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How to recruit and hire for your new medical practice

Wondering about physician recruitment best practices? Here’s what you need to know to recruit, hire, and retain staff for your new medical practice.

image of woman researching best practices on physician recruitment for medical practice

If your medical training didn’t include courses on recruiting or managing employees, don’t panic. This article lays out everything you need to know about medical recruitment, as well as best practices for hiring and retaining highly qualified medical staff for your new practice. 

How do you recruit healthcare employees?

There are 3 components to building a medical practice dream team: recruiting, hiring, and retaining. This article will:

  • Explore tips and best practices to recruit, hire, and retain medical staff
  • Answer commonly asked questions about physician recruitment and medical office hiring
  • Provide detailed hiring lists for different specialties

How to hire medical staff in 3 simple steps

Recruiting, hiring, and retaining excellent medical and administrative staff is critical to the long-term success of your practice. As you develop your medical practice business model and business plan, keep in mind that your staff will contribute to the level of care you can provide, as well as your overall efficiency — so make every effort to hire qualified candidates. Highly qualified and competent physicians and other medical professionals are likely to be well-versed in the latest medical advancements, technologies, and best practices. And they can help you streamline processes, reduce errors, and optimize workflow, resulting in improved productivity and operational efficiency. 

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Step 1: Recruit physicians and staff for your medical office

Recruiting is the process of actively seeking and attracting qualified individuals to apply for open positions. The goal is to assemble a talent pool from which to select people who align with your practice’s goals, values, and culture. Plan to dedicate the resources necessary to locate individuals who possess the skills, qualifications, and experience to meet your practice’s needs and maintain a competitive edge.

Consider these tips and medical professional, administrative staff, and physician recruitment best practices. 

  1. Use multiple recruitment channels. Advertise on job boards, professional networking sites, healthcare-specific platforms, social media, and by word of mouth. You can also partner with local medical schools, professional associations, and healthcare organizations to tap into their networks.
  2. Develop a compelling brand. Showcase your practice’s mission, values, work culture, and opportunities. A strong employer brand can differentiate you from competitors.
  3. Craft clear and concise job descriptions.Include responsibilities, qualifications, and preferred skills. Highlight your practice’s work-life balance, competitive compensation, professional development opportunities, and a supportive work environment.
  4. Ask for employee referrals. Employee referrals can yield candidates who align with your practice values and culture. Reward employees who refer successful hires.
  5. Attend networking and professional events, including industry conferences and job fairs, to connect with candidates. Have conversations, build relationships, and share information.
  6. Engage online. Create a website for your practice that discusses your services, team, and career opportunities. Also establish an active presence on social media, such as LinkedIn, to showcase your practice, share industry updates, and engage with potential candidates. Respond promptly to inquiries or comments to demonstrate your commitment to engagement.
  7. Consider using a medical staffing agency to execute physician recruitment best practices, such as advertising job openings, reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, verifying credentials, and performing background checks. An agency will work to find the best fit for your practice.

Step 2: Hire physicians and staff for your new medical practice 

After you’ve recruited people to apply for open positions, it’s time to start the hiring process. 

During this phase, you’ll review applications, evaluate resumes, conduct initial interviews, and assess candidate qualifications against the job requirements.

After the initial screening, you’ll typically invite selected candidates for a second interview to assess in-depth their skills, knowledge, experience, and cultural fit. Once the interview process is complete, you’ll decide which candidate is the most suitable and extend a written offer. The final phase of hiring involves reference checks, background checks, and negotiation of the terms of employment and compensation.

