For nearly three decades, Tim Blakney has recruited physicians for healthcare positions — first at the U.S. Department of Defense, then in the private sector and now at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Based in Glendale, Colorado, Blakney spends his time networking to attract highly qualified physicians to VA careers. He speaks with VA hiring managers about open positions, he lets doctors know what it’s like to work at VA and he hosts and attends events to showcase the benefits of a VA career. As a Veteran, Blakney finds inspiration from knowing he’s helping hire top-notch providers to serve his fellow Veterans who seek healthcare at VA.
In this installment of our #ChooseVA Careers blog series, Blakney explains why he was attracted to a recruitment career at VA and why he thinks others may be, too.
What is your primary job at VA?
I recruit primary care physicians, emergency medicine physicians and hospitalists as part of the VA Careers recruiting team. Among other duties, I place advertisements and posts on various physician-centric sites to find the best qualified physicians for VA, speak with hiring managers about their ideal candidates and help VA maintain Veterans’ access to care by keeping these positions filled.
How long have you been in this particular job?
I have been a physician recruiter at the Department of Defense, in the private sector and now at VA for almost 27 years.
What was appealing about a career at VA?
Knowing I was helping my fellow Veterans by recruiting top-notch physicians in various specialties to provide the greatest care to them is very fulfilling.
What is the most rewarding part of your job as a recruiter?
Placing that well-qualified physician and knowing that they will have a positive impact on the lives of Veterans.
What are some common questions you receive from applicants?
Normal candidate questions are about salary, time off and other benefits like retirement. They also want to know what their day will be like. (Want to know what it’s like to work at VA? View employee story videos.)
What should job applicants know about working at VA?
VA physicians enjoy work-life balance. In primary care, for instance, there is little to no on-call requirement. Physicians also have a good deal of time allotted to spend time with their patients.
What do people find most surprising about working at VA?
This may not be really surprising, but I have had physicians tell me how nice it is to be treating Veterans, how humbled they are and how much they enjoy listening to stories of service.
What story do you most often tell people about your work?
I like to tell people I am making a difference in the lives of Veteran patients by recruiting quality physicians to care for them.
Have you kept in touch with people you’ve recruited? What positive feedback about VA careers have you heard from people you’ve helped hire?
Absolutely — I get calls all the time from physicians I have recruited asking about benefits they are now interested in and letting me know how much they love what they are doing. Some even ask me to find them another position in VA so they can progress in their careers.
What are some common misperceptions people have about working at VA?
If you have the right training and experience, you can be hired at VA. But you must meet the criteria and go through the hiring process — some people believe they are somehow entitled to come work for VA when they are not qualified. (Read about the hiring process and the frequently asked questions for applicants.)
What advice would you give healthcare professionals who are interested in a career at VA?
I would tell them that there is no greater calling then to come serve Veterans! Research the area and position of interest and locate the recruiter who can help you. Have a current CV and resume.
If you could make up your own VA Careers recruiting slogan, what would it be?
Come care for Veterans, there is no greater calling.
What else would you like us to know about your work?
Contact us to talk about a VA career!