Screening Prospective Employees for Your Pediatric Private Practice

Your employees are truly the foundation on which your practice success stands. Without quality employees who support your goals with their own initiative and intelligence, the entire burden of success falls on you. 

That’s why it’s so important to implement an effective procedure for selecting the right employees. Let’s take a look at the steps that must be taken to bring strong, ethical, talented team members on board.

The Orientation

Start by showing applicants your practice. Walk them around, talk about your philosophy of care and the culture you and your team have created. Introduce them to your staff. Emphasize the benefits of joining your particular team.

The Screening

Now take a close look at this prospective employee. This is a key step where you collect a volume of information about your prospect. 

  1. Ask them about their professional goals.
  2. Find out why they might like to work at your practice and what they like about it.
  3. Ask them to define how they can contribute to your practice’s growth.
  4. Read their resumé carefully, with special attention to their professional qualifications.
  5. Give them your application form and have them fill it out. 
  6. Compare the resumé with the application and note any conflicting information, such as job history not matching, gaps in their employment history, fast changes from one job to another. Question any conflicting points and see what answer they provide. Also question the reasons for gaps between jobs or job-hopping. 
  7. As you ask these questions, assess the person’s communication skills: Do they make eye contact? Do they answer your questions easily and without evasion or nervousness? Do they clearly understand your questions and the information you provide? 
  8. Are they professionally dressed? Are they well-groomed, neat and clean? Look at details like shoes and fingernails. 
  9. Do they seem to show you a positive, upbeat attitude in their answers? Or one that tends toward a negative, pessimistic or fault-finding attitude?

When you finish, you’re going to have a pretty good idea of whether or not this person will fit in.

Attitude Means a Lot

If you’ve been an owner or manager for a while, then you’ve seen how attitudes and emotions can wreck a workplace or make it a great place to work. When someone on your team consistently has a pessimistic viewpoint or when they are negative with others, it hurts everyone on your team. On the other hand, if you know how to hire people who spend most of their time with a bright, optimistic outlook, it can make every day at work a little easier. That’s what makes point #9 above so important.

(If you want to learn more about this subject, we offer a DVD called Emotions in the Workplace. You can learn more at this link: Emotions in the Workplace.)

Delve Deeper

Now it’s time to ask some penetrating questions that will give you insight into their attitudes and quality as an employee. Of course this prospect wants you to like them so they will tell you what they think you want to hear. Ask them questions like the following (and feel free to add your own):

  1. Have you ever had a perfect boss? Tell me about them. 
  2. Have you ever had a horrible boss? Tell me about them. 
  3. What do you think is your strongest quality when it comes to teamwork?  
  4. What is your weakest quality as a team member?
  5. How would you handle me if I were a patient that had been late to my last three appointments and I show up late again? 
  6. What do you think is the most important thing to improve about yourself as an employee? How do you plan to address this? 

Stay friendly and receptive—not judgmental—so they feel comfortable communicating openly with you. 

References and Prior Employers

If an applicant has gotten this far and still looks promising, it’s worth your time investment to check their references and call prior employers. 

In some states, employers are quite restricted in what they can say about past employees. Ask them to verify information on the resumé and application. Always ask if the company would rehire this person. This may be the most telling part of the interview. 

It’s always a good idea to check with your attorney on what questions are legally permissible in checking references and prior employment.

Time for Outside Help? 

If you’re growing fast or this isn’t your favorite task, then it might be the right time to bring on an HR company that recruits specifically for pediatric private practice owners. They are old hands at selecting employees that have the right qualities to support your dreams. But, of course, you will need to pay them a fee.

More Study

We know—it’s not easy to choose the right people to hire!. You can get some help from the book, Keys to Private Practice Success. Learn more about this helpful manual here

For additional resources, browse our Peds-A-Palooza site for help managing your pediatric private practice.