Follow these these tips and best practices to hire medical staff for your practice:

  1. Develop a comprehensive hiring process. Establish a structured and well-defined hiring process that includes steps such as reviewing applications, conducting interviews, checking references, and performing background checks to help maintain consistency and ensure that you evaluate all candidates fairly. Consult with an attorney to ensure your processes comply with legal requirements and obligations.
  2. Streamline the application process. Simplifying the application process encourages more candidates to apply. Use online application forms or applicant tracking systems to efficiently collect and review applications. Consider including pre-screening questions to filter out unqualified candidates early in the process.
  3. Conduct thorough interviews. When interviewing candidates, prepare well-structured interview questions that assess candidates' qualifications, experience, and fit for your practice. Conduct behavioral-based interviews to gauge how candidates have handled past situations and determine their potential performance in your practice. Include a mix of technical questions and inquiries about their approach to patient care, teamwork, and problem-solving. For clinical staff, ask questions that demonstrate their understanding of patient safety and best practices. For administrative staff, include questions that evaluate their skills in areas such as customer service, communication, problem-solving, and attention to detail. Consider conducting multiple rounds of interviews to gain deeper insights into candidates' abilities and cultural fit and ask a second person to sit in on the interviews with you. 
  4. Assess cultural fit. Cultural fit is essential for a positive work environment and cohesive team dynamics. Assess whether candidates align with the values, mission, and work culture of your medical practice. Look for candidates who demonstrate professionalism, teamwork, adaptability, and a patient-centered approach. Consider how including people with different backgrounds and perspectives will enhance your organizations and strengthen your ability to care for your patients. 
  5. Check references and perform background checks. No matter how great someone seems during their interview, contact their references to verify their qualifications, work history, and performance. For clinical staff, this includes checking licensure and querying the national practitioner data bank or other appropriate repository. Conduct background checks to ensure the candidates have no history of misconduct or legal issues that could compromise patient safety or practice reputation. This is an important step to protect your patients from harm and your practice from liability. 
  6. Consider personality assessments. Behavioral assessments or personality tests can be a valuable way to gain insight into candidates' working styles, communication, and problem-solving abilities. These assessments can provide useful information to help determine if a candidate possesses the desired traits for the role and fit within your team.
  7. Involve your team. If appropriate, involve other members of your team in the hiring process. Including current staff in interviews or seeking their input on candidates can help gauge team compatibility and foster a sense of ownership in the hiring decision.
  8. Consider diversity and inclusion. Foster a diverse and inclusive workplace by actively seeking candidates with different backgrounds and lived experiences. Promote equal opportunities and fair hiring practices. Embracing diversity enhances creativity, cultural competence, and patient satisfaction.
  9. Be upfront about compensation. Disclosing compensation information and opportunities for advancement early in the hiring process ensures that candidates who apply are interested in and aligned with the salary range offered. This helps avoid wasting time on candidates who may have salary expectations outside of what your practice can offer.
  10. Consider soft skills. In addition to technical skills and qualifications, prioritize soft skills such as empathy, interpersonal communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. These qualities are vital for delivering exceptional care.
  11. Assess adaptability and flexibility. Healthcare environments are dynamic and often require staff to adapt to changing circumstances. Assess candidates' adaptability, flexibility, and willingness to learn and grow. Specifically, look for individuals who can handle unexpected situations, multitask effectively, and maintain composure under pressure.
  12. Seek people with a passion for patient care. Look for candidates who genuinely demonstrate a passion for patient care and a commitment to making a positive impact on patients' lives. Consider their previous experiences, stories of patient interactions, or their motivation to work in healthcare. A genuine passion for the field can drive employees to go above and beyond in their roles.

Hiring the right medical staff for your practice will be an ongoing process. Continuously evaluate and refine your hiring strategies based on your practice needs and the evolving healthcare landscape. By prioritizing qualifications, cultural fit, soft skills, and diversity, you can build a strong and cohesive team that is committed to excellent patient care and success. 

Step 3: Retain physicians and staff for your medical practice 

Employee turnover can be costly for medical practices. The process of recruiting, hiring, and training new staff members requires time, effort, and financial resources. So once you have a good team in place, it’s important to foster a workplace environment that people don’t want to leave. 

To retain medical staff at your practice, consider using the following strategies.

