Recruitment Preparation Checklist

  • Examine your needs and determine which position(s) to hire for
  • Define the job and identify essential responsibilities
  • Identify the skills and attributes you are looking for, based on the job responsibilities (how much is soft skills related and how much is technical?)
  • Create a job posting or description that provides an accurate representation of the role and the clinic
  • Post the position and give a deadline for applications

There are six stages to recruiting the best employee for your practice:

  1. Defining the job
  2. Identifying skills and attributes
  3. Creating the job posting and advertising
  4. Screening resumes
  5. Interviewing
  6. Reference checks

1. Defining the Job

Receptionist: The role of a Receptionist is usually to answer phones, schedule appointments, greet patients and handle registering new people. They may look after patient intake forms, explain clinic policies and collect medical information and/or payment.

Administrative Assistant: The role of an Administrative Assistant can include a number of responsibilities. If there is no Receptionist, the Admin Assistant will likely perform some or all of the duties that a Receptionist performs such as answering phones, scheduling appointments and greeting patients.

Chiropractic Health Assistant (CHA): A CHA usually performs some version of the Administrative Assistant role (above). They may also assist with elements of patient examinations and the set-up of x-rays and EMG scans.

Office Manager/Director of Operations: The role of an Office Manager or Director of Operations is to oversee the management of the clinic or clinics (in the case of multiple locations). Responsibilities include but are not limited to: supervising and managing staff; securing and negotiating contracts with vendors and suppliers; policies and compliance; organize training and professional development.

Chiropractors/Associates: You know better than anyone the kind of Chiropractor you want working in your clinic. Below you will find job posting samples for Chiropractor, Wellness Chiropractor and an Associate Chiropractor.

Other Healthcare Practitioners: Many Chiropractors join forces with other healthcare practitioners so that they can offer a full range of services to their patients. Examples include but are not limited to: Physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, athletic therapists, naturopaths and nutritionists.

2. Identifying Skills and Attributes

Based on the essential responsibilities of the job, identify the skills and qualities required to perform the role. You need to know what to look for when you hire. For example, if you are hiring a receptionist or assistant, responsibilities are customer focused. Therefore hiring someone with customer service experience and strong interpersonal skills is critical. If you are hiring a bookkeeper or accountant, you want to focus on previous experience and expertise in that area as well as being detail oriented and analytical. If you are hiring a health care practitioner (chiropractor or other), you want to focus on both technical expertise and interpersonal skills.

Chiropractors are in the business of helping people. Any accomplished chiropractor will agree that in order to build and sustain one’s practice, good customer service and building strong relationships with patients is essential. That is what often keeps people coming back – sometimes more than the treatment itself. It also leads to patient referrals.

How does this impact hiring? The people you hire are a direct reflection of you and your practice. In the corporate world, organizations hire for relevant skills and experience. You may think hiring someone who has worked in a chiropractic clinic before would be an ideal candidate, but this is not necessarily the case. A number of chiropractors were consulted when creating this resource and the strongest sentiment expressed was the importance of hiring people with strong interpersonal skills. In fact those surveyed said that their most successful hires were not individuals with previous health care or medical experience.  They were people who had worked in hotels, restaurants and retail; some with a social work background. What they all shared in common was a like for working with people, a desire to help others, a positive attitude and a warm, friendly demeanor. Most chiropractors agree that hard skills can be trained. What can’t be trained are the soft skills. Bottom line – when hiring support positions that interact with patients; look for attitude and customer service (i.e. soft skills). Evidence shows that the rest will follow. Of course in the case of hiring Chiropractors and/or other health care practitioners, you want to hire for both hard skills AND soft skills.

Hire the best ‘fit’ for your practice. Think about your values, vision and others who work at the clinic. Hiring someone who gets along well with other team members makes for a smooth transition and a harmonious workplace

Assessing hard skills and soft skills

Hard skills refers to one’s proficiency in a specific area or field. Whether you are hiring a chiropractor, registered massage therapist or other health care practitioner, you want to hire someone who is good at what they do. Hard skills can be evaluated by assessing their degree or diploma in the field, years of experience practicing, treatment success rate, feedback from patients and/or other practitioners, answers to specific questions such as “What treatment plan would you suggest for someone showing a particular set of symptoms?” and a practical assessment (have the person perform a treatment on you). You may not be certain whether a person is the right fit for your clinic until they start working and you see them in action.

Soft skills refer to attributes and personality traits that determine how well someone interacts with people. These may also be called interpersonal skills or people skills. Things like attitude, verbal and written communication skills and customer service are examples of soft skills. Soft skills can be evaluated in a number of ways – on the resume, on the telephone and face to face. Things to look for include:

  1. Service-oriented experience. When looking at a resume, look for experience that involves working with people and serving customers (ex. hospitality, retail, reception, social work, etc.)
  2. Tone of voice – is it friendly and professional? This will be revealed in the initial telephone call.
  3. Listens and communicates well (does the person listen to and answer the questions being asked)
  4. Conveys a desire to help others
  5. Questions about customer service such as “Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult customer”

A combination of the above should give you an indication of one’s soft skills. Of course you won’t know for certain whether a person is the right fit for your clinic until they start working and you see them in action.

