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Career Advice for Private Equity Healthcare Candidates


The healthcare industry stands alone. Not only is it at the leading edge of innovation and technology, it’s also truly recession proof. These two factors — and enormous opportunities for improvement — have contributed to the industry drawing in nearly $1 trillion in private equity investments in the last two decades.

Private equity (PE) firms are eager to drive change in the healthcare industry, and they need leadership to get there. If you’re a healthcare leader who’s curious about private equity or you’re considering a move to a PE-backed healthcare organization, you may want to learn more about making the leap. 

“A career in private equity is demanding but highly rewarding for those with the right mix of skills, experience, and determination,” observes Troy Keach, vice president of executive search at Kirby Bates Associates.  “By focusing on education, gaining relevant experience, developing critical skills, and maintaining a strategic career path, you can position yourself for success in this competitive field.”

Here, we’ll outline three key pieces of career advice for leaders to consider as they move through the industry. Let’s get right to it!

1. Network to Get Work

Gone are the days of being in one organization for your entire career. Today, the roles of healthcare executives can change as frequently as the industry itself. Indeed, executive turnover is on the rise, with leaders staying in their positions for shorter periods than ever. Fortunately, there’s a tool you can leverage to navigate this employment environment with skill.  It’s your network.

Your network isn’t just a resource for finding work in PE-backed healthcare organizations, it’s the resource. Nine out of every 10 healthcare leadership roles are filled through networks, with only one being filled by applicants. As leading recruiters like Kirby Bates Associates leverage their network of passive candidates to find the perfect fit for private equity healthcare roles, you must cultivate your network to drive your career forward, now and in the future.

2. Know Which Skills to Highlight for the Role

Just as your role may change rapidly in the healthcare industry, so too do the skills PE-backed healthcare organizations value. Private equity-backed healthcare organizations are goal-oriented. This means you can find success regardless of your skillset or background, as long as you understand how your skills align with the organization’s goals and can articulate how you’ll reach them.

For example, organizations seeking to drive major turnaround in the revenue cycle may place less value on experience in the provider side of  healthcare organizations. In a case like this, candidates with strong business acumen and backgrounds in areas like technology may be seen as incredibly valuable.

Ultimately, many skills from traditional healthcare organizations are transferable to the PE-backed healthcare space. What determines a candidate’s success depends on their ability to articulate how they’ve done more with less, reduced expenses, and maintained quality. If you can do that, you’ll find success in private equity-backed healthcare organizations.

3. Help Your References Help You

When recruiters are performing due diligence, candidate references play a crucial role. As a candidate, you can set yourself up for success by preparing your references. Here’s how:

  1. Select references with purpose: When you’re listing references, make sure each person you list can speak to your skills as they relate to the job in question. Beyond that, provide references that give a 360º view of who you are as a leader. A great way to do this is by giving references who you’ve reported to, who have reported to you, and who have been peers in previous roles. 
  2. Prepare your reference: To prepare your reference, make sure you share the job listing with them and explain why you’re interested in it. That way, they’re prepared to speak directly to the issues the role seeks to solve.
  3. Keep in touch: Birthdays, personal milestones, and holidays offer great opportunities for reaching out to your references, reminding them of what you’re doing, and continuing to cultivate the relationship. You never know when you’ll need their help.

Learn More About Private Equity-Backed Healthcare Organizations

Private equity’s presence in healthcare is only expected to grow in the next decade. Candidates will need to adjust to secure emerging leadership roles. With the right practices in place, you’ll be prepared to land the roles in which you can drive positive change in healthcare.

To learn more about how to stand out as a candidate for private equity-backed healthcare organizations, be sure that you understand how private equity healthcare organizations are different, and check out our article on the six key candidate attributes recruiters look for when filling PE healthcare roles.