  1. Create a comprehensive onboarding and training program. Once you select candidates, invest in their onboarding and training to ensure a smooth transition into their roles. Provide an orientation to familiarize new hires with the practice's policies, procedures, and systems. Assign a mentor or experienced staff member to guide them and help them integrate into the team. Then do everything you can to help ensure that they succeed. 
  2. Continuously evaluate and seek ways to improve. Regularly assess staff performance and solicit feedback from patients and colleagues. Identify areas for improvement and provide ongoing training and professional development opportunities. Encourage open communication to address any issues or concerns that may arise.
  3. Offer competitive compensation and benefits. Offering competitive salaries and benefits packages is essential for attracting and retaining talented healthcare professionals. Regularly review compensation to ensure it aligns with industry standards. Provide additional benefits such as healthcare coverage, retirement plans, and professional development opportunities to enhance job satisfaction and encourage loyalty.
  4. Model work-life balance. Promoting a healthy work-life balance is vital for staff well-being and retention. Implement — and personally model — policies that support reasonable working hours, flexible scheduling options, and paid time off. Encourage self-care and stress management by promoting well-being and providing access to resources such as employee assistance programs.
  5. Encourage professional development and growth opportunities. Create a culture of continuous learning and professional growth. Provide opportunities for staff members to attend conferences, workshops, and training sessions to enhance their skills and knowledge. Support career advancement by offering mentorship programs, tuition reimbursement, or internal pathways for promotion.
  6. Recognize contributions in meaningful ways. Recognize and appreciate the hard work and achievements of your staff. Regularly acknowledge their contributions, both individually and as a team. Implement recognition programs, such as employee of the month/year awards or a peer-to-peer recognition system. Celebrate milestones, anniversaries, and successes to foster a positive and supportive work environment.
  7. Implement clear communication and feedback systems. Establish open and transparent communication channels. Encourage staff members to voice their opinions, ideas, and concerns. Conduct regular performance evaluations and provide constructive feedback to help staff improve and grow in their roles. Encourage mutual communication to ensure that staff feel heard and valued.
  8. Foster a sense of ownership and engagement among staff members. Involve them in decision-making processes, seek their input on practice improvements, and create opportunities for them to contribute to practice initiatives. Empower staff to take on additional responsibilities and leadership roles, promoting a sense of professional fulfillment and job satisfaction.
  9. Create an employee well-being program. Prioritize staff well-being by offering related programs and initiatives. This could include activities like yoga classes, stress management workshops, or access to mental health resources. Support staff in maintaining their physical and emotional health, as it directly impacts their job satisfaction and performance.

By implementing these staff retention strategies, you can create an environment that attracts and retains top medical talent, fosters employee satisfaction and engagement, and ultimately enhances patient care.

How many staff does my medical office need to hire?

The number of staff you’ll need to run your medical practice depends on your practice size, services, and patient volume, as well as the specific roles and responsibilities you need to support your operations.

What roles should I hire for my medical office?

Here are some key staff positions commonly found in most medical practices:

Other physicians: The number of physicians you need to hire depends on your patient population, services, and desired physician-to-patient ratio. Also consider appointment demand, case complexity, and any specific specialties or subspecialties you might require.

Practice manager: A practice manager oversees the day-to-day operations of your entire medical practice. Their duties can include patient scheduling, billing and insurance matters, inventory management, vendor relationships, regulatory compliance, and staff supervision. 

Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs): NPs and PAs can play a vital role in supporting physicians, especially in primary care settings. Depending on patient volume and the scope of services, you may consider hiring NPs and PAs to expand your provider capacity and enhance patient access to care.

Nursing and other clinical staff: Clinical staff, including registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and medical assistants (MAs), are essential to patient care, treatment administration, and clinical tasks. LPNs and MAs typically have less training and a narrower scope of practice than RNs, so many practices use them for initial patient assessments and use RNs for more advanced tasks, such as phone triage or patient education. Your target number of nursing staff will depend on your patient volume, case complexity, and services.

