Hiring for Your Practice

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Hiring for a medical practice can be one of the most challenging tasks that you have to deal with as a practice owner. The current climate has made it harder than ever—great candidates are hard to find, and there seems to be a general scarcity of people looking for work at all.

What’s the best way to find quality medical staff candidates?

There are several approaches to getting the word out and reaching the right types of people. Once you have a solid job description—one that’s clear about all the skills and characteristics the role entails and makes candidates excited about joining your team—it’s time to put it out there. Where, exactly?

Here are some of the best sources and approaches to finding great hires for your practice:

1. Employee referrals

Nobody knows your practice, its needs, and your workplace culture better than your employees. This is the most promising channel for a lot of practices—when your employees know someone who might be a fit, it’s often a friend they know well. They can tell you if that person is trustworthy, punctual, detail-oriented, easy to get along with… and all the other things that are important indicators of how well a new employee might work out, which is a huge advantage since you typically don’t know most of these things when you interview candidates.

Putting the word out to your current staff (and to any former employees who left on good terms) is often the very best approach, because good people typically know good people.

You might even consider a referral bonus that will incentivize your employees to talk with their friends about the opportunity. If you do that, it’s important to structure it carefully, so that you pay it only once you know the new employee is a good fit and likely to stay with your practice. A common way to do this is to make the bonus payable after the employee has been with your practice for a set duration, like 4-6 months.

2. Patient referrals

Your patients can be another good source of quality referrals. They’re less likely to know someone with very specialized medical staff skills (and if they do, it’s probably your staff), but for roles that are non-clinical, or that you’re willing to train for, patients are a great resource.

Some ways to let patients know what you’re looking for are to post a flier in your office (maybe in the waiting area, or the exam room), or to add a notice in your patient newsletter, if you have one. Posting on social media can be another effective way to let everyone who follows your practice know that you’re looking.

3. Posting ads

Posting ads on sites like Craigslist can be effective—it’s inexpensive (it used to be free, but in recent years there are small charges for job postings), fast and easy to post, and it’s still a place that a lot of jobseekers go to find opportunities. There are also a few medical-specific job sites, which are great in terms of specialization, but some are expensive, and they don’t typically have quite as much traffic as the more general sites like Craigslist.

On the less ideal side, Craigslist and similar job sites can take a lot of time to use—you’ll need to review all the incoming inquiries, and many may not be qualified. You’ll also have to answer questions, which many prospects may email to you.

The best way to make this process as efficient as possible—and to minimize the number of questions and unqualified candidates—is to post a very detailed job description. You’ll want to clearly list the required skills and training (if any), as well as describing what the job will look like day to day. It’s best to be upfront about hours and pay (we encourage posting a range, so you have some flexibility). It’s also helpful to ask interested candidates to send any specific info you want to know, beyond just their resume.

4. Recruiters

Medical practices don’t always use recruiters, but medical staff hiring is definitely an area where some recruiters specialize. If you’re extremely short on time, and willing to pay someone to find and vet candidates, so that you have only a short list of the top prospects to interview, recruiters can be a good option.

5. Ask your colleagues

Do you know someone who’s thinking of retiring, selling their practice, or downsizing? They might have some great staff members who might be hesitant about the potential changes as the practice changes hands. Or, if the practice is closing entirely, they’ll obviously be looking for another job.

It can be helpful to put the word out to your friends within the medical community. They may even have candidates that they interviewed and were impressed with but didn’t hire for one reason or another. Likewise, they may have family members who are familiar with your business and interested in gaining experience at a practice but want to separate work and family.

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