A woman interviews an associate chiropractor candidate.

9 Questions for Interviewing Associate Candidates

You're ready to hire an associate - but how do you make sure you hire the right fit for your office's needs? These questions will help you get to know your candidates on a deeper level.

Finding the right person to join your practice is important. Hiring the wrong person can be expensive and frustrating. We’ve put together a list of questions in a few different areas that can help you navigate the interview waters to find the team member who will help you achieve your goals.

Background and Schooling

“Tell me what first got you interested in chiropractic as a profession.”

Having your candidate speak about what started them down their path to chiropractic can tell you a lot about them. Perhaps they had a great experience as a child. It might be a family career path. Or maybe they’re interested in the healing arts but prefer to be hands-on. Do they offer a short, just-the-facts response or do they tell a story? Which conversational style will be best received by your patients and staff?

“What was the most challenging course for you?”

It’s not the topic that matters here, so much as their response to the challenge. If they simply identify a class and say, “I hated it,” that could be a problem. But if they saw the challenge as a positive, perhaps something to motivate them to work harder, that is an excellent indicator of character.

“Are there topics you wish had been explored more?”

This question will give you a glimpse into what makes them curious, or where they might want to explore advanced education. Does that interest align well with your practice, or does it throw a red flag that says they might become restless with your current structure?

Goals and Learning

“What are your long-term professional goals?”

This is another way to assess the fit of the candidate with your current and future plans. Maybe you’re looking for someone to buy the practice someday… or perhaps you’re planning to pass the practice on to one of your children. Going into a business relationship with everyone on the same page helps avoid potential trouble down the road.

“How do you stay up to date with industry trends and happenings?”

If they don’t have an answer, this can be a red flag. If a recent grad comes to you thinking they know everything there is to know, they are probably not a good hire. A learner mindset is important. The chiropractic world (and otherwise) has evolved significantly and rapidly over the last forty years and change will likely speed up in the future.

Character and Personality

“Are you comfortable working independently?”

Everyone believes they’re self-sufficient and don’t need handholding, but some people need to engage with their teammates more than others. This question will help you gauge how the candidate fits within your existing culture.

“Tell me about a time you had to work with someone who was upset.”

Regardless of the circumstances, this is a good question to help you assess a candidate’s people skills. Listen for details in the story. Did they have a part in causing the upset? How did they interact with the person? It doesn’t matter as much what the outcome was. Pay attention to the steps they took. Do they show emotional intelligence? When working with patients, coworkers, and you, that’s an important skill to have.

“How do you handle stress? Can you tell me a story about a recent example?”

This is another indicator of an employee’s self-management skill. Building positive coping methods to deal with stress means looking for ways to mitigate it by planning and prioritizing, communicating, setting healthy boundaries, and working on self-improvement. Negatively managing stress comes in the form of outbursts, anger, or shutting down. If the candidate says they don’t experience stress, they’re either lying or not honest with themselves. Neither is a sign of potential success.

“Tell me about a time you failed, personally or professionally, and how you moved on from that experience.”

This is another story-telling question. Your goal isn’t really to hear about the actual failure. You want to understand how they came back from it. Did the candidate take accountability or blame the situation on others? Did they take it as an opportunity to learn? How do they feel about it now? If they’re still upset by it, that’s a flag. If they can see it as a positive experience, that’s a good sign they’re emotionally intelligent and interested in personal improvement.

There are many other things you will probably want to ask your candidates, including more nitty-gritty questions about their style and methods. But these nine questions are a great way to learn more about how these potential associates think, carry themselves and interact with others – all important factors for you to understand as an employer.

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