The Secret That Is Helping Practice Managers Hire The Best Candidates

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When you are ready to hire your next doctor, what process do you follow? What steps does your practice take to ensure you are hiring the best candidate?

For many of us, the process begins with shifting through CVs looking for candidates that look good on paper. And once we find one that does, we invite them for an interview.

During the interview, we ask the candidate a series of questions with the intent to learn more about them professionally and personally. Some people come up with clever questions to see how the candidate responds. Others merely focus on the clinical knowledge.

Some practices bring in the candidate more than once, but for the most part, if the a candidate looks good on paper, interviews well, and most people in the practice likes the person, chances are the practice makes the hire.


But success doesn’t always come, does it? Sometimes, the opposite of success occurs. And many are left saying, but she looked good on paper; he interviewed really well; she seemed so nice. Patients loved him…

What in the world happened?

It is easy to blame the candidates saying it is a generational thing or a cultural thing or the training they received, but many times, it isn’t the candidate’s fault. But rather poor planning and execution on behalf of the practice.

My friend Susanne Madden from the Verden Group has helped many practices with their hiring process.

In her experience, she believes that the most important part of the interview is the work the practice does before they meet with the candidates. She says that practices don’t even know what they are looking for in their next employee, resulting in disastrous hires.

Susanne first recommendations is to get clear on your practice’s priority (and those of your partners too).

Baseline clinical skills aside, what is most important to YOU? Do you need someone with an easy-going manner who is most likely to ‘fit’ with your practice’s ‘personality’ or someone with a stronger constitution who can work tough cases, deal with demanding patients, and so on. 

Susanne makes it painfully clear that this initial process is more about the practice than it is about the candidate.

Take a good look at your practice first and leave your perceptions behind. What are the prevailing attitudes? What is the culture? What are the requirements for a new person to be able to be successful? 

One of the mistakes we made early on, was do a poor job of communicating our practice’s core values. I had the values in my mind, and from time-to-time described them, but I never took the time to gather my thoughts, write them down, and clearly communicate them to employees, let alone potential hires.

I wish we knew about Susanne’s next piece of advise sooner.

When you have that figured out, make sure that you can explain it well to potential candidates. Crossed expectations only result in losing a new doc (either they walk or you fire); a costly and painful experience all round!

Lastly, she adds this:

So figure it out, lay it out and then invite them to spend a couple of days on site shadowing you to see if this may be a good fit for BOTH of you.

I find this sort of framework interesting because it shatters the traditional way of doing things. It places the focus on the practice first, and then on the candidate. Whereas most people place the focus on the candidate first, and do little work aligning the practice’s culture and needs with the candidate’s strengths.

When we compare the traditional hiring process with Susanne’s more inward and introspective process, it is easy to see why the traditional process has less of a chance to succeed. 

What would you add to Susanne’s list? What are things that your practice has done that may help others hire their next physician?