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How Can You Avoid Making a Bad Hire? Get the Right Person for Your Practice.

If you've ever hired the wrong person, you know how much impact that can have – on patients, on staff, on the culture. That's why hiring the right person for your chiropractic office is crucial, especially if the new employee is expected to wear numerous hats. The right employee will be a multi-tasker and a good fit for the culture of the practice. That's a lot to ask in any job market, much less a tight one.

Before you start, write out your vision of the ideal candidate and the responsibilities they will manage. What skills must they have to be successful? What are “nice to have” but not required? If you have a solid understanding of the gaps you need to fill, it will make it much easier to recognize the right – or wrong – candidate when they present themselves to you.

With that ideal candidate in mind, network. This helps you reach potential candidates you’d miss otherwise. Talk to the people who know the personality of your practice. Family, friends, colleagues and even patients are a great resource to spread the word. A referral from one of these people helps take some of the guesswork out of whether you and the potential candidate will work well together – as long as you ask the person making the referral why they think the candidate is a good fit.

Conduct a phone interview before inviting the person into your office. This is an extra step for many D.C.s, but speaking briefly with a candidate before you meet face-to-face allows you to hear how the person sounds on the phone and answers simple questions – quite likely a task they will perform in your office. This can help narrow down the candidate pool.

There are basic questions you should ask a candidate to determine whether there are possible issues (limited availability but you’re looking for a full time employee, no transportation but you’re not near public transportation), but how do you determine this person is motivated enough to do what's needed and work well with you and others in the office? Ask questions where there are no right or wrong answers – you’re simply seeking to understand how they feel they may fit in as a member of your team.

For example:

  • How have you positively impacted business with a previous employer? This type of question shows how they perceive their role in the business.
  • What would your best friend say is your strength? Weakness? You are more likely to get an authentic answer with this phrasing than if you ask what the candidate thinks is their strength and/or weakness.
  • What has piqued your interest recently? This provides a deeper insight into the person you are interviewing. It also demonstrates a level of curiosity that may or may not be a good fit.
  • When are you happiest? Again, this is a question that helps determine whether the person fits the culture you are building.

Once you’ve found someone you think is going to fit in nicely, check their references. You may be tempted to go with your gut and skip this step, but some people talk a good game but aren’t quite as effective in real life, and a lot can be learned in a quick phone call. Sometimes what the person on the other end of the line doesn’t say is as informative as what they do say.

And, if you still haven’t found the “right” person after all of this? Review your expectations and see if there is somewhere you can adjust and alter. Then, start over. Don’t “make do”; the right employee is not only an investment of money, but of time and resource – all precious commodities of a small business.

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