Are you expanding your practice into a group practice and are unsure of how to make sure you hire the best clinicians to fit your practice? Are you an established group practice that has hired clinicians that just didn’t end up fitting into your group practice, for one reason or another? Hiring staff can become an anxiety provoking, fear inducing project, especially for group practice owners who have had bad experiences in hiring staff. But, fear not! There are several strategies and ideas you can be aware of next time you interview potential clinicians.
First thing to consider is how your group practice is structured (here is where your business plan helps). Is your group specialized to help a specific population (i.e. a women’s fertility counseling practice) or is it a multi-specialty group (i.e. a group practice that employs clinicians with various backgrounds). This is important, as the first step is to know what kind of therapist you are looking for. Clearly this step is easy if your practice is specialized as a whole in one area, then you are looking for a clincian who specializes in this area. If your group practice is not geared towards one specific population, what kind of clinician are you looking for? My methodology is to have clinicians who can work with clients that I cannot work with. This way, the scope of my group practice expands and my business can help more people. This first step is important, as it can be easy to like someone you are interviewing, and may later realize you needed someone with a different specialty. Questions to ask: How do you feel you fit in with our group? In what ways will your specialization be useful and marketable in our community?
What kind of therapist are you looking for? Specific specializations?
The next thing to consider is what your group needs in terms of hours and days. A good rule of thumb is to hire clinicians that can work at least 2 days per week. That way, clients can have the potential to see their therapist a different day of the week if they can’t come on their scheduled appointment time. If you hire someone to work one day per week, if a client or therapist cancels, they must wait a whole other week. Not only is this unhelpful for the client, it is also financially draining. Another thing to consider ahead of time is how many clients you want your clinician to see. I have seen business owners become resentful when clinincians are consistently seeing less than expected. Side note-a good business system is to check in with your staff monthly to make sure they are seeing enough clients (not too many or too little) and to problem solve together if so. This keeps both clincian and practice owner from getting resentful.
What days, time of day, and client caseload do you need this clinician to have?
Are you hiring independent contractors or employees? This is something that should be in your business plan as well. This question should be thought out, as it plays a role int he organization and structure of your business. In short, independent contractors are, well, independent. You have less influence and control in this area, but also less responsibility. Employees get more direction from you, and there are more expectations you and your employees have on one another. If you don’t already know your answer to this, do some research before hiring.
Are you hiring independent contractors or employees?
Once you know the type of therapist you need, the days you need them, and whether they will be an employee or 1099, another important thought to consider is personality and style. We tend to hire people we like, and that makes sense right? Well, we tend to like people who are like us. But a well rounded business has people who thrive in different aspects of that business. There’s a great book by Sally Hogshead called How The World Sees You that talks about this. I am a structured type, and I likely feel connected to therapists who are also structured and organized. But my practice may need a creative person or a well spoken person to run groups or workshops. Remember, too much of any one thing can be bad 🙂 Also this question helps you hire clinicians that will actually fit in with your group. Lastly, make sure your clinician has either worked in private practice before or understands the nature of private practice. There is an adjustment in working in a private practice-more independence, working alone, etc. Questions to ask: Do you work well independently? Do you have questions or concerns about working in a private practice setting?
What personality style does your practice need?
Lastly, what do you hope to have this clinician do? Counseling? Groups? Marketing? Workshops? It is important to think about this before hiring someone, as you and your clinician can become resentful of unspoken expectations. Questions to ask: What have been some concerns you have had in your other workplaces in terms of working with others? How have you resolved issues in other workplaces?
What role(s) will your clinician play?
These are some basic things to consider when interviewing potential candidates for a clinician position. Most importantly, take your time when hiring someone; the business is your hard work, and in the end it is better to take your time than hiring hastily. Good luck! I’d love to hear your hiring process or help you structure your hiring process.
Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here: LEARN MORE HERE