It All Starts With A Present

It all starts with a presentation

A ‘present’ is what introduces a provider to the decision maker behind an opportunity.

When a locum’s job opens up, candidates for that opportunity are presented to the client for review. Industry lingo calls this a ‘present’ and this article talks about what a present consists of, why they are important and why it pays off to be presented by a reputable recruiter and company. This article also talks about the potential hazards of being presented through the wrong company.

What is included in a present?

A present is just what it sounds like, a presentation to the client for a specific job opportunity. The ultimate goal of a present is to match as closely as possible the ideal candidate with that job and its requirements. A present will usually include: a provider’s CV, the provider’s availability, a list of highlights that make the candidate a good fit for the job and the rates agreed upon for that assignment.

NALTO and protecting the industry:

The locum tenens industry is governed by NALTO (National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations). NALTO was established in 2001 to promote and enforce strong industry standards and practices for our profession; stressing integrity, honesty, objectivity and competency. NALTO has established guidelines regarding presenting a provider to a client.

When a locum tenens company ‘presents’ a provider to a client, that

agency has a two year ‘ownership’ over that relationship. These rules are set in place to protect the provider and client from being involved in disputes between agencies. Also, there is a lot of work involved in creating jobs and finding providers to fill these jobs, so a presentation protects these agencies as well and helps to prevent locum tenens companies from ‘stepping on each other’s toes’ so to speak.

What to watch out for:

Many providers are unfamiliar about the presentation process and how it can negatively impact their locum tenens experience if working with the wrong company. Although the NALTO ‘ownership’ rules are set in place to protect all parties involved, the locum tenens market is an extremely competitive industry and there are companies that use unscrupulous tactics that can adversely affect the provider. The best protection is knowledge, here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Know where you are being presented: Locums companies are obligated to get your permission to present, do not allow a company to blindly present without your knowledge. Keep a log of where you have been presented (agency, date & facility) and request a presentation confirmation letter or email. If there is ambiguity of where you are being presented, this is a red flag.
  • Be selective about who presents you: some locums agencies might not have a good relationship with a facility and if you are presented through them, you may be locking yourself out of an opportunity that you would otherwise be more than qualified for. In fact, some agencies may be intentionally presenting you often just so that they can keep you from working with a more reputable company.
  • Educate yourself on VMS: recently there has been an expansion of companies who try VMS (vendor management systems) for locums. These are software programs or brokers that have attempted to ‘commoditize’ providers and try to make matches based on a ‘checklist’ of features. VMS systems promise to reduce costs and are attractive on paper so many facilities are open to trying them. The problem is deliverability and cost cutting, you may be locked in for two years with a relationship where the lowest bidder wins. See the additional links at the end of this article for more useful information about VMS, or contact me to learn which companies use VMS.

A $60,000 piece of paper

Not all presentations are created equal. The presentation is the one point where I can make a big difference in helping the providers I represent get the job. I spend a lot of time creating beautiful presentations that tell the whole story behind a provider I work with, because that piece of paper could be a deal worth $20, 40, 60, 100K.

I talk to providers and often they say “just send them my CV and see what they say”. While it may seem from a providers perspective that a CV is all the recruiter or decision maker needs to see, in reality these decision makers can often see hundreds of CV’s over the course of the year. My job is to help the surgeons I work with really STAND OUT from the competition.

I often analyze what presentations look like from my competition, and candidly they are often nothing more than a few highlights pulled out of a CV. Where I can make a difference is by digging in deeper and finding out more about the surgeons that I work with. Here are some things that are not typically found in a CV but can be included in or with a presentation (often times there is benefit in seeing the person behind the CV):

  • Reason for doing locums work
  • Passions or special areas of interest within the profession
  • Hobbies or activities outside of work
  • References & verbal reference summaries
  • Letters of recommend
  • EMR familiarity
  • Articles, videos or bragging rights
  • BIO’s, photo

It is also very important to disclose any potential issues or problems (malpractice, pending suits, suspensions, law suits, criminal activity, and substance abuse). The credentialing process will reveal most of these things anyway, and when a facility finds out about something that was not disclosed, it is a major red flag and usually time and energy is wasted that could have been avoided had these issues been discussed up front. Often times there are workarounds and decision makers respect providers who are up front about problems.

  • Malpractice and disciplinary information
  • Explanation letters or summaries for malpractice or other issues

Tip: Going the extra mile. Many surgeons and recruiters are too busy to really dig in and build a quality present. Let’s be honest, it can take some extra effort to go above and beyond, but this gives me and the surgeons I work with an advantage. Again, some people look at a present as merely a bunch of highlights, while I look at a presentation as a $60,000 piece of paper.

Tip: Send your CV and letters digitally and not by fax or scan. When you scan or fax a CV, it will often have a rough or grainy look to it, and just not as professional as a digital copy. Looks do matter, so make sure your CV is comparable to other attractive examples.

Commitment and Etiquette:

If there are solid dates on the present, it is expected that if the client confirms that you are committed to doing working those dates. Before presenting to any opportunity, discuss with your representative any possible other opportunities or commitments (vacations, etc.) that might come in the way. You may be presented to another job that has conflicting dates, if one of them confirms, make sure to let your rep know as soon as possible so he can close out the other.

Once you have been confirmed for an assignment, you will receive a letter of confirmation. It is extremely important to hold your commitment once this point has been reached. When you accept an assignment, that facility and many of the patients there are relying on you for coverage. Also, the facility is letting go of other potential candidates in order to have you there.

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