Answering the Tough Questions in your Healthcare Job Search

Answering the Tough Questions in your Healthcare Job Search

16Mar, 2017

Answering the Tough Questions in your Healthcare Job Search

Whether it’s due to relocation, family leave, or downsizing, many physicians and other healthcare providers will find themselves with gaps somewhere in their employment history. When starting a new healthcare job search, these gaps are sure to come up during the interview process. So how are candidates supposed to explain their gaps in order to not ruin their chances at the position? Below are some examples of how to explain various types of gaps in permanent employment and how to best frame them in order to not derail your job search.


Locum Tenens, Per Diem, or Temporary Work

Many providers will find themselves taking on non-permanent work at some point in their careers, but for many healthcare recruiters, Locums and temporary work can be a red flag. Recruiters will often wonder why a candidate would choose a temporary or per diem assignment over a permanent position and may draw negative conclusions. Some concerns include:

  • Does the candidate have trouble working with others or getting along with colleagues?
  • Are there credentialing issues that would make it difficult to bring on the candidate permanently?
  • Was the candidate terminated from a previous position due to productivity or disciplinary issues?

Make sure you are honest when discussing your motivations temporary or per diem work, especially if the reasons behind the non-permanent assignments were for financial or personal reasons (such as relocating for a spouse’s job) and emphasize your desire for a permanent position where you can build a long-term career.


Downsizing & Fit Issues

In this uncertain healthcare landscape, many some providers will find themselves on the receiving end of downsizing. Whether it’s due to a hospital closure or a practice being purchased by a group or health system, these situations have become relatively common. Be up front about this being the reason you are looking for a new position and how it has led you to seek out opportunities with a more stable group.

As for issues of cultural fit, phrasing is of the utmost importance. You don’t want to speak negatively of your employer, so it is crucial to frame it simply and let the recruiter know how the experience has allowed you to identify what practice culture you would align best with.


Personal Reasons

There are times when life happens and candidates find themselves taking time off from work . Whether it is taking time to care for sick family members, maternity leave, or difficulty finding a new position after relocating for a spouse’s position. In these cases, it is perfectly acceptable to note these gaps on your resume or CV, noting time taken for family leave, providing recruiters with an easy to spot reason for any gaps in employment.


Key Take Aways:

  • Honesty is key when addressing gaps in employment. Whether you were downsized or turned out to be a poor cultural fit for a practice, the truth will come out. Just make sure to frame explanations in a positive light.
  • Temporary work can set off alarm bells for recruiters, but candidates often have a good reason behind it. Make sure to plainly explain the reasons behind temporary or per diem work and your desire to find a long-term, permanent position.
  • Feel free to note time taken off for family or personal leave on your resume or CV to put any concerns regarding gaps in employment to rest before even being asked for a phone interview.