Meet James Whitaker, Medipeople founder and Recruiter Insider award winner
RCSA sat down with James to discuss the successes of his career, the strategies he implemented to navigate COVID, and what he believes the future holds.
James, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in the UK where I studied and the University of Leicester, graduating with a degree in Psychology. When I completed my studies, I decided to embark on a journey and travelled the world for two years where I was fortunate enough to experience a wide variety of cultures. Returning to the UK, I took a graduate HR role in the National Health Service. Part of my role was managing the locum recruiters who supplied doctors to the local trust. Not long into my career, I was headhunted by a London based locum agency into their recruitment team. A switch to the “dark side” as I was told by the Health Service. It’s incredible to think I started my medical recruitment career in London nearly 20 years ago. We still used fax machines back then! Following all of this was a move to Sydney where I established a junior doctor division for Medacs then subsequently founded Medipeople.
Tell us more about Medipeople and how you originally got involved with AMRANZ and RCSA as a long-standing corporate member?
At its core, Medipeople connects doctors of all grades and specialities with exciting and rewarding careers across Australia and New Zealand. We take great pride in our passion for the careers of medical professionals and the opportunities we provide.
I do recall the initial formation of AMRANZ. It was originally established as a requirement of the Strengthening Medicare program under the Howard Government. During this time, the agency I was working with was on the contract and that’s how I became familiar with the organisation and the amazing services they provide. As the RCSA has become increasingly more active over the last few years, I have had many opportunities to witness the amazing results they achieve within our industry. The team at Medipeople love catching up with other people within the recruitment industry and regularly attend RCSA events and the national conference.
Congratulations on recently winning a Recruiter Insider award. Please tell us more about this success and what you are doing differently to be recognised in the Medical Recruitment space?
We are very proud to have won the 2021 Recruiter Insider award for candidate management. What makes this award special is that it’s based on quantitative feedback from the doctors we have worked with. Our feedback score is measured against hundreds of other agencies that use the same platform so for us to receive the top spot, we were very honoured. I believe it is our tailored approach and genuine care we put into the recruitment process that makes us stand out within the Medical Recruitment space and quite possibly why we received this recognition.
What are some of the strategies you’ve implemented to navigate through COVID and its effect on domestic borders?
COVID was tough for everyone, and several major problems developed within our industry throughout the initial spread, so we had to quickly adapt and implement strategies. Internally, we revised and improved our pandemic plan, implemented work-from-home processes including home office safety and suitability evaluation processes. Early in the pandemic, we collected COVID Exposure Declarations to screen for recent overseas travel, COVID symptoms and infections, and any contact to known confirmed cases. We knew these were crucial steps to preserving the health of the community and preventing further spread so we acted quickly.
Now more than ever, preventing another outbreak is imperative so we still closely follow client protocols regarding COVID Declarations, recent travel history, immunisation requirements and conduct thorough compliance checks for each candidate. We stay informed about federal and state COVID updates daily and communicate relevant developments in-house and to our candidates. This includes support with acquiring border permits on short notice, regularly changing travel arrangements for our candidates, communicating vaccination requirements, explaining changes in regulations to candidates, and clarifying the sometimes-vague language of official announcements with the relevant authorities.
What’s next for yourself and Medipeople? How will you continue to stay ahead in the industry?
In line with the current environment, we have attained several contracts with testing and vaccination providers to supply doctors for these positions. These positions have been in high demand and have put us in an advantageous position to build on our existing pool of doctors. It’s uncertain how long this demand will continue, however, this strategy has allowed us to build on our business through difficult times in our industry. We expect even stronger growth once the pandemic slows and restrictions lifted.