Hiring 102 or sealing the deal for attracting outstanding candidates

Suggestions that will separate your offer from other practices competing to hire the same employee.

Imagine that you are the managing partner, the office manager of a multispecialty group practice, or the director of human relations at a hospital. You are interviewing a potential candidate for your practice or hospital. Let’s assume the candidate has excellent credentials, an impressive resume, and good references. You deem the candidate a good fit for the practice. However, the candidate informs you that they have several other offers. You want to “seal the deal” and ensure that the candidate accepts your offer. As a leader in the practice, you want to have the right people in the right jobs, and you deem that the candidate fulfills that objective.

Here are two suggestions that will separate your offer from others competing for the candidate.

First, allow the candidate time to interview the interviewer. Allow the candidate time to ask any questions they may have about the office manager or the physicians, about the details of the job, and anything they want to know about the practice. You and the candidate want to have all questions answered before adding them to the team practice. Now the candidate has answers to any questions or issues to make a good decision.

I developed the concept of role reversal when I conducted an annual performance review of my staff. I would conduct an annual performance review of the staff with the office manager, listen to their experience in the practice, take notice of any suggestions they may have, and set goals for them in the immediate and long-range future. After reviewing the staff, I offered them the opportunity to review me and my performance. I wanted the staff to know that I wasn’t subjecting them to anything that I wasn’t willing to have done to me. (Kind of like the Golden Rule). For example, during my review, the staff mentioned that I would often return from the operating room wearing scrub clothes and didn’t change into a shirt or tie and wear a white coat before seeing patients in the office. The staff constructively suggested that this attire, i.e., scrub clothes, was not professional. I thought their recommendation was valid. After this performance review, I changed from scrub clothes to more appropriate attire. I believe this role reversal indicated to the staff that I was listening to them and welcomed constructive criticism.

Second, and just as important, share your references so the candidate can check you out. This last suggestion is seldom used in the hiring process. Since you have checked their references, allowing them to check yours is only fair. However, allowing the candidate to check your references puts you in rare air when it comes to making your offer attractive. This clearly demonstrates transparency and lets the candidate know that your offer will differ from the competitors.

Bottom Line: The circumstances surrounding hiring a new employee are a source of angst among doctors, office managers, or human resources in the healthcare setting. Hiring a new employee can be time-consuming and stressful. However, this process does not compare with the time and stress it costs if you hire a candidate who is not a good fit with your practice. I think these two suggestions are likely to allow you to hire the right candidate the first time.

Neil Baum, MD, a Professor of Clinical Urology at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Dr. Baum is the author of several books, including the best-selling book, Marketing Your Medical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, which has sold over 225,000 copies and has been translated into Spanish.