Are you the Hunter or the Hunted

Physicians are bombarded every day by headhunters, drug reps, insurance people, hospital schedulers, medical records people, salesmen of every stripe and not to mention, that engaging chap who just happens to have only a few shares left of stock in that miracle company. 

When you live your life as the hunted, it’s no wonder physicians often don’t realize that when they make the decision to step away from clinical practice and enter the nonclinical executive world, they have to become hunters. For many, the realization occurs quietly. It materializes in unreturned phone calls, contacts being perpetually late for meetings or people simply not following up as quickly or as thoroughly as you, as a physician in a clinical environment, are accustomed to.  

The reason is simple, your role has shifted. As a physician, all orders, admissions, any action involving a patient – which is probably 90 percent of your professional focus, must come directly from you vis-à-vis a signed order. You are the lynchpin and everyone is clamoring for your attention. You’re used to being pursued and you’ve built your own mechanisms to deal with that pursuit. Your objective, only allow the truly necessary to penetrate your inner sanctum and deal directly with you.

Today, however, today, as you begin your search for a nonclinical career transition, you must become the hunter. The medical headhunter who’d happily talk with you at 3:00 a.m. because that’s your on-call break in the ER is now replaced by an executive recruiter who’s asking you, what is your current position and title? If your answer is, I’m in practice, then expect a quick end to the call.  Yes, you must now become the hunter. 

Hunters are always on the hunt. That means, any phone call not returned or acknowledged within 24 hours is called again. That means you don’t wait for follow-ups, you create them. When you end a meeting, you ask for the next steps and if the answer is, “I’ll get back with you,” you say that you’ll put a note in your file to follow up in a week if you’ve heard nothing. 

It also means you’re always looking for prey. In every conversation you should be asking yourself, how could I help this person, what would I do to solve their problems or help them achieve the goals they are having trouble reaching. Just like listening to a patient, you should be listening to everyone you speak with to diagnose their problems and challenges in order to turn them into your opportunity to help. You don’t need to be pushy. You don’t need to say, “Well, if you hired me, I could solve that problem for you.” All you need to say is, “Have you tried this…” Express your interest and express your desire to understand their problem in more detail. Superficial problems with superficial solutions usually lead nowhere. You need to be hunting for your "ah ha" moment when you know you’re the best person to solve a problem and you’re able to express your value clearly, definitively and convincingly. Happy Hunting.


If you’d like to learn more about taking a proactive approach to your career and other critical factors to successful nonclinical career transition, I’d be happy to work with you as an individual client or in a Physician Career BootCamp™ . You might also want to buy my book… “The Physicians’ Guide to NonClinical Careers.” It’s available from Amazon on Kindle.