Shocking comment from physician recruiter

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    I’m still so shell-shocked that I have to share this and hear responses…

    I interviewed recently for a job and was first met by the hospital recruiter who noted my ring and asked me if I was “engaged”. He seemed mortified to find I am married and have a child. His immediate next statement was, “Well, I HOPE you don’t intend to work part time or to leave this practice to have children because TWO women have already done that to them”. 😮 Great. Nice start to the day. As it happens, things turned out ok because he has nothing to do with the actual practice. He’s just a recruiting idiot. But he planted this seed in my head that future children would be a huge issue, so when I had a chance to talk with the practice manager I’m rambling on about it like a bumbling idiot. :confused: BUT the actual docs and the rest of the office staff were really nice and everybody seemed happy to see me there.

    As the day was over, he asked me if “THE ISSUE” was brought up, and I tried to be composed and say that it really wasn’t an issue at all.

    The real problem is that, of course, no one else was around to hear this statement, so it’s just my word against his.



    Krystal –

    I don’t know if that was your first job interview or not. If it was, I would say you may be hearing more of the same thing regarding your plans for more children. Yes, it is “illegal” (has anyone ever heard of it being enforced?!) to be asked questions regarding your childbearing plans, but I have to say that on every one of the recent job interviews I went on recently, my “family plans” were brought up. Some people were more subtle than others, and I never had anyone as blunt as that guy you spoke to was.

    One interview was with two physicians, the clinic director and her boss, a man. SHE actually brought up the fact that I had a little girl, and the guy looks at me with raised eyebrows and says “Oh?” Then there was this pregnant (no pun intended) silence. I said “Yep, she’s great.” Then they both just sat there and looked at me, waiting for more information. I finally said “We have no plans for another in the near future” which was true then, and probably still true now. But something along these lines happened with each group I talked to. I started volunteering the fact that I have a baby (well she was one then, now she’s a toddler) and left the ball in their court. I was outright asked if I was planning on more and I said “Yes, maybe in three years or so, but not any time soon”. This seemed to placate them. And not once did the job discussions end there – I had my pick of offers.

    I was honest with people because I felt I should be honest with people who would be my partners. In a way I think your future job partners have a right to know if you are going to need time off in the near future – because they are going to have to cover your call, and they are also going to have to see your clinic patients while you are out – so I see their concerns. There are definitely more polite ways of bringing it up though! That guy isn’t much of a “recruiter”!!

    Take care 🙂


    As I prepare my ERAS application and work on my dreaded personal statement, I am deeply concerned that I will get similar questioning while interviewing for residency.

    While we have decided that we are probably done having any more children (boys are 4 and 8), I am wondering how to handle questions about it – the worry that I will somehow screw up the call schedule because I’m a mom or even worse, possibly become pregnant.

    I am also very concerned about questions regarding my husband, who is becoming a partner in his surgical practice. (The explanation of why he is doing this when he said he would follow me and I expressed my desire to move is beyond me at this time.) I am dreading the inquiry of “how are you going to do this” and “Is your husband willing to move?”

    I am committed to going to the best fitting program I can get into. Though it is “only” 3 or 4 years, I do not want to be someplace that I do not like. I am also tired of being the only one in this family/marriage to make compromises and sacrifices – an issue to be addressed separately.

    So, for those of you in residency or on your way out… any suggestions for the M4?



    Ugh… 15 years later and still things haven’t changed with these inappropriate questions. You have to handle them with grace just like you would any inappropriate question.

    Answer to how you will you make this work out.

    You answer like a male surgeon would…. I will do what it takes to fulfill my responsibilities. I will work it out. I have resources (could be money) and support ( could be family). They just want to see if you are a person who is easily rattled and doubts their abilities to cope. You will deal with things together as a couple as they happen.That is all they need to know. Or I have been able to succeed in my studies and other things up until now and am confident that I will be able to succeed in the future. Work on your languaging. Everyone has doubts but as women we need to learn now to share them as much…. 15 years out of school and still practicing…b


    This really doesnt suprise me! I ran into the same “attitudes” when I interviewed for a flight attendant position with a major airline that prides themselves as being top dog in the “friendly skies”. Anyway, out of six interviewers 4 of them were male. I was asked if I had any intentions of marrying and having children. I thought this was an odd question since I was 19 years old and marriage was the furthest thing from my mind. Anyway, I went on to give them that “one day my prince will come and we will ride blissfully into the sunset to begin our mission of being fruitful and multiply” story. One of the male interviewers asked me if I understood that the airline maintains a strict weight policy and that several flight attendants have been dismissed because they found it “challenging” to loose their post pregnancy pounds. Ah, the seed had been successfully planted. Needless to say, I was too young and inexperienced to be offended by his comments. But looking back on the situation, and having a bit more experience with the underlying predjudices against women in the workplace, I would have simply told him that it was really none of their business what I planned to do with my personal life or my body for that matter. On a sadder note, during my eight years with this company I watched many women abort wanted pregnancies just because they felt the pressure of “maintaining a professional appearance”, in order to keep a job. Yes, we women, have come a long way, baby. But if you ask me we still have a long way to go. My prayers with you all and remember we are the ones that will change the tone of our society(on this issue)for our daughters.
    Peace to you,


    Just to add:
    I didn’t want my previous post to leave you thinking that I am advocating “blowing off” interviewers who choose to ask inappropriate questions or giving them a piece of your mind. I certainly agree that we should exude grace and be very tactful in getting our points across. 😀

    Cynthia TGCynthia TG

    I am a 48YO psychiatrist/health care administrator who has taken a personal sabbatical for the past year or so, and have had a lot of time to reflect on the plight of female physicians in the marketplace. What my years of experience from both ends of the spectrum (as clinician and administrator) have taught me is that as women, we need to posture ourselves with prospective employers in a way that THEY are also being interviewed. We need to assess how invested they are in our success as physicians and as persons, and there needs to be concrete evidence to support their claims. So often we as women are do not require enough from the workplace or our environs in general, believing somehow that having our needs met might be detrimental to the system we are serving.

    So, when responding to these kinds of inquiries from employers, take the driver’s seat and make an assessment of what is actually being conveyed. I’m glad it turned out well for you, and that the recruiter’s sentiments did not represent those of the practicioners with whom you would be working. Continuing to ask questions is the key, I believe, and assess how what is being said reflects the investment that will be made in YOU. And for those doubters, this can be done without becoming obnoxious and while maintaining appropriate decorum and tact.

    Happy trails!

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