How to Hire the Best Private Practice Employees
The right people can make or break your private therapy practice.
It’s customer service, not price, that determines whether or not you’ll get repeat business. You may offer the best prices and have a killer marketing campaign that brings in scores of new clients, but without friendly, competent, and invested people on your staff, you’ll always be at square one… maybe even worse.
The good news is the right people are right around the corner. Let’s discuss how to find qualified, dedicated people who will benefit your private therapy practice.
Start Your Search on Niche Job Sites
Where are you posting your ad for new employees? If you say “Craigslist,” I will cringe. If you say “Monster.com,” I’ll still cringe, but not as much. If you say “the newspaper,” allow me to be the first to welcome you to the 21st century where newspapers are yesterday’s news.
To find qualified employees for your private therapy practice, you’ll need to look at specialty job boards. Visit sites like Healthcare Source to find a narrow selection of relevant professionals.
Find the Right Candidate with the Right Salary
When hiring a new employee, don’t let your budget be the final word. Of course, you should be responsible with your hiring budget, but don’t pinch pennies just because you can. If you have the budget to go up to a specific dollar amount for a competitive salary request, do it. Otherwise, you’ll end up hiring for the same position again really soon, or never end up hiring anyone at all.
You see, employees won’t stick around out of duty and loyalty these days. They may use your job as a way to pay bills until another (higher paying) job comes along.
Or they may not even look twice at your job posting once they see you’ve low-balled the salary.
You can avoid all of this by offering a prospective employee what he or she is worth (competitive to market rates) from the get-go.
Advertise the Right Job
Another reason you may find yourself hiring over and over again for the same job is because of an inaccurate job description. Are you correctly describing the job responsibilities? Does the prospective employee understand how to do this particular job?
Descriptions, both written and verbal, can only do so much. A new trend (and good idea) is to post a “day in the life” video where you show prospective employees what’s expected for the applied position.
Don’t sugar coat it and make the job seem like a day of frollicking in the park, but don’t over-dramatize it and make it seem more brutal than it is. Aim for an accurate portrayal.
Include your current staff on this video, too. They may be able to provide valuable insight that you’ve overlooked.
Get Current Employees Involved
Speaking of your current staff members, be sure to ask them for referrals, too. Your team may know someone in their social circle who’s looking for work. You may never know unless you ask.
This type of referral is great because you have the added benefit of a trusted recommendation. Your staff member probably won’t recommend an incompetent person because it could potentially damage their own reputation. It’s like having a built-in safety net.
Consider How They’ll Mesh With the Team
When hiring a prospective team member, consider your current team. What are the personalities of your current team members? If everyone on your team is quiet and subdued, maybe you should hire someone outgoing and communicative.
That said, don’t hire someone who won’t blend well with your current staff. Aim for a balance that benefits your current team and your clients.
With all things being equal, maybe you should hire an effervescent, bubbly personality who makes everyone feel at ease. On the other hand, you may be missing someone on your staff who’s organized, no-nonsense, and able to provide consistent, timely customer service.
Only you know your unique needs, but keep in mind how you’d like your clients to perceive your practice, and hire accordingly.
Hire for Experience
Should you hire an experienced worker or someone who’s looking to learn? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons for both:
The Experienced Worker
Pros – The biggest reason to choose an experienced worker is because of their know-how. You won’t have to train him or her on the basics of the job, although you may have to re-train them in your methods.
Cons – Interestingly, the main reason why you would likely hire an experienced worker is also the same reason you may wish to avoid one. The experienced worker may be stuck in his or her ways and unwilling to embrace new ideas or methods of doing things.
The Inexperienced Worker
Pros – An inexperienced worker is often ambitious and ready to prove themselves. He or she may lack the know-how, but is eager to learn. Another reason to choose the inexperienced worker is financial. You won’t have to pay as much in salary.
Cons – The biggest reason against hiring an inexperienced worker is lack of skill. However, this is easily remedied just by giving them the job and giving yourself a big dose of patience.
Consider the Generation Gap
There are three generations who actively seek work: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (also known as Millennials).
It’s likely that you’ll sort through applications from all three generations. But don’t be too quick to rule out one age group or favor the other (not that you could do that legally anyway). Each generation can bring a new value to your private therapy practice. Here’s how:
Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) –
Motivated by recognition, Baby Boomers are classic workaholics who love to work with a team. They’ve been around the block and understand what hard work means.
Generation X (1965 – 1980) –
Motivated by innovation, Generation X are self-sufficient and often self-starters. They believe in a work-life balance, and thrive in a structured environment.
Generation Y/ Millennials (1981 – 2000) –
Motivated by new experiences, Millennials are tech savvy and community driven. They’re goal oriented and constantly searching for ways to expand what’s possible.
Each generation has a unique (and equally valid) work ethic. Which one of these sounds like the right fit for your private practice?
Ask About Long Term Goals
Don’t hire someone who’s just looking at your open position as a summer job. Be sure to ask your prospective employee about his or her long term goals. Ideally, the answer will include your private therapy practice.
If he or she says something like, “I’ll use this position as a stepping stone…” that’s your cue to start wrapping up the interview.
Have a Stellar Onboarding Process
Finally, once you’ve found and hired the perfect employee for your private practice, don’t let them sour on the job and quit. A lot of amazing employees leave jobs because the onboarding process is a nightmare.
Onboarding is the process of welcoming a new employee and introducing them to your company’s culture and way of doing things. This is the time when you show them around the office, teach them your systems, and familiarize them with your practice-specific procedures.
Too often, onboarding is an afterthought. A lot of employees are thrown in after maybe a day or two of over-the-shoulder shadowing and this process can feel overwhelming and confusing.
To avoid this, develop a training program for transitioning into your work culture. Offer an employee handbook, discuss what you expect from each position, and give a resource list with important numbers and emergency procedures, if necessary.
Hiring for your private therapy practice will take time and shouldn’t be rushed. After all, you don’t need a transient employee who’s here today and gone tomorrow. Use the above tips to find the perfect fit for your private practice.