So, you’ve read the recent blog post on having the right medical practice staff mix at your practice. Now, you’re looking at your staffing, processes, and technology.
You may have discovered you are actually understaffed or incorrectly staffed. Perhaps someone has recently left the practice. Whatever the reason, you have determined you need to fill a position. Now what?
- Create a job description: Each position should have a clear job description that includes title, department, date the job description was developed and a revision date, who the employee reports to, and if the position is exempt or none exempt. The body of the job description should describe the general purpose of the position and responsibilities. This is where the job tasks are listed (i.e., knowledge, skills, and abilities). Describe the skills that are required to perform the job function and the experience needed. Include educational experience, physical requirements, and typical working conditions. Once the job description is complete you have the tools to identify the right candidate for the position. You can find sample descriptions online through a simple search or check with associations you belong to.
- Test the candidates: Test candidate knowledge and skills first so you don’t waste your time—or theirs. For example, if the position is for billing, have them complete a billing test before you interview. The test complexity should be based on the position. If the candidate does not pass the test, don’t interview. Tests should be conducted in the office so that you can be sure that the actual candidate is the one that took the test and not one of their friends.
- Identify the top applicants: Once you’ve tested skills, then you can interview the most qualified applicants. Depending on the size of your practice you may do more than one interview. In a smaller practice, the practice manager might be the only one who needs to speak with the candidates. In a larger practice, there could be an initial interview with the practice manager for the top candidates, followed by an interview of the top two with the department as a group or with the practice owner/provider.
- Conduct a working interview: Once you are down to the top two, schedule a working interview where the candidates get to work side-by-side with coworkers.
This gives the practice a “test drive” to observe actual skills and how they interact with the patients and staff. A working interview should last no less than four hours and up to a week. Remember to have the candidates sign a confidentiality agreement before they are exposed to patient and business information. They should also have a clear understanding of HIPPA regulations.
- Conduct a background check: Once you have decided that the candidate is a good fit, make sure you complete a thorough professional reference and background check. Too often we are called in to practices for theft only to find out that the “perfect” candidate has a criminal background. It is important to remember that if the candidate has a criminal background that is not relevant to the position they are being hired for you cannot refuse them the position.
- Make an offer: When you have selected the ideal candidate, prepare a written offer letter. It should include the position they are being offered, rate of pay, who they report to on their first day, date and time they start, and if you are in a right to work state, a paragraph should be included to clarify what that means. Including a copy of the full job description is a good idea too. The offer letter and job description should be signed before the employee’s first day.
There is one last important thing to keep in mind. Often, employees leave without notice. When you hire in a right to work state no notice of termination is required by either party. You could find yourself short staffed with a full schedule of patients. Obviously, this puts pressure on you to fill the position quickly. Do not fill the position out of desperation. It is better to hire a temp to help out while you look for the right person. It may also be less expensive in the short term to pay a little overtime or reallocate staff to provide the appropriate coverage. It can cost up to $9,400.00 according to eHow to replace a wrong hire so don’t rush it.
About the Author
Rochelle Glassman is President & CEO of United Physician Services. Rochelle brings a passionate, very practical “do it today” approach to making medical practices successful and getting physicians paid more.