Administrative staff: Your administrative team includes your receptionist or front desk staff who manage patient intake, schedule appointments, answer phone calls, and collect insurance or payment information. The number of front desk staff required will depend on your practice size, patient volume, and administrative efficiency.

Billing and coding staff: Medical billing and coding staff ensure accurate and timely insurance claim processing and financial management. However, a modern EHR can simplify billing and reduce the number of staff you need to handle this business-critical function. 

Support staff: You may require additional support staff, such as medical transcriptionists, medical records specialists, laboratory technicians, or imaging technicians. Assess the specific services you offer and the corresponding staffing requirements for each.

Anesthesiology staff: If you plan to conduct surgical procedures, you will need to hire anesthesiology staff, such as an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), as well as respiratory therapists and perioperative nurses who are experienced in providing intraoperative and postoperative care. 

Translation support: If you expect a significant percentage of your patient population to speak a language other than English, consider hiring bilingual staff or contracting with translation services to ensure that you are able to effectively communicate with your patients. 

IT support: Compare the costs of in-house versus outsourced IT services to ensure your team has support to manage your EHR and associated IT needs.

Environmental/housekeeping services: Maintaining a clean and sanitary facility takes a lot of work, so be prepared to hire a cleaning service for daily cleaning and sterilization, and to contract with companies who do biohazardous waste and sharps container disposal. When hiring a cleaning service, consider its healthcare experience, understanding of infection control practices, adherence to regulations, and reputation.

Marketing services: Marketing is essential for medical practices to attract and retain patients. A company can help you develop and optimize your website; implement search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, and social media campaigns; and manage your reputation. 

When developing your medical practice business model and business plan, consider which of these roles you need to hire initially and which you can add as your practice grows. Part of physician recruitment best practices is knowing which roles to hire at what time.

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Additional medical staff to hire for speciality practices

Depending on your speciality and the services, you may need to hire additionally for specific roles:

Cardiology practices

  • Echocardiography technician
  • Stress test technician
  • Surgical scheduling liaison 

Dermatology practices

  • Medical esthetician
  • Mohs technician 

ENT practices 

  • Audiologist 
  • Technicians who conduct allergy testing
  • Speech language pathologist

Gastroenterology practices

  • Endoscopy technician
  • Registered dietician 

Nephrology practices

  • Dialysis nurse
  • Renal dietician
  • Diabetes nurse educator

Neurology practices

  • EEG technician 
  • Neurodiagnostic technologist
  • Neuropsychologist

Obstetrics and gynecology practices

  • Nurse midwife
  • Birth center or hospital scheduling coordinator
  • Lactation consultant 
  • Genetic counselor
  • Ultrasound technician

Ophthalmology practices 

  • Optometrist
  • Optician

Orthopedic practices

  • Physical therapist
  • Orthopedic technician
  • Imaging technician 
  • Sports medicine specialist 

Pediatric and family medicine practices

  • Child life specialist
  • Lactation consultant
  • Social worker
  • Mental health counselor
  • Gerontologist
  • Addiction specialist
  • Sports medicine specialist 

Pulmonology practices

  • Pulmonary function technologist
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Sleep technician for sleep studies

Psychiatric practices

  • Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)
  • Psychologist
  • Case manager
  • Addiction counselor

Urology practices

  • Surgical scheduling liaison
  • Sexual health counselor
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Kate Smith, RN, BSN

Kate Smith is a registered nurse with extensive experience caring for patients in urban emergency departments, private practices, in-home hospice settings, and on cruise ships around the world. She is also a writer who is passionate about the medical field, and endeavors to approach topics in ways that give readers a new perspective.

Baran Erdik, physician and healthcare consultant

Dr. Baran Erdik, MD, MHPA is a physician with further specialization in internal medicine/cardiology. He has traveled the world, working as a physician in New Zealand, Germany, and Washington State. He’s been published numerous times and currently works in healthcare compliance and consulting.

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