Hiring an Exceptional Team for Your Medical Practice

May 30, 2013

You should only be adding exceptional people to your practice. Here’s how to find and hire them.

Hiring a new team member or members can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many “what ifs?” It can be hard to know you are getting the right person to fit with the rest of your team, or if you are working on a new direction for your team, it can be even more difficult to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again. You should only be adding exceptional people to your clinic. 

Here are a two points to ponder:

Mark Zuckerberg: “Someone who is exceptional in their role is not just a little better than someone who is pretty good. They are 100 times better.”

Steve Jobs: “Make sure you’re only hiring ‘A’ players. It’s too easy, as a team grows, to put up with a few ‘B’ players. Really sharp people prefer to work with other really sharp people.”

More simply put, you really want only exceptional, ‘A-team’ employees.

The biggest trick, though, is finding them. Here are some steps we use with our clients to ensure optimal hiring:

1. Make a list. Write a detailed list of skills, experience, AND personality skills you need your new employee to have. Ask for others input, sleep on it, and try to nail it down perfectly.

2. Write out detailed instructions on how they need to apply. This will be a “test” for applicants. It is important to have detail-oriented people who can follow instructions, and making prospective employees follow instructions will immediately weed out certain candidates. Some items to consider having in your instructions:
     a. a particular e-mail address for submitting applications/resume
     b. a certain subject line (e.g., when hiring internally we use “MSG LLC Join Team” as the required subject line
     c. a document detailing their particular experience related to the required skill set in lieu of just a resume and cover letter
     d. a deadline date and time to have submitted applications

3 .Determine where you should place ads for your new team member. Some suggestions include your blog, Facebook, or Twitter accounts. Also consider referrals from personal networks, LinkedIn, or other offices, or advertisements in newspapers, trade organizations, magazines (many nurse magazines have ads space for employment ads), Craigslist, and online job sites (Yahoo, CareerBuilder, etc.). Ask any current exceptional team members if they know of anyone who would be interested and encourage them to apply.

4. Start sorting. Once you receive applications, the fun begins.  I advise clients to sort their incoming applicants into three main categories.

a.) NO: These applicants didn’t meet your skill requirements or didn’t follow your instructions for applying down to the letter.  No matter the skills and experience if the applicant did not follow the submission instructions, we advise our clients to weed them out immediately.

b.) MAYBE: These applicants have all of the skills you need, and followed the instructions, but may be lacking in some areas such as personality and experience.

c.) YES: These people have all of the skills, apparent personality, and experience, and followed your instructions to a “T.”

5. Contact all of the candidates from the YES category.  You should talk to at least five and as many as seven people. If you must reach into the MAYBE category to do so, that is OK, but also consider casting a larger net for applicants. Never reach into the NO category.

6. Narrow it down. Ideally, you will narrow down your list to five or fewer candidates. Bring them in for interviews, introduce them to current staff members (gauge their opinions as well). Don’t skimp on calling all of their references, or performing background checks.

7. Keep weeding. If a clear front runner hasn’t emerged, then give the top two to three- another detailed assignment. Someone will make a mistake in it and automatically weed themselves out, or you will get a little deeper insight into who will work best for your office. You could even consider having the candidates each come in for a half-day or full-day trial run.

Welcome to your newest perfect fit for a team member! 

These steps can also work for hiring additional providers and looking for business partners. Ensure that you are reaching out and building a perfect team for your clinic to grow and prosper. 

Do you have a question about a practice management issue in your clinic? Would you like some ideas on how to fix a problem? Submit your anonymous questions to Ask Audrey and practice management expert Audrey “Christie” McLaughlin, RN, will answer them in a future Practice Notes blog.