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Avoiding Medical Practice Hiring Pitfalls


Why prioritizing personality and cultural fit is becoming more important when hiring at medical practices.

When hiring new staff for his practice, orthopedic surgeon Mark Holt prioritized personality over skill set and resume.

"We wanted a background, that was important, but the interpersonal skills of the employee were more important," Holt recently told Physicians Practice. "I felt that we could, in my office at least, train them to have the skills that we needed."

For that reason, before hiring new staff at his practice, Holt had applicants meet with his current staff to see how, and if, they fit in. "You have to look at it almost like you’re forming a family," said Holt, who recently transited to a hospital-owned practice in Coshocton, Ohio. "You’re going to be working with these individuals very closely, and intimately really, for a significant part of your waking hours Monday through Friday."
Holt’s approach to hiring new staff is a smart one. The more seamlessly staff members works together, the more productive they will be.

But there are other reasons fostering a highly coordinated, team-oriented staff is critical. New reimbursement models and new models of care, such as Patient-Centered Medical Homes and accountable care organizations, require strong care coordination and collaboration.

One way to ensure you are attracting potential new hires that will fit in with your organization and meet your needs?  Add the personality traits you are looking for to the job description, Carol Stryker, founder of Houston-based medical practice consulting firm Symbiotic Solutions, recently told Physicians Practice.

Consider, "What is it in terms of a personality trait that would make them fit better with you and with the rest of the staff?" said Stryker, who is also a Practice Notes blogger. Should the individual be energetic? Detail oriented? Quiet? Vivacious? The more specific you are, the less likely it is you will be swayed by a potential new hire who looks great on paper but really doesn’t meet your needs. “Spend the time upfront to number one, know what you want and need, and number two, be patient until you get it,” said Stryker.

That’s another big tip Stryker shared: Don’t rush the hiring process. While it’s hard to operate short-staffed, hiring the wrong person is harder on your practice in the long run.

“If you just grab the first warm body they’re probably not going to work,” said Stryker. “You’re going to be stuck with them for the time it takes to get rid of them and then you’ll get to start all over again. The time upfront is an investment and it really pays big dividends.”


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