There’s a great deal of talk today about the difficulties of finding a job, but any ENT physician in private practice knows that hiring someone for a position can be an equally daunting task. For a practice owner, new faces are always a welcome addition to the office, but when there are more physicians and administrative staff coming and going in your practice than patients, there’s likely a problem with the hiring process.
Explore This IssueSeptember 2012
Susanne Madden can attest to that fact. As president and CEO of The Verden Group, a practice management consulting firm in the medical sector, she’s witnessed issues with nonstop physician turnover firsthand, particularly among solo practitioners. “We had a client who had hired and fired and hired and fired … and it didn’t work out because there were mixed expectations,” she said. “They were each on two totally different pages.”
Making sure a new hire is on the same page as the decision makers in the practice is a step that starts in the candidacy stage, and by recognizing certain red flags from the gate, practice owners can eliminate the employee revolving door.
Watch Out for the Bouncers
A resume, typically your first introduction to a candidate, often contains glaring indicators that suggest a person may not be a good fit for your practice. The biggest of these is a candidate who has had multiple jobs in a short period of time. This is a red flag physicians should inquire about immediately to make sure the candidate isn’t simply interested in increasing his salary, rather than growing a practice, Madden said. “That’s so important with physician practices, because they require everybody to be very focused on the patients in order to build a healthy practice. These days there is a real squeeze on physicians; everybody is feeling the pinch.
“If you hire someone who’s in it for the highest bidder, they’re not going to be focused on practice building,” she added. “They’ll be focused on punching the clock and getting out of there, and that can be really unhealthy and have knockdown consequences on the practice, including fracturing cohesiveness.”
Job hopping isn’t the only indicator that a potential employee is just in it for the salary. A candidate’s questions during the interview can also expose a greater focus on pay than on the practice. “During the interview, if they have no questions at all about the job, or if their only question is about benefits, that’s a red flag,” said Michael Grubb, executive director of Charleston Ear, Nose and Throat Associates in South Carolina. “We want people who have done some research on the practice, who ask what they will be doing and who can relate their past experiences and show an interest and passion for wanting to interact with patients.”
Fill In Those Gaps
In the same way that too many jobs in a short period of time can indicate a potential problem, multiple periods of unemployment is also something hiring practitioners should be wary of. “One should also look for any time gaps in a person’s resume and ask for an explanation,” Grubb said. “There may be legitimate reasons these exist, but it is important to know why someone did not move from one job directly to another. It can be a sign of being terminated.”