Opening the Door: Dedicated Physician Recruiter Transforms Orthopedic Surgeon Search


After months of searching for an orthopedic surgeon to join their group, the administrator at a Delaware orthopedic practice was understandably dissatisfied that the position was still open. As Senior Business Development Manager at Jackson Physician Search, Zach Underhill often hears from administrators and practice managers who have reached this level of frustration with the recruitment process. In this particular case, the potential client had been able to source candidates, but each on-site visit ended with the promising candidate deciding the relatively remote, coastal location just wasn’t for them. Zach sympathized with their struggle but was confident the expert recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search would be able to help. After hearing the details of its tried-and-true approach, the administrator was eager to begin a partnership.

The administrator’s takeaway from their recruitment experience so far was that they needed to hire a candidate who was already familiar with the area – either currently living in Delaware or had lived in Delaware previously. These were the parameters given to Senior Search Consultant Nathan Collier, the Jackson Physician Search recruiter assigned to the group. Nathan explained that this requirement would significantly limit the candidate pool, but they were insistent. Nathan began executing the 100% digital search strategy pioneered by Jackson Physician Search and prepared himself for a challenge. 


The Importance of Location

For physicians, practice location is often the driving factor in their job searches; however, it’s less common for a hiring organization to restrict search parameters based on candidate location. Of course, it’s common for them to prioritize candidates with ties to a given area, but to exclude all candidates without them – especially when the site in question has one of the smallest populations in the country – is to limit one’s options severely. Nathan stressed this to the client each time they discussed the search bounds. Though he knew he could eventually find someone from Delaware, the timeline for that search would be significantly longer than a search for candidates willing to relocate.

The client resisted Nathan’s advice to expand the search, but as Nathan screened applicants, he noted those who checked every other box and presented several to the client anyway.   

“It’s a risk, presenting candidates who don’t exactly match,” explains Nathan, “But I felt it was important for them to see the caliber of candidates potentially available if they would look beyond the state borders.” 

A Candidate Too Good to Ignore

Although the administrator continued to dismiss any candidate who wasn’t from Delaware, when Nathan connected with Dr. C, a fellow finishing his training in Toronto, he knew they needed to meet him. Dr. C was explicitly looking for orthopedic surgery jobs in states that recognized physicians who had passed the medical boards in Canada, and Delaware is among those states. Dr. C also knew (as noted in Nathan’s job ad) that Delaware is a “tax-free state,” so the location was doubly attractive for him. 

Nathan urged the administrator to call Dr. C. Not only did his training align, but he seemed to be an excellent cultural fit. Most importantly, he was genuinely eager to move to Delaware and start building a life. Nathan knew qualified candidates who wound up uninterested in relocating had let the group down in the past, but he believed Dr. C was genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunity and Delaware. 

Nathan’s instincts were right. The interview and site visit went beautifully. The partners instantly felt a connection, and Dr. C was thrilled by what he learned about the group and the track to partnership. Equally important, after visiting, he could easily imagine building a life there in Delaware. Dr. C signed a contract a few weeks later, closing the search after just five months.

Secrets of Physician Recruitment Success

Nathan’s guidance and the group’s eventual willingness to look beyond state borders played a powerful role in the success of this search; however, a broader detail to note is Nathan’s skillful screening of candidates as a dedicated physician recruitment partner. Prior to Jackson Physician Search, the orthopedic group relied on contingent firms versus working hand in hand with a search consultant who individually examined each candidate before presenting them. As a result, they interviewed multiple candidates who were ultimately not a good fit.

In contrast, Nathan became an extension of the healthcare organization. He asked candidates concrete questions to evaluate their clinical and cultural qualifications and to gauge their seriousness about the location. Before suggesting Dr. C to the group, Nathan thoroughly learned about his circumstances and needs, ensuring that he was qualified and that Delaware was an excellent option for him. 

It’s important to note that the client continued to accept submissions from contingent firms while working with Nathan, yet Nathan brought the only top contenders. Nathan’s respectful persistence and careful analysis of applicants meant he did not sacrifice the client’s valuable time or present more rejection from candidates who were not serious about the job. Instead, the group quickly hired a candidate who would fit, succeed, and stay.

If your organization is struggling to find the right physician, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search has the digital tools to cast a wide net and the expertise to screen applicants, presenting only those candidates who are certain to be a good fit. Reach out today to begin a dedicated physician recruitment partnership.

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