No Challenge Too Big, No Location Too Remote: Recruiter Finds FM-OB for FQHC on Alaskan Island


People tend to have strong opinions about where they want to live and work, and when it comes to a cold, remote location like Alaska–the answer is often a hard “no.” The isolation, freezing temps, and dark winters aren’t for everyone, and yet, Jackson Physician Search has been successfully placing physicians with clients across Alaska for several years.

As Senior Manager of Business Development, Eli Jiles keeps a close eye on job openings in his region–including Alaska. Occasionally, if he thinks the Jackson Physician Search team can help, Eli will reach out to the job poster and introduce himself. This is exactly how he first connected with the HR Director at a remote Alaskan FQHC. Eli had seen her job posting online for six months or more when he decided to send an email offering to chat about the recruitment process and how Jackson Physician Search could potentially be of aid.

Once they got on a call, Eli learned more about the position and began understanding the specifics of her struggle to find a candidate. The primary obstacle was that the organization was located on a small island off the coast of Alaska–a place inaccessible from the mainland for the coldest months of the year.

While Eli acknowledged that this would be the most remote location to which Jackson Physician Search had ever recruited, he believed in our time-tested, 100% digital recruitment strategy and the hardworking recruiters who would execute it. He explained our unique approach to the FQHC’s leadership, and they agreed to take Jackson Physician Search on as a partner in the search. 


Managing Recruitment Expectations

A surgical FM-OB willing to relocate to an Alaskan island would no doubt be tough to find, but Eli knew Search Consultant Camille Carter would leave no stone unturned. Camille officially opened the search in September and began working closely with the HR Director, CEO, and Medical Director to understand the need entirely. They had already been searching for about a year, so the urgency was mounting.

To expand the candidate pool as much as possible, Camille suggested the consideration of 2024 grads; however, the manager insisted they needed someone sooner. Camille kept the idea in the back of her head but focused her search on practicing physicians and those completing training in 2023. She cast a wide net with the physician job ad and used the headline to invite physicians to enjoy beautiful Alaska. This piqued many’s curiosity, but qualified candidates willing to seriously entertain a permanent move were few and far between.

Expanding the Candidate Pool

Camille relentlessly pursued every candidate who expressed interest but decided to also urge the HR Director to revisit considering residents completing training in 2024. Eventually, she agreed, and soon after, Camille connected with Dr. A, a 2024 grad completing her training in Texas. Dr. A had grown up in a small Texas town, and while she liked rural, small-town living, she and her husband knew they wanted to start fresh outside of the state. They had an open mind regarding location, and Dr. A found the FM-OB job off Alaska’s coast appealing.

Camille knew from her conversations with Dr. A that she was an excellent cultural fit, which was important considering this unique location. Though, as a 2024 graduate, her timeline was not exactly ideal. In addition, Dr. A had not obtained the surgical training initially requested by the CEO. Still, Camille presented her to the client and urged them to talk to her.

Clients are often conservative with who and how many candidates they invite to attend on-site interviews, as plane tickets and hotel accommodations are costly. The expenses involved with bringing a candidate and spouse to Alaska are especially high, so the client held three different virtual interviews with Dr. A before inviting her and her husband on-site. When they were finally able to visit, the couple fell in love with the location and Dr. A connected with everyone she met at the clinic. The client knew instantly that they had found the right physician–just nine months from the start of the search.

Secrets of Physician Recruitment Success

The challenges involved in this search were significant– the extremely remote location, the narrow parameters, the urgency of the timeline, and of course, the client’s understandable hesitancy to invite potential candidates on-site. Despite all of this, Camille diligently followed every lead, providing consistent communication to the client about each candidate and sharing her recommendations for moving the search forward. Eventually, the client heard those recommendations, and it was soon after that Camille presented Dr. A. While she did not meet all of their initial criteria, Dr. A is most certainly a physician who will fit, succeed, and stay with the group.  

If you have a tough-to-fill position, the team at Jackson Physician Search is eager to share our expertise and execute our proven digital recruitment strategyContact us today to begin a dedicated physician recruitment partnership.

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