How to create a process for successful hiring

Hiring a new employee can feel like a bit of a gamble. How can you find the best possible person for the job? And how can you increase the likelihood of success — both for your practice and for your future employee?

The answer comes down to a good hiring process. Putting a plan in place before the first interview will help you determine the right match for the position and your practice — someone who’s ready and able to meet the needs of your patients, and also wishes to grow in his or her own career.

So how do you create a successful hiring process? Here’s a simple step-by-step outline:

Craft a solid job description

You can’t find the right candidate if your job description is unclear or incomplete. Write a summary of the role and its responsibilities, as well as the minimum requirements, preferred qualifications, and a short description of your practice and the team environment. Make it clear what type of application materials candidates should submit, how they should submit them, and by what date.

To attract qualified candidates, be specific in your job description but still allow some room for flexibility. After all, sometimes the ideal hire may not fit an exact mold. If the position isn’t a brand-new one, consider the former employee’s experience and responsibilities as a starting point. Then think about any attributes that employee lacked that you’d like your future employee to possess, and add those aspects to the job description.

Map out an interview process

Your interview procedure will depend on a few factors, including how many qualified candidates apply and how much time you have until you need to fill the position. Review the job applications you receive and narrow your focus to the top candidates. If you’re on the fence about a few applicants, conduct a quick round of phone screens to condense your candidate pool.

Identify other staff members who should assist with the interviews and hiring decision — perhaps another physician in the practice, your office manager, the head nurse, or the person who will be the future employee’s manager — and figure out which part of the interview process each of you will take on.

You should also decide if and when you’ll conduct background checks and drug tests. Results of a 2012 survey showed that nearly seven out of ten organizations run criminal background checks on all job candidates, and 18 percent conduct checks on select finalists.

Compile a standard list of interview questions

You may not use all of the questions during an interview, but coming up with a list of questions ahead of time will ensure that you ask the right ones and maintain some kind of consistency across the board. Consider asking why the candidate is leaving his or her current job, if applicable, and why he or she is interested in working for your practice.

You might want to include a few behavioral interview questions as well, which ask candidates to describe their job performance in certain situations. For instance, “Describe a major change that occurred in a job that you held. How did you adapt to this change?” or “Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you, or vice versa.” The idea behind these types of questions is that past behavior is a great predictor of future performance.

When choosing your questions, keep in mind the day-to-day challenges, job responsibilities, and necessary skills for the position you’re looking to fill. And, lastly, request three to five professional references from each candidate to provide further information about their job performance and personality.

Determine the key criteria for your hiring decision

Set up a time to discuss all of the candidates with the other interviewers. Which ones have the right background? Who supplied strong answers and displayed the desired traits? Who seems like they’d be a good fit with your practice and current team? Based on the key criteria for your hiring decision, rank your top five candidates.

Outline the parameters of your job offer and follow up with the candidate who’s your first choice. Once you’ve filled the position, contact the other candidates in a timely manner to let them know your decision. But don’t just toss their résumés in the trash. Instead, file the information you gathered about all of the other qualified applicants so they can be considered for possible job openings in the future.

As with any process, be sure to periodically assess and adjust as needed. You’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t. And as you continue to add employees to your practice, you’ll discover how each step of the interview process contributes to a successful hire.


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