Beth Billing, our team leader for the paediatric, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, and consultant desks, has been working for HCL Doctors for 10 years. Below, she shares a little about her experience and why she loves her role.
You started with HCL in 2005 – did you have any prior recruitment experience?
No; I graduated from university in 2004, after which I had a hideous job working in telesales for six months, selling computer consumables. I applied for the role at HCL on the back of an advert in the local paper – that’s how we used to advertise at the time. When I started at HCL, I settled in straight away, I loved it.
Tell me a little about your experience here?
It’s a nice place to work; the Skipton office is lovely. I love being a recruitment consultant; I still get joy each time I place a doctor in their first job, be it someone who’s new to locuming, or returning to it after some time away. I enjoy looking after my doctors and placing them where they want to work.
I’ve worked with HCL Doctors since 2005 and, having seen the changing face of locuming, I can appreciate the strong position HCL is currently in. It is run well, as shown by the contracts that we’ve got, the volume of business that comes from them, and the fact that HCL is still winning business off the back of them. When it comes to compliance, our approach can sometimes be perceived as strict; however, a comprehensive compliance procedure is essential in protecting patient safety. I also feel this attitude gives us more credibility as a responsible agency.
What does a typical day as a recruitment consultant involve?
Firstly, open your jobs utility so that you can see all the vacancies coming through and process them immediately. You’ll speak to most of your doctors about matching them with the latest jobs and offering them the positions that come through.
It is also necessary to sort through your list of paid doctors and any rejected timesheets to make sure there aren’t any problems. If you spot a delayed timesheet, it is important to inform the doctor in question so they do not panic about where the payment is; put your doctor at ease.
As a team leader, I also monitor the override report which tells me how many minutes my team spends on the phone and their progress in hitting targets.
How has your role changed over the years?
I was hired as a recruitment consultant in 2005, and then became a senior recruitment consultant in 2007. In 2008, I went to work in our India office for three months as they had lost their operations manager. When I returned from India, I had the opportunity to change specialty from the surgical bank, where I’d been for two years, to paediatrics.
In 2013, I became a team leader. The same year, I went on maternity leave and have now been back in work since January 2015. HCL is an interesting agency; it has changed a lot since I first joined. Since the current managing director of HCL Doctors, Josh Collins, was appointed in 2014, our division has become much more efficient. Overall, it is a better environment to work in and all roles are very defined. HCL’s HR department is great; they are always available if you’ve got an issue or a query. Furthermore, HCL has a very clear career structure – staff can see what their earning potential and career progression is.
What are the highs?
For me, the biggest high is still placing doctors. For example, we recently had a doctor register with us after completing the GP training program. She was keen to start working, but was quite particular about wanting to work day shifts only. However, as she had been away from the paediatric arena for such a long time, we had to work really hard to place her. All of our hard work has paid off as she has now been booked; personally, this is the most satisfying part of my job – helping candidates. It is also important that my doctors trust me; there will be times, particularly when you are dealing with a less experienced doctor, when you’re forwarding their CV for jobs and they can get disheartened if they don’t get them. I find it really satisfying to get them into a hospital and have repeat bookings. We’ve done a lot of work in paediatrics with Great Ormond Street Hospital and all of our doctors who have worked there love it. It’s good experience for their CV and it’s nice to know that you’ve helped a doctor work in such a prestigious hospital, which they may not have had the opportunity to do if they were working as a permanent doctor.
Another high is successfully filling shifts in the trusts with which we have a master vendor contract. When I came back from maternity leave, we were struggling to fill the neonatal intensive-care unit shifts at one master vendor trust. Since then, the team has worked hard to get doctors on-board and we are now filling almost every shift. It’s been tough, but the result is really rewarding.
Do you have any tips for people interested in recruitment?
Confidence and organisation are vital. Also, having a good memory and positive attitude really helps; every doctor that registers with us can be placed somewhere. Build up a relationship and rapport with your doctors and keep in touch regularly. After ten years in the industry, I can confidently say working in recruitment is a truly satisfying career.
Are you a doctor looking to work for a credible and supportive agency? We have vacancies all over the UK so we can offer you shifts wherever you are located. Register with us today and one of our consultants, just like Beth, will be in touch.