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Smart Practice – Avoid Hasty Hiring

Almost anyone can look like a good fit for a practice—at least on paper—when a position is open and patients are waiting.

However, resumes can be customized into piles of keywords for any position, and resume screening software programs (also called “applicant tracking systems”) are notorious for screening out almost everyone, including good candidates.

This is why it can be better to keep the human touch in hiring; although that doesn’t make the process any easier.

Smaller practices might not have a software option, or the office manager might not have any HR training. In any case, there are ways to raise the odds of hiring the right person for the job.

Providing detailed instructions for applicants submitting resumes and other materials is a good way to see who reads an entire job listing and understands it. Specify that a particular e-mail address be used for submitting applications, or instruct candidates to use a certain subject line. This makes applications easier to spot in the daily cascade of office email while “pre-screening” candidates for their ability to follow directions.

When a range of prospective hires has been assembled, managers should avoid being the lone interviewer, said practice management consultant Bo Snyder in a recent Diagnostic Imaging story. Input from your colleagues (peer interviewing) can be one key to a successful hire.

Seeking colleagues’ input is a way to provide inclusion that can boost office morale and deliver a range of opinions.

Work experience is important, but as care becomes more complex, practices also need to select for adaptability, intelligence, and communication skills to remain competitive. Look beyond technical skills and find prospects who fit the practice’s culture and goals. Physician groups need to assess their own cultures, determine their needs, and identify the employee characteristics that are most important.

Getting the right cultural fit means weighing intangibles such as personality traits and work style—i.e., things aren’t on a resume. Get a sense of a candidate’s work style by asking his/her references about the office culture at previous places s/he worked.

Finally, practices should take as much time as possible to hire the right person. This means resisting the impulse to hire the first candidate who supplies a resume. Office managers who bring in a new employee fast just to have someone in a position had better plan to repeat the hiring process in the near future.

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