Attract outstanding staff to your practice

October 17, 2014

One of the biggest challenges facing a medical practice is procuring and developing exceptional staff members. A low turnover rate is usually a good sign and indicative of a happy, healthy, dynamic workplace. Excellent staff anticipates your needs, improves your clinic efficiency, supports your efforts, and makes the workday enjoyable. So how do you attract great employees, and more importantly, what keeps staff eager and motivated to stay?

One of the biggest challenges facing a medical practice is procuring and developing exceptional staff members. A low turnover rate is usually a good sign and indicative of a happy, healthy, dynamic workplace. Excellent staff anticipates your needs, improves your clinic efficiency, supports your efforts, and makes the workday enjoyable. So how do you attract great employees, and more importantly, what keeps staff eager and motivated to stay?

When seeking out new staff, posting local ads is often the most cost effective and targeted means of seeking out local talent. When composing an ad, ensure the posting is accurate but enticing. Why does someone want to join your practice? What unique qualities does your practice offer? What special skill sets or prerequisite requirements are sought? The more clear you are with the job description, the more likely suitable candidates will respond to your position listing.

Candidate screening tools

Screening tools are another means of ensuring an individual is a good fit with your practice. As a part of the job application process, I request that applicants respond to several questions posted in the ad. This tests a candidate’s ability to pay attention to detail and to respond as directed. Their answers are telling. Grammar, syntax, comprehension, creativity and personal voice are communicated in their responses.

Some practices, where state laws allow, also conduct full background checks and even personality assessments. The former can be surprising and worthwhile investigative tools. Personality tests, if permissible, can provide insight into work dynamics. For example, inventories may reveal whether an individual is well suited for particular daily responsibilities or how their personality will blend with already established staff.

Each physician must determine what is the best means of interviewing candidates for job positions. In my experience, a multi-tiered interview process has vetted the most suitable, long-term staff members. Similar to a 360-degree employment review where an employee is evaluated by his/her managers, peers, and subordinates, I involve multiple team members in evaluating job candidates. The departmental manager is responsible for evaluating initial applicants and conducing a phone and in-person interview.

In the next round, job candidates must be willing to spend time in the office with staff members that will be their peers, observing daily activities in the office. Finally, a candidate successfully passing the first two stages of interviewing meets with me, the physician. Although this may seem exhaustive, this relatively small amount of energy initially can pay off tremendously if a well-chosen new staff member is the ultimate result.

Next: Conduct 'practical' interviews

 

 

Conduct ‘practical’ interviews

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a “practical” interview in which job candidates spend time in your practice. Oftentimes, individuals let their guard down and will reveal enlightening or dismaying information to your staff. A harmonious work culture is important at my practice - knowing that a potential staff member works well with the team and maintains and enriches that homeostasis is critical to success.

Additionally, training and bringing on a new staff member is expensive. Wasting valuable human resources and financial resources training a team member that leaves shortly into employment is a poor return on investment.

A final note on the selection process: Delineate clear job duties for candidates that are derived from your employment manual’s job description. This provides an accurate picture of daily duties and expectations for interviewees. Also, consider aptitude, personal drive and a positive attitude strongly when making final selections. A motivated candidate that fits well into your practice can be taught a skill set over time. Passive-aggressive, ambivalent, or adversarial personality traits are strongly ingrained, cannot be untaught, and are cancerous to a healthy practice.

The next time you find yourself in hiring mode, take a few moments to evaluate the process and plan for the next successful addition to your practice. In next month’s article, I will build upon the search for new staff and focus on how to train and retain your valuable staff. Until then, happy hunting!

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