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by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME

How to Hire Great Staffers for Your Medical Practice



As you look around your practice, you likely see many areas where you could invest in new resources: technology, infrastructure, new devices. But what about your human resources?

Your investment in your staff is arguably the one with that reaps the highest dividends on your office’s productivity, patient satisfaction, and revenues. That’s why, whenever a team member quits or retires, it’s critical for you to take a long-term approach to hiring a new employee who will be a good fit for your team and make a strong contribution to your success – not to just get a new body in that empty seat as soon as possible.

The best bet is to look for an employee with the right mix of several qualities experience, teachability, enthusiasm, and commitment – that you can assess throughout the different phases of the hiring process.

Step #1 Resume Review: Experience

Often, once you post a job listing, you’re inundated almost immediately with applications and referrals from friends and colleagues. The key to acing resume reviews is to focus on experience; candidates with a background in your field are simply more likely to succeed on the job.

There are exceptions: Do you have a capable staff that could train a ‘blank slate’ hire without medical practice experience? If so, don’t discount recent graduates. If not, don’t feel bad about holding out for someone with a health care background and saying ‘no thanks’ to friends and family members whose referred kin don’t have the experience you need.

Step #2 Interviewing: Teachability

Once you’ve slimmed down that stack of resumes, it’s time to get to know your applicants a little better. Phone screenings and first-round interviews are the point where experience starts to take a backseat to personality. Ultimately, a new hire’s eagerness and ability to learn may be more valuable than their technical know-how.

Ask each potential hire questions designed to measure their openness to learning and growing, such as: “What was your biggest obstacle at your last job, and how did you conquer it?” “How do you respond to challenges?” “What’s one thing you’ve done in the last 12 months to improve yourself?” Weed out the prospects who seem too set-in-their-ways to adopt new skills and learn by doing.

Step #3 Selection: Enthusiasm

As you narrow the pool further to top two or three candidates, consider which one has the keenest interest in working for you – as opposed to just working. Someone who is excited about the opportunity to be a part of your team is more likely to put in the work to succeed.

During first and second-round interviews, share what makes your practice unique among its peers and see how the interviewee responds. Don’t forget that it’s a two-way-street: Keep note of which candidates ask you questions to help them decide whether your practice is the right fit for them.

Step #4 Onboarding: Commitment

The most frustrating part of hiring is the threat of the ‘perfect storm’: finding the right candidate, offering him the job (and being thrilled when he accepts), training him for several weeks or months… and then watching him walk away from the job too quickly. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to keep the exodus from happening, but you can do your best to hedge yourself against it by gauging a new hire’s commitment up front and being as honest with him as possible.

When you’ve found the right person, be direct and straightforward about the job responsibilities and associated challenges, the salary, and the outlook for future wage growth and advancement. (That way, there’s no chance your new hire can claim he “didn’t know” any of the stipulations related to working for you.) Use a three-month probationary period to observe the hire’s approach and commitment to becoming an indispensible member of your team. If it doesn’t seem like he’s in it for the long haul after 90 days, better to start the hiring process over again on your own terms than be hit with a surprise resignation a few weeks later.

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by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME

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