On the Move: Why a Constantly Moving Physician is a Red Flag

In the U.S., it has become increasingly common for a physician to relocate to practice at least once during their career. In fact, the New Englad Journal of Medicine reports that about 40% of newly practicing physicians choose to leave their intitial practice opportunity within two (2) years. Whether to pursue a particularly fantastic opportunity, receive specialized training in another area, receive visa sponsorship, or move closer to family and friends, these moves often have a strong motivating factor behind them that would contribute to them being a key part of your team should you bring them on board. 

But this is a case in which there can definitely be too much of a good thing. When a candidate relocates more than three times after completing their medical training, red flags should go up in the trained recruiter’s mind. These candidates often will not have a problem leaving your patients and community just as easily as they picked up and left their previous practices. These candidates often fall into one of three camps:


The Opportunity Hawk

Constantly driven to advance their careers, these candidates are always on the lookout for their next big career move – regardless of where this big break may be. This candidate places the quality of the opportunity above all other factors and often sees their next opportunity as a pit stop along the journey of their career. The drive and ambition exemplified by this type of candidate can be an asset to your organization, especially if you have ample opportunities for advancement. But beware – just as you lured them away from their last employer, they can be lured away from you as well.

The Wanderlust Physician

California, New York, Texas, big city, rural city – this candidate has seen it all (or at least would like to). These candidates often gravitate towards locums work and enjoy the excitement and variety that comes with experience new locations and employment settings regularly. While your organizations community and location may have attracted this candidate’s attention, another will surely pop up soon enough and you will find yourself needing to brush off your physician recruitment cap.

The Difficult Co-Worker

Everyone has one. A co-worker that is notoriously difficult to work with can ruin an otherwise sucessful team. Whether they don’t respond well to authority or just rub others the wrong way, these candidates often find themselves being asked to leave or just taking it upon themselves to find a new opportunity. These candidates often go back and forth between permanent and locums work, with no positions lasting too long. When asking these candidates why they’ve moved around so much in their career, keep an eye out for frequent mentions of positions “not being the right fit” or “not what they were looking for.”

Keeping an eye our for red flags in physician CVs is a crucial part of the recruitment process. By identifying them early on, it makes addressing any concerns much easier in the begining stages of the process and ensures that your organization will be much more likely to find that elusive “perfect fit.”

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