I get a fair number of emails and phone calls from pharmacy recruiters. The number has decreased over the past couple of years secondary to the change in demand for pharmacists, but I still get them. Lately I think itâ€™s a byproduct of having a LinkedIn profile, which makes me wonder if LinkedIn is worth the time, energy and effort of keeping an online work profile up to date. That’s a post for another day.
Regardless, most of the recruiters that contact me offend more than intrigue me, and hereâ€™s where they make their mistakes.
- Saying â€œnew grads welcomeâ€ â€“ New flash, I’m not a new grad. Iâ€™ve been a pharmacist for a long time and I havenâ€™t needed a job that will accept new grads since I was a new grad back in 1997. Any job that would pique my interest wouldnâ€™t hire a new grad. Why? Because the willingness to hire a new grad means one of two things: 1) The job doesnâ€™t require any particular skill set; I have several. I have no desire to start at the bottom again. 2) The pharmacy director views his/her pharmacists as interchangeable cogs with no discernable value other than filling an open hole in their schedule. Boy, who wouldnâ€™t want a job like that! *sarcasm*. If youâ€™d done even a tiny bit of homework youâ€™d realize this type of job wouldnâ€™t interest me for a second.
- Selling the location â€“ If youâ€™re trying to sell me on a job based on the location – i.e. great views, nearby lake, lots of outdoor activities, etc â€“ rather than the merits of the job, then I view that as an attempt to pull the wool over my eyes. I refer to this as the used-car-sales-approach to recruiting. Iâ€™ll tell you a secret people, I live in Fresno, CA. Fresno will never be on any of the lists of top places to live. The air quality in the Central Valley is poor, it gets hot in the summer (> 100 F), the winters are not cold, but theyâ€™re dismally foggy and ugly, etc. But, itâ€™s my home and I like it here. I chose to live here for various reasons, none of which has anything to do with lakes or fishing or views, etc.
- Salary â€“ I absolutely hate it when a recruiter says they have a â€œhigh payingâ€ opening that Iâ€™d be perfect for. Really? Do you know what my salary is? From item #2 above – I live in Fresno, which just happens to be one of the highest paying areas for pharmacists in the country. The pharmacist shortage caused a lot of problems in the Central Valley of California because itâ€™s not a desirable place to live. If you could go anywhere in California, the Central Valley probably wouldnâ€™t be at the top of your list. So to entice pharmacists to come here hospitals and retail chains had to create some type of incentive, and that incentive was money. Iâ€™ve looked at directorâ€™s roles in other states that pay less than the lowliest staff pharmacist in California. Salary shouldnâ€™t be the only reason for taking a job, but itâ€™s certainly important for you and your family to consider. No one wants to go backward. Yeah, yeah, I know – the “cost of living is less“. See #4 below.
- Cost of living â€“ Ok, Iâ€™ll say it one more time â€“ I live in Fresno. Do a little homework and youâ€™ll find that the â€œcost of livingâ€ in Fresno is low compared to many other desirable places. And just remember, when a recruiter says the cost of living is low they really mean housing is cheap. My car will cost the same, the bread I eat will cost the same, Diet Pepsi costs the same, buying a plane ticket to take vacation will cost the same, my Quarter Pounder with Cheese at McDonalds will cost the same, and the new laptop I order from Lenovo online will cost the same; so on ad infinitum. So please donâ€™t try the â€œcost of living is lowerâ€ crap on me because it makes you look like a complete idiot.
- Disconnect between recruiter and client â€“ Some recruiters, not all, will try anything to get you to take a new job. Hey, itâ€™s how they make their living. Unfortunately Iâ€™ve found that some of what they say may not be in line with what their clients want. Let me give you a prime example. During my last year as an IT pharmacist in the hospital I started looking to move up in the world. I wanted to get a job that would allow me to make decisions that would drive the automation and technology inside a health-system. In other words, I wanted to wear the big boy pants for a while. I put out some feelers and one recruiter offered me what I thought would be the perfect fit. The job was out of state, which was a big deal for me and my family, but we all agreed it would be worth it if the job met my expectations. The job seemed to offer what I was interested in: informatics role over multiple hospitals, working directly with the decision makers, overseeing projects and driving the pharmacies toward a new practice model with the use of automation and technology, yada yada yada. It looked so good that I flew back east for the interview. During the interview it became obvious that the healthcare system was looking for a grunt to handle â€œpharmacy dictionaryâ€ cleanup and lots of data entry for smartpumps and BCMA readiness. At one point the COO of the hospital asked me what I was doing there because he didnâ€™t think the job was going to meet my expectations. I appreciated the candor. We terminated the interview early and I got on a plane and flew home. That was the last time I used a recruiter.
So are all recruiters evil? No, not at all. In fact I think they provide a necessary service and can be useful given the right set of circumstances. With that said, if youâ€™re going to present me with an opportunity please do your homework first. Take a few minutes to realize that Iâ€™m not a new grad, a desirable location to live isnâ€™t my first priority and quite honestly I never want to go back to being a grunt again. These things are no secret. All you have to do is look at my job history and CV posted on LinkedIn to figure it out, and common sense says youâ€™ll do that before contacting me. After all isnâ€™t that what having all this information at your fingertips is all about? Just sayinâ€™.