hole, a recruiter can often connect you with a decision-maker. It is great to leverage their established relationships. Beyond that, they can help you hone your interview skills and help you find jobs best suited to you.
- Craft your CV and cover letter specific to the job.
If you are applying for a position in Dermatology, highlight any Dermatology experience you have (research, courses, elective rotations, “shadowing” experience. And don’t hesitate to take advantage of online tools, our trusted colleague Stephen Pasquini PA-C, has a plethora of online tools for PAs preparing for interviews.
What can you expect during the interview?
We live in a new time of online interviews. The process of visiting the practice and walking the halls, seeing the exam rooms, meeting the clinical team is less likely during COVID social distancing times. The first interview is likely with a Human Resources Lead or Practice Manager. They know the job, the team preferences, and the new provider “dream list”. It is their job to see if you seem like a good fit. In reality, they are looking for ways to discredit you.
They may ask about your weather preference which seems unrelated but if you answer I prefer a tropical state then you are not a fit for an Orthopedic job in Buffalo, New York.
Check out “Video Interview Tips” by INlearning for some great ways to prepare yourself and put your best foot forward.
If you move to the second interview you will likely meet more of the clinical staff. This is your opportunity to really understand what a day is like. Have questions ready like:
- How many patients do you see in a day?
- How busy is the call schedule?
- Is the team collaborative and open to questions about patient presentations that might need a team approach to best care?
Luckily, there are some commonalities and linkPAs has some great resources that you can review. Check out our free study guide “5 Most Common Types of PA School Interview Questions, and our article “10+ Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions You Should Expect“.
What is really happening in the market now?
Many hospitals and healthcare systems have decreased the number of interviews and hiring since COVID. It has been hard to manage the demand for healthcare workers.
When bars and shops were closed and sports were paused, traffic was reduced which resulted in Emergency Rooms experiencing a real drop in patient volume. Fewer people were getting injured so providers in the ER were furloughed or had their workdays reduced.
At first, those involved in specialties that have an elective leaning had significant drops in their schedules. The number of Orthopedic cases, like elective total hip repair, colonoscopies, and preventive testing like mammograms, dropped drastically. Then, over the summer, people felt comfortable waiting until hospitals and same-day surgery centers seemed “safer” and the risk of COVID contact was mitigated. With additional safety measures now in place to reduce potential exposure, electives procedures are being rescheduled and demand for healthcare professionals is on the climb.
Are hospitals even hiring?
The short answer is “yes”, but what we have seen is a profound and dramatic shift in the way employers are approaching their hiring process. The need for strong Physician, PA, and NP candidates continues. Recently, hospital decision-makers started to predict a hiring increase in early 2021.
Another factor that is on the mind of many in the industry is that our “healthcare heroes” are exhausted. Providers that have worked these past months since Covid are beyond burned out and leaving the profession. In other cases, our healthcare workers are moving to specialties and away from front line medicine, which is creating more openings in the ER, Urgent Care and Primary Care Centers.
Click here to read “Medical Recruitment: Are you hiring the best candidate for your healthcare organization”, this gives you some insight into where they are coming from. We have seen a steady, exponential rise in the demand for mental health professionals.
Getting your foot in the door.
The bottom line is, there is a lot of information to take in and many resources available to healthcare workers seeking employment. The hard part is knowing where you want to end up so you can align your compass early on. linkPAs specializes in helping healthcare workers find (and land!) their dream job the first time. Click here to upload your resume and take the right first step today.
Lynda Gregg practiced as a PA in General Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology. She desires to help, heal and network. It is no wonder that Lynda has progressed from practicing as a PA to serving PAs. She is a tried and true connector with a passion for the industry and for helping medical professionals flourish in their careers. Click here and connect with Lynda on LinkedIn.