Tired of reading about how the HIT labor market has been tightening up over the past few months? Me too.

As we’re constantly reading about HIT positions that can’t seem to get filled, it’s easy to overlook those still out of work. As if it’s not frustrating enough to be unemployed, the frustration meter must really go into the red zone with each new article or blog post about the white hot job market.

As a search consultant, I regularly speak with people who are in-between jobs. I make a point of encouraging them and reminding them that, however it feels, this situation is temporary. Easy as it is for me to say, I ask them to keep their spirits up and keep at it. Something will break their way.

Besides this necessary optimism, there are two other required ingredients of a successful job hunt: determination and discipline.

I remember how the author of a book about running presented his take on the difference between the two. He wrote that determination is faithfully sticking to your program, and resisting the many temptations to miss a workout. Discipline is not running with an injury. You may feel on the mend or in bad need of a run, but discipline allows you to be smart and not risk further injury.

The same applies to job hunting. Determination will force you to view looking for your next position as a full-time job. Discipline will keep you from settling for just any old job that comes along.

I’ve been unemployed. I know the pain. It’s hard on the self-esteem, the wallet, and even the relationships we cherish.

Every situation is different. Some job seekers simply have no choice but to accept what’s offered. Others are fortunate enough to have more staying power. They can afford to be a bit selective. If you’re in this group, this plea is directed to you.

By the time you receive a job offer, you’ve probably had more than one interview, possibly with more than one person (I know, I know – some places really put you through the ringer). You should have gotten a fairly good sense of the people and the organization.

When evaluating the offer, now is not the time to abandon your instincts or suspend your otherwise good judgment. Difficult as it may be, try to dispassionately evaluate all aspects of the opportunity: the organization; its culture, leadership, and reputation; your potential boss; the expectations of and clarity about your role; and everything else, including – yes, the compensation.

For example, marriage metaphors aside, are you thinking of taking a job reporting to someone who doesn’t seem your type, telling yourself that, “Maybe he’ll change?”

If you didn’t “need” this job, would it still be an attractive offer?

If you can look objectively and thoroughly at an opportunity without compromising your standards, and it looks and feels right, congratulations. You’re back to work.

However, if you don’t get a good feeling from an objective assessment, and you’re able, you may want to consider  the offer a compliment, pat yourself on the back for your good judgment and discipline, and look for the right offer. After all, it is a white hot market.

Jim Gibson has been in health care for over 25 years. In 2002 he founded Gibson Consultants after several years in healthcare IT and group health insurance. Gibson Consultants is a national search firm specializing in healthcare IT companies.



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