How Long Does the Physician Job Search Process REALLY Take?

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No matter how much of a procrastinator you are, I highly recommend getting a head start on your physician job search. I’ve seen too many residents try to cram their job search into a 1-3 month time span, and the results are hardly ever ideal.

Just How Long Does the Physician Job Search Process Take? 

Truthfully, it varies. But between preparation, searching, deciding and transitioning into your first job, the process will take at least several months. To give you a realistic idea, I’ve outlined a time frame for each step below. Keep in mind that this just covers the most basic steps, and there are always other things you’ll need to tend to along the way. Give yourself plenty of time!

1. Preparing for the Search

This phase encompasses too many steps to outline here, but essentially, it’s the pre-planning phase before your search. You’ll want to update your physician CV, cover letters and reference letters, and identify your personal priorities, just to name a few things. For a detailed look at what to do, click here. Give yourself a minimum of 3 months to complete these tasks.

2. CV Received by In-House Recruiter

This is jumping ahead to the active job search process. Remember, give yourself at least 3 months to plan before the active search. Once a recruiter receives your CV, it may take 5-10 days for him or her to pass it along to the medical director or hiring physician.

3. CV Forwarded to Medical Director/Hiring Physician for Further Review

After receiving your CV, a medical director or hiring physician may take 10 to 21 days to review and assess the CV. It sounds like a long time, but directors/physicians have several other duties to attend to other than reviewing CVs.

4. If CV Approved, You’ll Be Contacted for a Phone Interview

Once your CV has been reviewed and approved, the director or physician will contact you to conduct a phone interview. Taking into account scheduling synchronization, this can take up to 5 days.

5. Determine if You’ll be Brought in for an In-Person Interview

After completing the phone interview, the director/physician will determine whether they’d like to bring you in for an in-person interview. This process can take about 7 days.

6. Set Up and Conduct In-Person Interview

This step can take quite a bit of time, since travel arrangements need to be made and schedule coordination can be tricky. Both you and the director/physician must work around exiting commitments. It can take up to 30 days or more to complete the interview process.

7. Determine if You Should Be Brought Back for a Second Interview

If you pass the initial interview, the director/physician needs to determine whether they would like to bring you back for a second interview. If so, the spouse/significant other is often brought back, too. This can take up to 14 days.

8. Set Up and Conduct Second In-Person Interview

This step can take up to 30 days, since schedule coordination and travel arrangements must be made once again.

9. Contract Offered

After the second interview, the director/physician will decide whether or not they want to hire you. If so, they will offer you a contract. Before this decision is made, however, the director/physician must gather feedback from interviewers and the board must approve the offer. This can take up to 30 days.

10. Contract Negotiations

The ball is in your court, and you’ll want to hire an attorney to review your contract. After that, there may be revisions that need to go back and forth between your attorney and the employer. The entire process can take 30 days or more.

Add It All Up

As you can see, the physician job search process can take anywhere from 6 months to a year. That seems like a long, arduous process (and it can be), but you’ll be far less stressed if you divide it up into manageable chunks. Keep in mind that if you apply to several organizations, the process will be longer. Visit the Adventures in Medicine Online Resource Library for more tips and helpful worksheets!

How much time are you setting aside for your physician job search process?  

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Though the views expressed above are solely the writer's, Alexian Brothers supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Alexian Brothers is making practice purposeful.

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About

Adriana Tobar, M.D. is a family medicine physician and Resident Advisor for Adventures in Medicine.

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