You know how they say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link?
Well, the same applies to your practice’s staff.
From practitioners to assistants to administrative support, all of your team members leave a lasting impression on your patients.
That’s why it is critical to hire only the most talented and personable employees. The problem is, other practices in your area are likely looking to hire those same qualified people—so how do you attract the best?
In this article, we’ll explore how to recruit (and hire) the right employees for your office’s needs.
Growth in Healthcare
Healthcare as a field is continuously expanding for a number of reasons. Though people have obviously needed medical care since the beginning of time, more recent changes in the industry make it more in demand than ever.
For one, people live longer now. According to Statistica, females born in the U.S. in 2018 will have an average life expectancy of 81, while males born this year will round out at 76. Those numbers are higher (in some cases, significantly higher) than the life expectancies of our parents, grandparents, and further removed ancestors.
This means that healthcare has seen an uptick in geriatric care, assisted living, and even pharmaceuticals.
Concurrently, our society is more health-obsessed than ever. Though we’ve been deterred from the “diet” and “lite” eras of chemically altered food and drastic weight-loss plans, the general population is much more in touch with their personal health and wellness journeys. This means more doctor visits, appointments with specialists, and exploration into what has traditionally been categorized as “alternative” medicine.
And here’s another factor fueling the healthcare train: technology. As treatments, procedures, and mindsets continue to shift alongside breakthroughs in technology, more and more opportunities arise to both prevent and treat ailments.
So, what does this mean for healthcare employment? A lot.
As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts it, “Employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups. This projected growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services.”
This is seemingly great news, but there are challenges that can arise.
Competition is fierce. And we’re not even talking about the intense competition that newly graduated healthcare professionals face when entering the workforce.
We’re talking about the competition for you—a healthcare operator—with other practices in your area (or even outside of it, depending on your location or specialty) vying for the same candidates.
As with almost any business in service or products, it’s all about supply and demand.
The demand is already high (and climbing) for qualified, capable healthcare professionals, but the talent pool itself (aka supply) is staying mostly unchanged.
So how do you not only find the right candidates, but also entice them to join your practice over their other viable opportunities?
Let’s be honest: Recruiting is a full-time job—that’s why an entire industry of professionals builds careers off of being recruiters.
Larger, Fortune-500 companies may have stacked human resources departments with employees dedicated to talent acquisition, but you are likely a smaller operation without the manpower to have an employee committed to spending 40-plus hours a week finding new employees for your office.
So, what are your options?
Before you start throwing out feelers, you’ll need to compose a job description. Though this is an obvious place to list your requirements (whether they be academic, experience, specific certifications, or personal qualities), don’t forget that this is also a place to get your unique brand across.
Be sure to properly market your practice using your logo, a link to your website, and any relevant social media handles. Plus, jump on the opportunity to showcase a little of your culture!
Have an office dog? Free Lunch Fridays? A generous vacation policy? Include these things in your job description—remember it’s just as important to sell yourself to the candidate as it is for the candidate to sell him or herself to you.
Next, assess the tools that are easily accessible to you and take advantage of the job boards and resources that potential employees may use to look for new jobs.
There are a number of more general, wide-reaching job boards where you can post opportunities across nearly every industry. Indeed, CareerBuilder, and GlassDoor are well-known ones, with the ability to upgrade and pay for frequent posts or increased visibility.
There are also healthcare-specific job boards that may be beneficial to you, depending on your area of specialty. Take a look at Health eCareers, HealthcareJobSite, CareerVitals, or Health Jobs Nationwide to see if they might be good places for you to share your specific needs.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of posting your specific job openings on your website and social media channels—including LinkedIn. It’s a great way to connect with people and let them know you’re in the market for a new staff member. Even if one of your followers isn’t a good fit, they might know someone who is!
If you have a particularly important hire (note: they are all important hires, but maybe this is a more advanced or management position you are looking to fill) that requires extensive vetting, you may choose to outsource your search to a professional recruiter.
We would recommend doing a little research into the recruiting agencies in your general region—they likely have a better sense of the talent more local to the area and insight into the schools and programs around you.
However, if you would consider a relocation candidate, there are plenty of national recruitment firms with multiple offices and searches taking place all across the country. There are even entire companies dedicated solely to recruitment within healthcare—chat with these ones first since they are already laser focused on your industry.
Another tip? Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the recruiter over the terms of your agreement. They will likely charge a percentage of the new employee’s starting salary (if hired successfully) as opposed to a flat fee. And, just as a good salesperson should, they will come in high. However, you have the ability to bring them down lower.
Keep in mind that these searches may take a while—definitely weeks, if not months. So get ahead of it if you can by identifying when you’ll have openings or new opportunities so you can start searching before you’re desperate.
Don’t forget to use the greatest (and cheapest) sources available to you—your existing employees! They likely have former colleagues or classmates who may be a great fit, so be sure to tell them first when you’re looking to grow your team (as long as this new person won’t be replacing an existing staff member, of course).
Plus, you’ll already have someone you trust and respect vouching for the candidate.
Once you have a viable candidate apply to your opening, don’t waste any time!
We know the hiring process takes a bit, but the market is constantly churning. You can’t expect an interested candidate to still be available two months down the line. Plus, they could take your lack of urgency as disrespectful or as a sign that your office is slow to take action.
Depending on the level and intricacies of the job, you may need multiple rounds of interviews. Whatever the case, be sure to have a plan in place so you can knock them out in a reasonably quick succession. You should only be hiring people you feel sure about, so the fear of missing out on a future candidate by acting quickly on a great one now shouldn’t be a factor.
Valuing a positive, transparent, and swift candidate experience will speak volumes about your practice.
Brag a Little
Again, it’s important to remember that you also need to be selling yourself to the candidate.
In addition to highlighting your office culture, be sure to let them know of the technology, tools, and resources available to employees.
Have you installed a good software program? Does your staff communicate using a certain messaging system? Do you use IntakeQ for digital intake forms and online scheduling?
All of these things show that you respect your employees’ (and patients’) time, and take care to invest in your business and your team.
We know it’s a delicate balance between taking your time to find the right employee for your practice and acting quickly enough to get somebody onboard to fulfill your needs or before they get scooped up by a competitor.
Having a clear understanding of the role you are looking to fill, the traits your team values in a new employee, and your budget will help streamline the process and ensure that everyone on your side stays on the same page.