This is the first of a three-part blog theme with some ideas on how and why candidates must adapt to how market competition and the transformation of healthcare are rapidly changing the job market

Seasoned healthcare executives entering the job market, either through no fault of their own (restructuring/downsizing) or because they failed to deliver value, have something in common — increased scrutiny.

Candidates are facing a level of examination of their past performance, from the quality of the results they delivered to how they managed relationships that is more intense today than at any time in their careers.

On the client side healthcare systems, hospitals and other service providers are growing increasingly concerned with lower rates of reimbursement, the rapid shift from inpatient to ambulatory care settings, the impact of value-based payments, and in the future, even more financial challenges, all the result of anticipated deficit reduction measures on Medicare and Medicaid.  They are ramping up enterprise-wide reviews of expenses and trimming their head count in an attempt to prepare their organizations for what will be a wild transformation to a new business model.

This means executive recruitment will become more focused than ever before on connecting the needs of the client to the candidate’s relevant experience as well as their record of performance.   For candidates, if the resume does not reflect impressive results in the specific areas of need by the client, they should not be surprised if they do not survive the first round, the desk review of the resume.  That means candidates must do more research on the clients they are pursuing.  Candidates whose resumes list responsibilities versus accomplishments must change.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work with a respected physician executive who had an impressive record of leadership and performance in the medical service corps and an equally impressive run as a physician executive for a public health system in the south, rising to the level of CEO.  After some questionable dealings by the board and an amazingly inept (read: botched) annual performance review, he decided to leave.

After more than a year of disappointment in the job market, I had an occasion to offer what I considered was solid advice on adapting his style to the changing job market.  His response was not what I expected.

“I have been doing this all my life and I am not going to change now,” or words to that effect.

Too bad.  He was indeed a great leader but he didn’t think he needed to change.

That was his last job in healthcare.  He is now retired.

A dramatic increase in the competition for the top jobs and the intense level of scrutiny on a candidate’s performance and relevant experience are like two bright strobe lights on a dark night, warning candidates to change or else.  Healthcare organizations feel they have no room for error in making a hiring decision.

Wednesday – DOA:  The Cover Letter