February 13, 2019
Finding and hiring great staff continues to be at the top of the list of challenges we hear from course attendees and clients nationwide. One of the reasons I think practices continue to struggle is that they overlook several effective hiring options and techniques that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional hiring model.
It’s not enough these days to post an ad, review resumes, interview three to five people, and find the perfect fit. Yet, this is often the extent of many practice hiring processes. The result is prolonged recruitment periods, unfilled positions, and frustrated physicians.
Here are few techniques that we use and recommend at KZA. Try them out in your practice. They really do work.
1. Use paid interns.
Our firm has successfully used interns for decades. These college students are eager to learn, fast on the keyboard, and savvy with Internet research.
We use interns to supplement the team during several busy times of the year, not just for the summer. It’s a cost effective way for us to have an extra set of hands when we need them. And, it’s a way for us to mentor and provide experience for a young person who hasn’t yet entered the workforce.
Interns can offer great help to your practice during a major change project. They can take on administrative and research projects that no one on your full time team has time for. We’ve also used them to make sales calls, create videos, analyze our email and social media data, and support our marketing coordinator with social media posting.
Contact local universities and community colleges and ask how you can announce your internship positions. These days, most schools will post your position to their online job boards.
2. Narrow the field with video calls.
This is easy and cost effective if you use FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype. The latter two both offer free accounts, as do other online video platforms.
A video call can tell you a lot about a person in a short period of time. Some candidates can’t figure out how to get the software to work; not a positive indicator of their technology skills. Others show up for the call wearing something inappropriate.
Using video as a screening tool has helped us eliminate candidates we would have otherwise brought in to interview, saving everyone a lot of time and effort.
3. Use an outside agency to place ads and vet candidates.
Unless you’ve looked at hundreds or thousands of resumes, it’s hard to know how to spot a rat. Leave that job to a firm that knows what to look for and why. It can save you the slog of sorting through resumes and bringing in what end up being inappropriate candidates.
At KZA, we use an agency to do the resume vetting and initial candidate calls while we work our own professional and personal networks. They save us loads of time. We of course provide questions for them to ask and a job description for the role. You’ll have to do the same if you use an outside agency.
Recently a physician told us about his positive experience using a local employment company. He uses them to advertise, screen applicants, conduct face to face interviews, and test candidates on Microsoft Word, typing skills, and telephone abilities. They also perform background checks, which we believe is an absolute must on final candidates – whether an agency does them or you use a specific service to conduct the review. This physician says the screening and interviewing are particularly valuable. He and his colleagues used to do those things in between patient visits or at the end of a long day – neither of which was very effective.
4. Look at candidates’ social media sites.
Yes, this is legal, as long as you review only content that people have posted publicly. In other words, don’t think you can “friend” them to get an insider’s view.
Reviewing candidate accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat can be eye opening. You may find photos or information that doesn’t align with your practice’s culture or physician philosophies. Or, you may find that the candidate has questionable judgment, based on the photos he or she has chosen to post. Either way, you’ve just saved yourself the time of a phone call or interview.
5. Administer skills tests and work style assessments.
It’s not enough for people to tell you what they have done. You need them to demonstrate their skills. This is especially important for billing, coding, and managerial roles, all of which require a certain level of proficiency in key technical areas.
The physician who told us about his use of an employment agency pays the agency to conduct the skills tests. But you can also do this yourself, in-house, using free and low cost tools at companies such as Total Testing and Typing Test. We also encourage practices to create their own internal assessments for key job roles. For billing staff candidates, you might include basic coding questions and ask candidates to describe essential revenue cycle tasks such as how to work a denial or prepare a surgery estimate.
Our team is also big on administering a workstyle assessment to final candidates. At KZA we use as a DISC tool called Proception2. We use it in our own hiring as well as with the physicians and managers of every consulting client. The results provide amazingly accurate insight into how people interact with data, handle change, and make decisions. Each profile report gives you information about the strengths the candidate brings to the team, as well as their preferred work environment, communication needs and more. Contact us if you’d like to learn more or use Proception2 in your next hiring cycle.