10 Feb How to Attract and Hire Top-Notch Talent
First in a Series
In order to truly provide top-notch care for your clients, you need an all-star team of professionals working around you. Physicians, case workers, therapists, nurses, and billers, the list goes on and on. A successful practice relies on a full staff of talented people. A hiring mistake alone can cost you 15 times an employee’s base salary in hard costs and lost productivity.
You are in the behavioral health profession. You are not a Human Resource Manager. You might be a little lost when it comes to hiring for your staff requirements. I am going to give you the nuts and bolts of my best talent acquisition strategies.
Talent Acquisition Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide
Attracting and hiring great employees does not have to be difficult or confusing. To help, I have broken it down into four easy steps.
Step One: Define your needs
Before you can hire anyone, you need to know who you are looking for. Write out a clear job description that describes the gaps you are trying to fill.
It is important to include a list of job responsibilities, but that’s not all. You should also visualize what success looks like on the job. What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?
Are you hiring a receptionist? Success in that position might mean that the receptionist answers all phone calls with minimal hold time and greets all clients in a warm and friendly manner. If you are hiring a nurse, your performance indicators should be completely different.
Get an idea of who your ideal candidate would be. What is their level of education and experience? What are their values? How would they fit in with your business culture? The important thing is that you know exactly what you’re looking for, and you can visualize how a person would meet your expectations.
Step Two: Generate a Robust Flow of Candidates
There are a number of methods for building your candidate list, and you’ll want to use several of them. Which methods you choose will depend on the position you are hiring for. Here are a few ideas:
- Employee referrals. This works especially well if you are located in a well-populated area and you have a large staff. If that is not the case, ask your staff if they have any recommendations for the job. Good people know good people.
- Networking. Colleagues from other practices, facilities, clinics or hospitals are the most likely to know health care professionals who might be a good fit.
- Job boards + professional association websites. Indeed, Glassdoor, Craigslist, SimplyHired and LinkedIn are all good sources of candidates. Some health care specific jobs boards are iHireMentalHealth, APA Health Central, Health eCareers, MentalHealthWork.com, and JAMA Career Center.
- Social media. Be sure to post your job listings on all of your social accounts, as well as your practice website.
- Schools and universities. If you’re located near a medical or nursing school, these are great places to advertise.
- Recruiting vendors. If you’re having trouble finding candidates, a recruiter might be able to help.
Step Three: Create and Execute Your Interview Plan
Before you bring in your candidates, you need a plan. First, identify which team members will participate in the interview. It helps to get more than one perspective.
Next, generate a list of questions and assign them to your team of interviewers. Your questions should be based on your job description, the candidate’s qualifications, and their experience. Just be sure that all of your questions are legal to ask. Remember, you may not ask questions about a candidate’s age, race, religion, gender, or any other protected class. Here is a resource that can help you determine if your questions comply with the law.
After you select the candidates you wish to invite in, it’s time to conduct your interviews. Be sure that you have a private space to meet and that you allocate adequate time. It’s disrespectful to invite someone in and then rush through their interview because you overbooked your schedule.
During the interview, be sure to pay attention to the details. What are your first impressions of the candidate? How confident are they in answering your questions? Do they seem like they will get along with the rest of your staff?
Afterward, debrief with your interviewers. Be sure you know what everyone thinks of the candidate.
Step Four: Make the Decision and Extend the Job Offer
Your goal, of course, is to choose the most qualified candidate who is also the best organizational fit. If two candidates are similarly qualified, let organizational fit be the tiebreaker. An employee will not last long with your organization if they don’t like their job, their co-workers and/or their supervisor.
Before you make the job offer, check the candidate’s references. Be sure to ask references specific questions about things that the candidate mentioned in the interview. For example, if a candidate says that their greatest weakness is time management, tell that to the reference and ask them to comment. By disclosing the candidate’s own statement, you are giving the reference a feeling of having “permission” to discuss it.
Next, you’ll want to make a verbal job offer over the phone, followed by a written offer if the candidate accepts. It is recommended to conduct a background check via a background check vendor. These vendors will help ensure you are in compliance with the federal and state regulations related to background checks. The key is that the background check is conducted after the offer is accepted by the candidate and prior to their start date.
The hiring process doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. By using my four-step plan, you can start building a team of top-notch talent for your practice.
Mary Ellen Harris has a PhD in Leadership and a Master’s degree in Instructional Design / Organizational Design. She has 30 years of professional experience in Human Resources and Business Leadership and is regarded as an expert in talent acquisition, employee relations, talent development, talent retention, change management, and company culture enhancement.