How to Conduct a Killer Private Practice Hiring Interview

Let’s talk about the best and most effective way to set up a video call to hire for a private practice. After I am contacted by a good prospect, I set up a video call interview as soon as possible—within a day or two if I can. I introduce myself quickly and then say, “Okay, here’s what I want to know. I want to know who you are as a person, not as a professional. I don’t want to talk about you as a PT, I want to hear about who you are as a person.” Then I ask questions like these: 

  • Tell me about your family, whatever you’d like to share. 
  • Tell me about what you like to do in your spare time.
  • Do you have any pets? What are their names? Tell me about them.

Start asking them about who they are and they will be so surprised they actually might have to take a minute because nobody asks that. 

Setting Yourself Apart from Other Employers

With most employers, the first thing they ask a jobseeker is, “Why did you go into speech therapy? What are you looking for in a team? What are you looking for in a facility?” 

You’re going to ask those questions, too, but to set yourself apart from other practices, you need to emphasize getting to know them first. Here’s an example of what I might ask: “Have you taken a vacation yet this summer? Do you have one planned? Oh, where are you going? Do you guys go there every summer? Oh my gosh, I love Hilton Head. We go there every summer, but we recently just fell in love with Florida and so we’ve been going to this little place in Florida.” 

If they say they like dogs, I tell them about my dogs. We talk about dogs for two minutes and then from there, we continue talking about anything but therapy as I get to know them as a person. That’s what they’re going to remember.

So many times when I’ve been in an interview with a candidate, they’ve said, “Nobody’s ever asked me about myself and wanted to know so much about me.” I would say, “Oh, that’s who we are. You’re not just a person that’s producing for me. We care about who you are and who this person is as part of our team. That’s important to us.”

Showing Recruitment Prospects Your Genuine, Family-Friendly Culture

All my interest during the interview is genuine. I’m not faking any of this. By being genuine, I show the candidate the priorities of my organization: “This is our culture, but who you are as a person comes first to us.”

We believe in family-friendly scheduling. Therefore, when we start talking about scheduling in the interview, I relate it back to who they are as a person. I understand that they have a life outside of work and we want to support that. 

There are even times we want to be a part of their life outside of work. I’d bring that up in the interview, saying, “We just had laser tag and the whole family came. We had kids’ teams against adults’ teams. It was so fun.” Promote your culture and let them know that you care.

What’s Important to Most Recruitment Prospects

The two big hot buttons among our recruitment prospects are:

  1.  Caring about them as a person
  2.  Growth. 

So, those are the two things that we talk about in this interview.

I also talk about our ladder system for promoting from within. I tell them all of the ways that they can grow within our organization. For example:

  • Money for continuing education
  • MedBridge healthcare education
  • Unlimited online learning
  • Paid time off
  • Growth within our ladder system

There’s even so much more that we do; I go on and on about it.

I don’t monopolize the time because I pause frequently and listen. I’ll say, “Tell me about your goals. Is growth important to you? Tell me about your passion and how you want to grow.” I recommend you keep asking more questions like these to get them to share with you. You’re going to find out what’s important to them. I don’t think other employers spend that much time on that point.

Transparency Is Part of Practice Culture

I am completely transparent in this video call. I tell them, “Look, this is part of our culture. This is who we are. We’re transparent and I’m going to answer every question. I want you to ask me the hard questions. I’m going to tell you everything right now.” 

If they want to know the salary, I tell them on the first call. Do you know why? Because if we’re far off, I don’t want them to come in for the site visit and waste my team’s time. (I’m telling you that; I don’t say it to the candidate.) I believe it’s important to be just this transparent. 

Follow the Recruitment Video Call with a Site Visit

If that video call goes well, I set up a site visit. For a site visit, we have them observe and interact with our staff for at least two hours before they meet with a clinical director. We like them to observe first so that our staff can give a thumbs up for anyone they like. We have an internal instant messaging system where we can send each other notes like, “She was great.” or “Thumbs down.” Our staff use those internal messages so they can instantly provide feedback on the candidate’s visit.

We try to give the prospect the time to observe multiple teammates on their jobs. That gives the candidate the chance to ask more questions. We want the candidate to ask the team all the same questions they asked me. 

Before your clinical director interviews the candidate, send them data on any red flags you saw or what to dig into further. For example, if we were way off on the salary the candidate wanted, we would need to play up the other points that were important to her. Let your CD know so they know how to proceed.

Preparing for the Recruit Prospect’s Site Visit

When the candidate is scheduled for a visit, I make sure our front desk knows they’re coming so that they can say, “Oh, Whitney, hello. We were expecting you. We’re so excited that you’re here.” 

At how many places do you think the front desk is going to know their name, greet them and be so excited that they arrived? Again, you’re setting yourself apart from everyone else in your community.

Making the Recruitment Prospect an Offer

If you and your clinical director both like the candidate, make them a verbal employment offer while they’re still there. Say something like this: “We love you. Let me tell you, we would love to make you a verbal offer right now. Here is the salary . . . what do you think?” (Look at how this works in a prospect’s mind—they’re thinking “They made me feel so valuable. They really want me.”)

Most of them don’t immediately say, “Yeah, I’ll take it.” They’re going to want to go home and talk to their spouse. In their hesitation, however, you’re going to see their reaction to the offer. At that point, I suggest you say something like, “We want you to feel valued. We want you to know that we, above any other place you might be looking at, think you’re amazing.”

Find the Help and Expertise You Need to Manage Your Private Practice

For even more tools in recruitment, staff training, marketing and much, much more, visit our Lemonade Library to review past webinars! Also, get your questions answered by other pediatric PTs in our Peds-A-Palooza Facebook community

About Diane Crecelius

Diane Crecelius is a physical therapist and founder of a multi-million-dollar, multi-location practice with well over 3,000 visits per week and 200 staff! In the past several years, Diane has worked tirelessly to support the Peds-A-Palooza group and the success of Private Practice Owners. Diane has presented at nearly every Peds-A-Palooza live and virtual conference since the first sold-out conference in 2018. Her extensive knowledge derives from her decades in practice and from being trained and consulted by Survival Strategies, Inc. She uses this training to help Private Practice Owners learn how to thrive and expand while keeping their stress low.