How To Find And Hire Great Candidates For Your Medical Practice

So here’s something that you’re probably well aware of as a physician, but much of the world isn’t: doctors are not super-human. They don’t have all the answers. They can’t cure every disease. Most importantly, they can’t do everything by themselves. It takes a hard-working, knowledgeable support staff to make a doctor successful and keep a practice going.

However, that doesn’t mean building a quality staff is quick or easy. If you take anyone who walks through the door with a resume, you risk building a hodge-podge group that doesn’t mesh on a personal basis, doesn’t have the skills you need, and most importantly, won’t work well as a team. If you’re ready to build a great team of trained professionals for your growing practice, then keep reading.

Establish a Personality Profile First

The most common mistakes that HR and talent acquisition teams the world-over make is not starting with the persona of the ideal candidate. I get it – it’s easy to list a skill and then look for matching skills on a resume. However, if you get a nurse with 10 years of cardiology experience, but if they constantly belittle your younger nurses, is that really who you want on your team? Personality is critical because it impacts four key areas of business:

  • Creativity – Out of the box thinking that results in new ideas
  • Retention – Creating an environment that employees want to stay in
  • Teamwork – The ability to achieve common goals through coordinated effort
  • Production – Achieving a level and quality of work that allows the organization to succeed

All four areas are essential if businesses want to improve and grow. Bring in the wrong personality type, and you risk failing in all of them.

Offer Competitive Benefits

In the years following the Great Recession of 2008, having a job, ANY job was considered a blessing. Companies could get away with paying less and offering fewer benefits because the market was so strained. But this is 2019. If you think that you can offer below-market wages, few vacation or personal days, and no additional benefits, and still capture top talent, you’re dreaming.

The medical profession, in particular, is filled with so much stress, hardship, and so many long working hours that you have to offer a benefits package that matches. If you don’t, you won’t be able to hire any quality candidates. Worse still, you risk losing the staff members you already have.

Here’s an interesting statistic – The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average amount of time employees stayed in one position in 2016 was 4.2 years. If you’re hoping to find and keep people for longer than that, your benefits package needs to match your goals.

Use the Right Outlet to Advertise Positions

Common sense would tell you that if no one knows you’re hiring, no one will apply, right? I’m sure you’re well aware of that fact but have you considered this: where you’re posting jobs plays a role too. If you needed a chef, you wouldn’t look to hire out of an art college, would you?

Since the skills needed to be successful in the medical world are so specific, you’re taking a big gamble if you default to the same job boards and career sites that everyone uses. It would be like casting a small hook a big pond – how are you going to get noticed in all of that space? When you’re ready to post your job opening, especially if you’re looking for specialty fields like dermatology, cardiology, or radiology, you need to go where the job seekers are.

Establish a Vetted Screening and Interview Process

Even if you know exactly what personality types you want, can offer a great benefits package, and use the job best boards to find your candidates, it can all fall apart if your screening process isn’t well established. reports that around 72% of interviewees will share their negative interview experiences online. The same report stated that around 55% of job shoppers will avoid a company if it has a marginal or bad rating.

When you establish your interview and screening process or need to refine it, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

Shorter Is Better

The average time from initial screening to hiring is about 23 days in America. You’ve probably heard the old adage about being, “Slow to hire; quick to fire.” There’s definitely some wisdom in that proverb but consider these two decisions about employees:

  • Your candidates are likely applying with other clinics too. If you take too long, they could be snatched out from under you.
  • The longer you take, the more a candidate is going to lose faith in you as an employer. If it takes you forever to get an interview set up, how effective can you really be as a professional medical provider?

Multiple Interviews Can Lead To Fatigue

Many businesses use the practice of tiered interviews as part of the hiring process. While there’s value in allowing multiple people to gauge what a candidate is like, use caution. At most, you should limit yourself to two or three interviews. Ideally, an initial over-the-phone interview and one on-site interview works best. If you have to go beyond that, make it an additional on-site, and reserve it for the VIPs in your clinic, i.e. your practice managers, head clinicians, etc.

Don’t Waste Time with Irrelevant Interview Questions

I will tell you right now: my least favorite interview question is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s not that I can’t answer it with confidence, because I certainly can. It just has no bearing on the immediate issue – what am I like as a candidate? My response if you asked me that question would be to lay out my five-year plan and then ask you, “Where do you see your company in five years?” Remember, job interviews are for both parties, not just you as the employer.

When you construct your interview questions, keep them focused on the immediate or near-term scenario. Examples might include:

  • If you started work today, what medical procedures would you be comfortable performing with little or no assistance?
  • Describe a situation where you had a patient that was uncooperative or hostile and explain how you handled it.
  • Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

These are specific, here-and-now questions that good candidates can answer immediately and honestly. The truth is we don’t know what will happen one year from now, let alone five. By focusing your questions on issues that you need to address right now, you keep the interview relevant and get a better gauge of your candidates.

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