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January 11, 2021

In-house recruiters and agency recruiters: What’s the difference?

In-house and agency physician recruiters

In my previous role as executive director of physician practices and recruitment for a large health care system, and in my current role as director of physician and client operations for PracticeLink, I’m often asked by physicians: "What is the difference between an in-house physician recruiter and an agency or search firm recruiter?"

Knowing the difference can help you make the best decisions when it comes to your job search.

Many job-seeking physicians know that tools like PracticeLink are helpful for identifying opportunities based on professional needs and geographic and lifestyle requirements. But you should also know who is on the other end of the job postings and how that person can help with your career needs.

One main difference between an in-house recruiter and an agency recruiter is that in-house recruiters are employed directly by the hospitals, clinics or other organizations they represent. It is their job to recruit physicians for positions within their own organizations and communities. The physicians that in-house recruiters hire will take care of those recruiters’ families and friends. Additionally, in-house recruiters can provide firsthand information about the organizations and communities. They usually live in the area where their opportunities are based. Because in-house recruiters are employed by the hiring organizations, they are already being paid a salary, so there is no placement fee when a physician is hired.

Long-term retention is key for in-house recruiters. They are concerned not only about each physician’s goals and career requirements but also about their spouse and children. In-house recruiters want to learn about each candidate’s family needs and interests because they’re hoping to find a fit for the entire family.

Agency recruiters are contracted by hospitals or other organizations to find and place physician candidates. Placement fees are then paid to the agencies for each physician or candidate hired - sometimes in excess of $25,000. Although an agency recruiter may not be based in the community for which they’re hiring, they may be able to present you with multiple options in various locations.

Here at PracticeLink, we work with more than 5,000 healthcare facilities representing more than 25,000 job opportunities nationwide. Our network includes both in-house recruiters and agency recruiters. Both types are looking for physicians to fill jobs within the organizations they represent.

On you can choose to look at all open jobs, or you can narrow it to only those posted by in-house recruiters or agency recruiters. This allows you to choose the type of recruiter you’d prefer to work with. We want you to understand the differences between the types so you can decide which recruiter best suits your personal and family needs when you’re looking for a job.

We look forward to helping make your job search easier and putting you in control of your career.

Tammy Hager is PracticeLink’s director of physician and client operations. Reach her at (800) 776-8383 ext. 459.

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