Sam Wright, National Recruitment Specialist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is a Veteran and a veteran recruiter. After 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, 13 of which were spent in recruiting, he took his skills to the private sector and then to VA. For more than 10 years, he’s worked to recruit physicians to serve at VA in a variety of capacities. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Wright spends his time networking, talking to hiring managers about open positions and explaining to doctors what it’s like to work at VA. He also hosts and attends events to showcase the benefits of a VA career.
Wright’s sense of sacred mission inspires him to give back to fellow Veterans who have served. In this installment of our #ChooseVA Careers blog series, Wright 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?
Our entire team works hard to ensure that our Veterans get the care they deserve. My main role is recruiting primary care physicians, emergency medicine physicians, geriatricians and hospitalists as part of the VHA National Healthcare Recruitment team. I work with VA hospitals across the nation, assisting them in finding qualified physicians to fill their vacancies. I work with hospital hiring managers to determine what type of candidate they are looking for, and then I place advertisements on various physician-centric sites to attract qualified candidates for consideration.
How long have you been in this particular job?
I have been at VA for 10 years. Before that, I served for 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, including 13 years as a recruiter, and spent four years in the private sector as a recruiter.
What was appealing about a career at VA?
VA was a natural progression after recruiting people to enter the military (Air Force). Now I am recruiting healthcare providers to care for those who have served in the military.
What is the most rewarding part of your job as a recruiter?
Ensuring our Veterans receive the care they deserve by placing qualified and dedicated healthcare providers in facilities where they are needed the most.
What are some common questions you receive from applicants?
We get the normal questions such as salary, work hours, vacation time, call schedule and bonuses. (Learn about the benefits of a VA physician career — including a strong starting salary; competitive compensation based on education, training and experience; and a bundle of benefits — online at VA Careers.)
What should job applicants know about working at VA?
Physicians enjoy a good work-life balance and don’t have the headaches of managing a private practice. Their time is dedicated to doing what they were trained for: caring for patients.
What do people find most surprising about working at VA?
I believe they are surprised and humbled by the sacrifices our Veterans have made for our country and the injuries they have sustained in defending it. I believe this motivates them to ensure that our Veterans get the best care anywhere.
What story do you most often tell people about your work?
Working for VA is an honor, and what we do is important: Our job is to find the highest quality healthcare providers to care for our Veterans.
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?
Many of my prior candidates contact me from time to time. Some are interested in promotion opportunities at other VAs and some are looking to relocate to other geographic locations. They are appreciative to have received the opportunity to practice medicine at VA and often say that they have the best patients.
What are some common misperceptions people have about working at VA?
Some people think we are part of the military or that you have to join the military to work for VA. Today’s VA is not like the VA of old — anyone with the qualifications for the job can apply and get hired at VA.
What advice would you give healthcare professionals who are interested in a career at VA?
I would recommend you visit www.VAcareers.va.gov and use the keyword search function to look for available positions at USAjobs. I would also recommend you talk to a VA healthcare provider and ask them about practicing medicine at VA.
If you could make up your own VA Careers recruiting slogan, what would it be?
Caring For Those Who Have Served.
What else would you like us to know about your work?
We have an experienced, professional and dedicated team of recruiters who are ready and willing to assist healthcare providers in finding out more about a VA career. Talk to us. (See contact information below.)
Choose VA today