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Physician Recruiter’s Compensation Recommendation Proves Critical to Midwestern GI Physician Search


When Senior Search Consultant Cori Centerino took over a stagnant GI physician search at a Midwestern hospital, she knew what had to be done. Armed with compensation reports and real-time market data, she successfully made the case for a compensation adjustment–which had an immediate impact on the search. 

Physician Recruiter’s Compensation Recommendation Proves Critical to Midwestern GI Physician Search

As the physician shortage worsens, the compensation required to attract and retain physicians increases–particularly in the locations and specialties that feel the most significant impact. In the Midwest, where compensation has historically tracked higher, organizations offering below the MGMA median are likely to experience more difficulty in hiring. Such was the case for a Jackson Physician Search client in Illinois. The small hospital–located just over the state border, about 30 minutes from St. Louis–had much to offer in terms of flexibility and culture. Still, the advertised compensation caused most candidates to keep scrolling. Fortunately, Senior Search Consultant Cori Centerino didn’t hesitate to bring this to the attention of the CEO. Keep reading to find out how her recommendation had an immediate impact on a stagnant search. 

A Lengthy GI Physician Search

When a member of the hospital’s three-person gastroenterology team announced his retirement in 2022, the hospital’s CEO knew they would likely need a recruitment partner to aid the search. After going it alone for some time, the CEO came to Jackson Physician Search for assistance but was firm on the compensation they could offer for the role. Even when Cori noted that the salary was below the market expectation, the CEO wouldn’t budge. 

Eventually, the hospital underwent some leadership changes, and it seemed like an excellent time to reset the search. Vice President of Recruitment Tara Osseck reassigned the search to Cori, and the pair visited the hospital to meet the new CEO and have a face-to-face conversation about what it would take to fill the position. They discussed the hospital’s needs and revisited the must-haves and nice-to-haves in potential candidates. Tara and Cori also came prepared with the latest MGMA compensation report and recent compensation data for several health systems in the area to make the case for a compensation increase. 

A Significant Compensation Increase

The meeting went well. The new CEO understood the urgency of the situation and agreed to a six-figure increase to the compensation on offer as well as a significant signing bonus. The influx of applications was immediate. 

Among the new applicants was Dr. T, who was practicing in South Florida but seeking a change for himself and his young family. The cost of living was high and he was working around the clock to keep up. He sought a GI opportunity with a better work-life balance in a community where his salary would go further.

A Meaningful Connection

Cori listened to Dr. T’s needs and assured him the opportunity in Illinois could meet them. She then told him more about the position, mentioning the two other GI physicians on staff by name. Dr. T couldn’t believe it—one of the physicians, Dr. R, had been a friend and classmate of Dr. T in medical school years ago. 

Cori presented Dr. T to the client and informed them about his connection to Dr. R, but before they could pass along this news to Dr. R, Dr. T had already reached out to him directly. Both physicians were thrilled at the prospect of working together.

The process moved quickly from there. Dr. T, his wife, and his son flew to St. Louis for the on-site interview. Though the small town was very different from where they’d been living in Florida, it was exactly the change they hoped to find.

Secrets of GI Physician Search Success

The dramatic turnaround in this search demonstrates the importance of advertising an appropriate compensation range in the job ad. While physicians increasingly prioritize culture, work-life balance, and career development opportunities, compensation is still the primary criterion that physicians use to filter job board search results. Given the abundance of opportunities, salary is an obvious way to decide which ones are worth a closer look. So, even if an organization has an outstanding culture or offers an incredible work-life balance, candidates will never have the chance to hear about or experience those things if the compensation isn’t high enough to attract their initial attention.

Cori’s access to industry compensation data and her understanding of the real-time market was critical in setting a fair compensation range that would cause candidates to apply. However, it took a receptive CEO to hear the recommendation and be willing to make significant adjustments. Increasing the compensation would stretch the organization, but after considering the lost revenue caused by the open GI position, not to mention the strain that the vacancy was putting on the other GI physicians, it was easy to rationalize an adjustment. In the end, the increase had a massive impact on the success of the search.

Compensation alone didn’t seal the deal, though. The existing relationship between Dr. R and Dr. T was also meaningful. Reconnecting with an old friend in a new place made the cross-country move much easier for Dr. T and his family. While not every client will have this advantage, the story demonstrates the importance of finding a way to make the candidate feel connected to the community. 

After several years of searching, it took fewer than 60 days to find and hire Dr. T who is certain to be an asset to the organization for years to come. The client was so pleased with the outcome, they initiated a second GI physician search right away. Cori has several promising leads and is sure to have more success to report soon.

Could your physician search be hindered by a compensation range that falls short of the industry average? Our physician compensation calculator provides one benchmark, but for real-time market data, reach out to the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search today.

Key Takeaways

  1. Knowing the hospital had struggled to fill the role, Cori reviewed the compensation data for the specialty and region and immediately suspected the low salary range as the problem. 
  2. Armed with physician compensation reports and real-time market data, she successfully made the case for a compensation adjustment.
  3. The salary increase had an immediate impact on the volume of applications, but the realization that an old friend and classmate worked for the hospital played a big part in his enthusiasm for the position. 

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