Seven Tips for Hiring the Best Practice Staff

Hiring the right people for the job is a task every business strives to perform with excellence. Hiring the right practice staff may hold even greater importance, since failing to uphold the highest standards for patient health and legal compliance can mean serious consequences.

The differences between a practice with a well-qualified, competent, and committed staff and one without is vast, but sometimes even good hiring managers can be duped by a well-formatted resume and a smiling face.

The most effective hiring practices revolve around a multi-faceted approach and a commitment to reviewing all the facts, instead of relying too heavily on computer systems to narrow down candidates or focusing on only one or two key elements. The big picture on how a person operates, interacts, and commits is much more than a list of qualities on paper.

Below are 7 tips that every business, and especially every medical practice, should apply to the job hiring process that will help with finding the right people for the right positions, more often than not.

Provide a clear, accurate job description.

The process must begin on your end. A clear job description that has the right tone and the right information is essential for attracting the right people. For example, if you want playful, fun people for your practice (such as with a pediatric practice), your description should embrace that same attitude and emphasize the qualities you are seeking. If your practice is based around longer-term or hospice care, your description should emphasize the need for compassion and empathy. Especially in the medical field, finding the right people is about more than finding someone who is licensed and well-educated. They have to be capable of the medically based activities and committed to the kind of patient interaction your practice will ask of them.

Hire internally, if possible.

When hiring for management or any higher level position, internal hiring is always best, where possible. Any position of power requires careful consideration because real respect and loyalty is usually earned by setting good examples and showing dependability. External candidates are hard to gauge because putting on a good face is fairly easy. The test of time usually reveals all, so internal candidates who have proven their ability to handle power over others and the ability to make good decisions is always wise. When not possible, check references very carefully and ask detailed questions.

Review applications frequently and thoroughly, and schedule interviews quickly.

As applications come in, it’s vital to review them regularly so as not to miss the best candidates or lose them to other practices. Also, letting applications build up over several days can cause you to skip over good candidates when you’re reviewing resumes because—let’s face it—after about 20, your mind just glazes over. If you review the incoming applicants daily, you can pick the few best candidates easily and schedule those interviews immediately for within the next day or two. This way, you can get a good sense of candidates and you’re not overly stacked on interviews. In the same vein, your candidates know your interest and might not be so easily snatched up by others.

Ask open-ended, well-researched questions during interviews.

Before the interview, review your candidate’s resume thoroughly and come up with some personalized questions. There are plenty of generic questions about best qualities, weakest skills, long-term goals, etc., and those are important to ask too, but to get a really good sense of your candidates, ask about specific experiences or lessons they’d learned from past work, etc. You may not have many, but exploring a person’s background history might inspire a few good ones that can give you a better sense of the person behind the resume.

Check references.

Do not hesitate to make phone calls so you can check on your candidate’s background. As stated above, a person can easily put on a good face for an interview and make his/her resume especially attractive, but establishing a person’s background experiences and his/her long-term personality is easiest by discussing the candidate with past observers. Granted, the individuals the candidate will provide are those most likely to give good reviews, but take into consideration whether listed references are friends or former managers. If possible, contact past managers in addition to listed references to verify any information a coworker or friend might have provided, just to be certain.

Watch for red flags.

If at any point, any of the information you are reviewing does not match up—stop immediately. If background checks signal any issues—halt. This does not mean that you should immediately disqualify a candidate, but it does mean that you should ask some additional questions to better understand the situation. Even some of the best candidates may have made mistakes in the past, but you need to be extra careful with any whose job history may reflect troublesome behavioral patterns.

Communicate the hiring process, job expectations, and training needs up front.

When you’ve narrowed it down to the right couple of people or an individual person for the job, you must communicate clearly your expectations, the next step in the process, and any additional training you may be planning to set up for your candidate. They need to know what’s going on, and you, as practice management or practice staff, will need to be the one to guide them in transitioning to their new work environment.

Another key aspect to remember about the hiring process is that you’re hiring people, not machines. They will be more than just the sum of their listed attributes. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to ask more questions or check that one extra resume that your gut is telling you would be a good choice. Remember: the right person for the job is often the one who fits most of your necessary categories and who will be open-minded or have the right attitude to learn anything else that is needed, not always the one who seems to have it all. Attitude can make all the difference.


medical nurse and colleagues