Written by Jeff Russell, Author of Secrets to a Successful Practice & Executive Director of the IAPAM
How to Hire a Great Team
Remember, the payroll line of your income statement is often the largest monthly expense you have; therefore, it’s important that you spend an appropriate amount of time hiring and cultivating your team. In medicine, you usually don’t have much choice on what team you are with; physicians and nurses are assigned to cases and wards, and you need to deal with their personalities. It is very rare that you ever received any training on how to hire and support a culture, so this may be a foreign land. I often see physicians hiring someone after only one interview because they had a good feeling about the person. You would never treat a patient based only on your feeling, and you should never hire anyone with only one interview.
I was an experienced manager with training on how to hire people from Fortune 100 companies like Fairmont Hotels, Allianz Insurance, and Xerox. But what they teach you at the big companies often doesn’t translate well for small businesses like your medical practice.
I have to admit, I learned this the hard way, and I have since developed an 11-step process in hiring. In the long run, it’s much more important to take extra time before you hire someone, rather than incurring the lost time and money needed to fix a bad-hiring decision. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings,  so for a $60,000/year employee that is $18,000! Who can afford to throw away $18,000!
Another reason to spend time on hiring the best people is that positive people attract other positive people, both in other team members and patients. I’ve also found negative people seem to attract other negative people and patients. You want a positive environment for all team members and for your patients.
The goal of this article is for you to find out if the person has the right values to become a positive contributor to your team. Are they the right cultural fit? Do they buy into what your team is all about, what you do and how you do it? Are they enthusiastic? Energetic? Excited about the industry? I don’t want people who are burned out and just looking to coast in a JOB.
According to management guru, Peter Drucker, “The ability to make good decisions regarding people represents one of the last reliable sources of competitive advantage, since very few organizations are good at it.”
Now that you have candidates rolling in, it’s time to begin the actual hiring process. Click here to download our 11 Step Hiring Process Guide
The 11-Step Hiring Process
1. Job Application Questions
This is used to gauge their ability to follow detailed instructions, their grammar, how they work, how they find out things they don’t know, if they have the skills needed, and to learn what they want in life.
2 Resume/Cover Letter Review
Where they have worked previously, are they working now (A-Player), if not why? Have they previously worked in a job similar to this job? Can they grow with us?
Did they include a cover letter? Was it well written?
3. Email Questions
How quickly do they respond to questions? Do their answers seem to be well thought out and relevant? What is their communication style, writing level (grammar), salary range?
4. 30-minute Phone Interview
Why did they apply (just for a job?)? What do they know about our practice? Who was their best /worst boss? What type of environment do they want to work in? Are they a positive person? Are they organized? Do they have the skills needed? Do they know what they want to do? Was there a thank you email sent?
5. Technical Test
Give them a test to do something they would be expected to do on the job. If they ask for money, they fail.
6. In-person Interview with Practice Manager/Owner/ Medical Director
Evaluate their appearance; see how they handle questions. Do they light up when you talk to them? Are they a cultural fit?
7. In-person Interview with Current Team Members
Gut check with other team members. Can they work with this person? How do they interact without you there? Use the Cultural Fit Interview Questions document as a guideline.
Do a phone interview to discuss how the meeting went. Do they have any concerns? Do we?
8. Reference Check
Ask them to supply a list of references. Check suitability. Use LinkedIn /Facebook to find their boss, former supervisors, etc.
9. DISC (Strengths Finder) Personality Assessment
What is their personality type? Will they be able to work with other team members? Identify how they like to be led. How they like to work in an environment as a team member? How do they interact with others?
If DISC results are a concern, conduct a phone interview for clarification
10. Lunch Interview with Owner and Team Members (optional, depending on the level of employment).
Have a team meeting with the prospective employee over lunch; see how they interact.
11. 90-day Probation
Determine work ethic, communication skills, and cultural fit.
To learn more about developing a successful practice, check out the IAPAM’s annual Practice Growth Symposium, where leaders come to learn the keys to a profitable practice. For those preparing to start their first practice, there’s IAPAM’s Practice Startup Workshop.