The first part of recruiting the best employees for your practice is attracting strong candidates to apply. And of course, to consistently find good prospects takes a plan. A hodge-podge recruitment method won’t work well for long. We need a consistent way to find the most suitable candidates.
Table of contents
Recruiting in the early days
I wish I had built an excellent job interview strategy before I needed one. I did not. Instead, I had the most straightforward recruitment method ever. I looked for staff by asking around, i.e., word of mouth. I worked my personal and professional networks seeking the best employee candidates.
For me, my first support staff person was a neighbor. My first couple of clinical hires were acquaintances of my clinical supervisor.
Fortunately for me, my supervisor was more connected to other therapists than I was. Eventually, colleagues served as the go-between for more potential staff. Word of mouth by colleagues or by me worked fine at first when recruiting enough employees was not difficult. But I wanted more prospects for employment. We needed to grow more.
The word of mouth approach seems to be one of the most common ways for owners to recruit potential staff. No surprise. Every job search is encouraged to use their social networks to find the next lead. And, of course, that implies that those offering new positions are using their respective networks. Everyone connecting to everyone still works and is one of the best.
Nevertheless, we needed to recruit more prospects. So next, we tried job postings through the alumni relations departments of local graduate schools. This approach required not much more than writing up a job description, finding the right person in the graduate school, and then sending the post to the graduate school. Fortunately, alumni relations departments try to keep track of graduates from long ago as well as recent grads. We have gotten some first-rate, more experienced employees via this approach. We kept this in our tool kit as well. But even these approaches were not enough.
More long-term and reliable approaches
Our best strategy for generating consistent, high-quality prospects was to teach adjunct courses in graduate schools nearby. I did this for the last 20 years of my career. Most of the time, I taught one course a year. As I was tapering down my clinical work before retirement, I taught two courses per semester across three grad programs. Additionally, some of my colleagues also taught grad courses. Teaching gave us incredible exposure to notice therapists and recruiting the best employees was a snap.
Furthermore, we developed a practicum program. This program grew to where, at the program’s peak, we took two PsyD and four masters-level graduate students each year. The practicum program furnished us with a year-long job interview before committing to hiring. Typically upon graduation, we took two to three for our staff. While we made very little money on the practicum program itself, it supplied two exceedingly valuable things to us.
First, as mentioned, our practicum program gave us a good look at some prospects for employment. But second, the program gave our more senior clinicians who were interested in supervision, a place to exercise those skills. We paid them a modest amount for their time, which was covered by the fees collected for the practicum students’ work.
Interestingly, all of these approaches continue to generate excellent job candidates. We still get some job prospects from word of mouth, job postings, classroom interactions, and the practicum program. They each bring in different sorts of candidates. And in my view, each method has its place.
And let me add one set of tools that we have not tried but which might work in some areas. I am referring to job postings via LinkedIn, Facebook, Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, ZipRecruiter, etc. I have no experience with using them. (Tell me about your experiences. I’d love to hear.)
Whichever your recruitment method you use to find prospects for employment, give it some time. Eventually, your reputation will bring prospects to your door. But until that kicks in, use everything at your disposal.
An aside about support staff
While finding support staff is in some ways similar to finding clinical staff, there are some differences. For example, for support staff recruitment, we can use word of mouth and job postings but not graduate schools. Furthermore, we have had luck with classifieds in a local newspaper that seems to draw people looking for jobs nearby. And I hear of others who find candidates for support staff via job posting sites.
After we have recruited the best, what is next?
Once you have found some of the best employees for your practice, you need to land them.
Read about an approach to interviews that will help you identify the best employees for your practice: