Big Shoes to Fill: Physician Recruiter Finds Foot and Ankle Surgeon to Replace Departing Physician Executive


When a well-respected foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. P, took a physician executive job at a Western Colorado regional hospital, she knew it could be challenging for the group she was leaving to discover the particular candidate needed as her replacement. Most of the physicians in the private practice had been working together for a decade or more, and finding the right fit would be essential. As the new Chief Medical Officer at the hospital, she would continue to work closely with the group, and it was in everyone’s best interest for her to help them find a replacement to fill the role she was leaving behind.

In her new role as hospital CMO, Dr. P decided to be proactive by initiating a search with the hospital’s existing physician recruitment partner, Jackson Physician Search. While the partners at the group initially believed they did not need external help finding the right candidate, they got on board after Director of Recruiting Olivia Georgia presented them with data on the physician shortage and the average time-to-fill for similar searches. However, they insisted they would not compromise their standards and would only hire someone if he or she was indeed the perfect fit.

Olivia committed to doing everything she could to find the right physician for the role. She would begin by learning as much as she could about what the stakeholders wanted, but she knew from past experience that the picture would become even clearer after she received feedback on candidates the partners did not like. The physician recruitment process could be tedious, but she was confident she would find the perfect candidate to fill the shoes of the departing Dr. P.  

Preparing for a VIP Search

Olivia listened carefully to the partners and Dr. P to learn exactly what they wanted in an ideal candidate for this important role. Dr. P had been the only foot and ankle surgeon in the region for years and was focused on finding the physician she knew her patients would respond best to, while the partners wanted someone clinically impressive who would be a team player and get along with everyone in the group. 

In the early days of the partnership, Olivia had visited the regional facility to meet the hospital’s leaders and familiarize herself with the community. She knew from four previous successful placements with the hospital that some candidates would be drawn to the area’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation while others would be turned off by the fact that it was a five-hour drive from Denver. 

Even though the location could be a pro or a con, the group itself was an attractive employer. It had a well-established patient base and was backed by the 72-bed regional hospital. The job came with a path to partnership, and work-life balance was a priority for all the partners. It was undoubtedly an enticing opportunity, and Olivia did not struggle to find interested candidates; however, Dr. P and the partners felt these candidates could have been better-fit personality-wise. Never discouraged, Olivia asked questions each time to help draw a clearer picture in her mind of who would be that “just right” candidate. 

An Impressive Resident with Ties to the Area

When Dr. B reached out to Olivia after seeing the job ad, Olivia sensed that this candidate might be the one. He was in his final year of residency at an impressive Texas program, which Olivia knew the partners would like. He also had ties to the region; his wife’s family was in Utah, and he had grown up in Idaho. Most importantly, based on the phone conversation, she believed his personality would mesh seamlessly with the organization. Olivia also felt the group was a good fit for Dr. B’s needs. The location was ideal for him, and he shared the priority of work-life balance, so he was attracted to the idea of joining an established practice where call would be manageable. 

Olivia presented Dr. B to Dr. P and stressed the need to act quickly. As a 2023 resident, he would be making a commitment soon. Dr. P called him right away, and the two hit it off. She soon scheduled an on-site physician interview so he could tour the facility and meet the partners face to face. 

The on-site interview was seamless. Dr. B impressed the partners, and the feeling was mutual. He and his wife enjoyed a dinner with Dr. P and several of the partners as well as a community tour that highlighted the town’s natural beauty and the many outdoor recreational activities in the area, which thrilled Dr. B and his nature-loving family. When the offer came in, Dr. B knew what his answer would be. 

The Secret of Physician Recruitment Success

Olivia’s ongoing partnership with the hospital has brought many successes and is made possible by Olivia’s persistence in finding qualified candidates for the group as well as her ability to take feedback from each “no,” to better understand who would be a “yes.” Because of these tactics, by the time she connected with Dr. B, she had a clear picture of who she was looking for and recognized Dr. B as that person right away.  

As a retained recruitment partner, Olivia was able to fully understand the needs of the group, and with each candidate turned away, she learned a little more about who they needed. The feedback provided by the partners and Dr. P was essential, but Olivia’s ability to take the feedback and adapt her approach was the true secret of physician recruitment success. 

Does your organization have an important role to fill? As a retained physician recruitment partner, Jackson Physician Search will work to fully understand your needs and refine the ideal candidate profile until we find exactly who you are looking for. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.

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