Quick question as I’m an ID pharmacist in the process of interviewing for an Epic Willow Analyst Pharmacist position following completion of the Sphinx assessment. This is part of a local health-system-wide implementation and the system is willing to pay for/provide certification.
My question revolves around the terms “contract to hire” from a staffing/consulting firm that I guess has been tasked with managing the implementation?
- Do health-systems frequently outsource hiring for Epic implementations?
I took the assessment at the health-systems HR office and I have to interview with the actual health-system managers as well. I was told the firm has high 90% conversion rates to employment. Obviously a new realm for me so:
- Is this a common situation?
- Any pitfalls to lookout for or things to make sure I clarify if an offer follows?
- Anything unique or concerning about a contract to hire scenario?
Thanks for your insight!
Thank you for your question… I’ve been meaning to come back and give some updates on the new changes in the Epic world… They’ve implemented some somewhat significant updates with regard to recruiting and on-boarding of new analysts over the last year so your question is very well-timed.
In the past, the Sphinx test wasn’t a requirement but now they’re moving to make it mandatory. When I started as an Epic Willow Analyst, it wasn’t required but my organization chose to follow the Epic recommendations as closely as possible and thus we ALL had to take it. Thankfully I passed because it was a doozy back then… 🙂
On to your specific questions:
- Yes, health systems very frequently outsource the hiring of analysts and trainers for their Epic implementations. In fact, there are some companies that specialize in just this niche of recruitment, companies like Nordic Consulting, The HCI Group, an entire division of Robert Half, Leidos, etc.
- PS: for the record, I have not worked with any of these companies personally and have no contacts or ties to them, but being around the Epic community, you get to learn who the players in the field are.
- The thinking behind this is that the outsourcing company will assume the human resources “risk” associated with recruitment, training, and hiring and the healthcare organization can focus on what they do best… Healthcare… However, they have the option of keeping the cream-of-the-crop, hence the “contract-to-hire” set-up, but they pay the recruiting company a premium for that privilege when they take the good contractors off their hands, or they’ll have an agreement in place that stipulates the contractor can be “released” to the organization after a defined period of time (usually long enough for the recruitment company to recoup their costs incurred in hiring and training the Epic consultants). That’s how it worked at my organization when they brought in consultants for our own systemwide Epic implementation and I’m pretty sure, from talking with the consultants who have been around for a while, that that’s pretty much the industry standard.
- Pitfalls & Things to Look Out For/Ask About: Be prepared to live with a certain level of uncertainty until and unless you get an offer to become an employee of the organization (if you aren’t already). Ask the recruiting company how long your contract with them will be and what the consequences of breaking off early will be.
- Also… Do NOT let the recruiting company lowball you. Unfortunately, they are notorious for trying to lowball clinicians. You are a pharmacist, don’t let them convince you that being an Epic Analyst means you need to take a pay cut and then work your way back up…maybe…
- The healthcare organization pays them a hefty sum for you and they take their cut and will try to skimp on how much of the pie they slice off for you. Stand firm… Hold your ground. If you have a Pharm.D and the organization wants analysts who are pharmacists or have Pharm.D degrees then they know what you’re worth. Don’t let the middleman try and cheat you… I’ve seen it happen a LOT firsthand among consultants who come in through some of these companies.
I think those two bullet points pretty much address all your questions but of course, if there’s anything else you need more clarification on please don’t hesitate to ask.
Best of luck with your decision! I’d like to hear what you decide to do in the end if you care to share.
So I have been selected to receive an offer for the Epic Analyst position; however, it seems the recruiting/staffing company is negotiating some items I’m told and was informed the health system may not be able to extend me an offer after all if their finances won’t allow it.
They are a little vague on the details when I asked questions, but am assuming the recruiting company and health system are disagreeing on the fees they will receive for bringing me to them?
Any insight on a situation like this from being around Epic implementations?
Strange that I haven’t been shared any details of a specific offer yet to evaluate if reasonable – so assuming it’s all around fees.
Yes… I think I can shed some light on this for you.
Typically when an organization outsources the hiring to a third-party company (a recruiting or staffing firm/agency), they will have something like a “package price” for each position. For example, the healthcare organization might agree to pay the agency $100 for an Epic Willow Analyst (I’m just using $100 because it’s an easy number to work with).
From that $100, the agency takes their cut/”finder’s fee” and then pays you from the same $100. So the higher the hourly rate they pay you (typically, you’ll be paid by the hour even if you are receiving a W2 from them), the less $$$ they get to keep.
If you’ve quoted them a rate that they feel cuts too deeply into their profits, they may create a “push-back” scenario wherein it appears that they can’t agree with the organization on what to pay you… But in reality, the amount they get from the organization had already been agreed upon when they, the organization, first contracted with the agency to find analysts or trainers, etc. for them.
So in actuality, the “fee bargaining” that’s really going on is between you and them… What rate you want or deserve and what rate they’re willing to pay you.
Disclaimer: I cannot say with all certainty that that’s the particular situation you’re facing right now, but I can say with high degree of certainty that I have seen that happen multiple times, with analysts I have personally worked with. I know this because being on the inside of the hiring organization, our manager has shared some of this information with us when we were trying to bring on more analysts using an agency.
I hope that helps!
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask…
Keep me posted too… Now I’m curious to know how all this pans out.
PS: I forgot one more thing… Certain agencies that hire Epic consultants for organizations make it a point to share with the consultants exactly how much they are being paid by the organization and how much of that you (the consultant) get. That way everything is above board and the consultants don’t feel like information is being hidden from them around money and pay rates etc.