Help Your Medical Practice Hire Well: 15 Tips

June 24, 2015

Hiring the right candidate for your medical practice is not the easiest task. But if you prepare beforehand and ask the right questions, you can.

Busy physicians and office managers usually don't look forward to going through the hiring process. Not only are they concerned about finding the right candidate for the position, but it is an arduous process that can drag on and impact their ability to keep the practice running smoothly during the interim.

Here are fifteen tips on what you can do to hire right, the first time.

Before the interview

1. Review the job description.

To determine whether or not the job description needs to be revised, review the job description with the employee who is leaving to learn if the job responsibilities have changed. In the process you may discover that some tasks listed are redundant or can be automated.

2. Look for internal candidates.

Let staff know you are on the search and ask if they know someone who might be a suitable fit. You'll also want to open the position to internal staff that may be qualified and looking to climb the ranks. Just be sure they go through the same process as outside candidates to ensure you get the best person for the job.

3. Post the position as soon as possible.

Electronic job postings are quicker and cheaper, and tend to draw the best results. Your hospitals and medical societies may have job boards on their websites. The costs to post on Craigslist, LinkedIn, Indeed, and other classified job search websites is reasonable and yields an immediate posting.

4. Use employment applications.

Require applicants to complete an employment application that asks questions not answered in a resume, such as ending pay rate and the reason the applicant left each position. You can also ask for a list of professional and personal references, and require a signature allowing you to contact past employers.

5. Act quickly.

When candidates with impressive resumes respond to your ad, cull them quickly and don't postpone the interview. Applicants are on the move and the good ones get snapped up quickly. Also, you want to get someone hired as soon as possible, to allow time for proper orientation and training.

During the interview

1. Review job applications prior to interviewing.

Jot down any employment voids or other questions that come to mind when reviewing the applicant's resume, and be sure to address them during the interview.

2. Ask open-ended questions.

The results of the interview itself will be more effective if you allow the employee to relax and become engaged. Ask open-ended questions and pose problem-solving scenarios to identify their approach to resolving conflicts and determine how well they communicate.

3. Ask about strengths and weaknesses.

Ask job candidates what they see as their greatest strengths, what areas they feel they may need to improve on, and what makes them unique as a candidate.

4. Discuss salary with strong candidates.

For those candidates that are rating well during the interview, review the job description and discuss their salary expectations.

5. Communicate follow-up process.

End with letting candidates know what your follow-up process will be and when you will be making a decision.

After the interview

1. Don't skip reference checks.

Do not assume conducting past performance reference checks are a waste of time. Human resource departments may refuse to answer many of your questions, but if you obtain the applicant's permission to contact previous immediate supervisors you can learn a lot. Make the phone call efficient: verify dates of employment, pay rate, title of position, attendance record, and ask the key question, "Would you rehire this person?"

2. Don't ignore red flags.

If candidates don't interview well or if they give vague or contradictory information they should not be considered for employment.

3. Don't postpone the essentials.

Be sure all human resource details are handled the first day of work: hiring forms signed, benefits explained, policies reviewed, etc.

4. Address training needs upfront.

Failure to establish training goals and assign a trainer, or failing to meet with new employees regularly (during their first month) to discuss their progress or assuage their concerns, can sabotage results.

5. Roll out the welcome mat

Your medical practice is a thriving and busy environment. Don't let a new employee feel like he has been thrown in the lion's den. Start off by announcing the new person to existing staff members. Ask every one of your providers to introduce themselves to a new employee, during their first encounter. Keep communication open and give your new staff members the training, respect, and support they need to succeed.