3. Creating a Job Posting and Advertising

Job postings may vary in the amount of information provided. Depending on how you advertise, you may have a limited amount of space in which to write. As a general rule, the more information you can provide in a posting, the better. Key talking points include:

  • Essential job responsibilities
  • Attributes/qualities desired
  • Description of the clinic – ex. rehabilitation, sports injury, spa/wellness, etc.
  • Scope of services provided
  • Equipment provided – treatment rooms, tables, laser, ultrasound, etc.
  • Resources provided – assistant, receptionist, online calendar, etc.
  • Hours required – full-time, part-time, evenings, weekends, etc.
  • Payment arrangement – salary, split percentage of billings, partnership, etc. There is no right or wrong, but industry standard is to indicate the split percentage i.e. 60/40, 70/30, etc. on the posting. If rate of pay is hourly or salary, a figure is usually not provided, but rather the posting says “this is a full-time salary position.”
  • Bonus – is there a bonus plan in place?
  • Benefits – health benefits, discount on services, professional development/training, etc.
  • Contact information and instructions on how to apply

Sample Job Postings

Where to Post Jobs

Most Chiropractors experience great success advertising positions online. There are a number of free websites where you can post positions. These include the OCA MarketplaceCanadian ChiropractorKijijiCraig’s ListCMCCIndeed and Jobbank. Other avenues to consider include local newspaper advertisements and recruitment agencies.

4. Screening Resumes

You have advertised your posting and received numerous applications. Now begins the process of resume screening. The best way to start the screening process is to eliminate the resumes you don’t want to consider. Below is a list of potential ‘flags’ to watch out for on a resume.

  • Spelling mistakes: These mistakes can indicate the care and effort put into the resume, the person’s attention to detail and the quality of the person’s work. If there are mistakes on the resume, there will likely be mistakes on work related documents.
  • Gaps in employment: People may have gaps in between jobs on their resume. Gaps can occur for several reasons. These include being a stay-at-home parent, looking after an ill relative, illness, injury or disability, going to school, unemployment or travel. Gaps are not a guaranteed flag, but you want to consider how many there are and how long they are for. Numerous gaps might indicate that the person cannot hold a job for a steady period of time. Long gaps (5+ years) may indicate a decline in skills and speed. When someone has been out of the workforce for long periods of time (no matter what the reason), they may not transition back in very well. *Note that the message is to be mindful of gaps in employment, not dismiss someone because of them. One suggestion is to conduct a telephone interview where you can ask the person to explain them.
  • Overqualified: Some applicants may have more experience than what is required to perform the job. This isn’t always a negative thing. Like gaps in employment, this is something that can be explored in a telephone interview. That being said, reasons this has not worked in the past include:
    • Salary expectations are too high
    • The person eventually becomes demotivated and disengaged
    • Retention is difficult. The person leaves if/when they find an opportunity more aligned with their experience

Things you WANT to look for in a resume include:

  • Relevant experience (it may be important to you that the person has worked in a similar environment before)
  • Evidence of technical expertise (see section above Assessing technical expertise and soft skills)
  • Customer service experience and/or experience working with people (regardless of industry)
  • Duration of employment – people change jobs for several reasons and movement is to be expected.  That being said, you want to be wary of people who change jobs every 1-2 years. You want to hire someone who will stay – not someone who is likely to leave soon after joining.

Resume Screening Checklist

  1. Eliminate the resumes you are not going to consider.
  2. Create 2 piles of resumes: a YES pile and a MAYBE pile. It is good to have back-ups if the YES’s don’t pan out.
  3. Refer to best practices (above) to determine if a resume is YES, NO or MAYBE.
    • Flags such as spelling errors and typos are non-negotiable.
    • Flags such as gaps in employment warrant exploration, especially if the applicant has the skills and experience you are seeking.
    • In case of the above, call the applicant for a brief conversation to explain any reservations.
  4. Select the top resumes in your YES pile and contact them for a telephone or face to face interview. Keep the number manageable. 5 or 6 people is recommended to start.

5. Interviewing

Telephone interviews are a useful and time effective way to perform an initial interview. They can reveal a lot about a candidate such as their professionalism, communication skills and telephone demeanor. If you ask the right questions, they can also reveal a candidate’s skills, motivations and overall ‘fit’ for the position. Face to face interviews offer an added dimension and allow you to assess a person’s body language, maturity, professionalism, communication skills and ‘fit’ with the rest of the team. You do not need to do both, however it is recommended.

Interview techniques can differ depending on the person’s style. The two most popular ways to interview are through open ended questions and behavioral interviewing. Open ended questions allow the candidate to speak freely and select the information that he/she wants to share. For example, question such as “Tell me about yourself,” “Why are you interested in this position” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses” are open ended questions. Behavioral interviewing, on the other hand, asks for specific examples of something (situations, skills, abilities, problems, approaches, etc.). The premise of behavioral interviewing is that how one behaves in previous positions and situations will be indicative of how one will behave in the future. Behavioral questions always ask for an example. Questions such as “Tell me about a time when…,” “Can you describe a situation where…” and “Provide an example of…” are behavioral questions. What you should be looking for in the candidate’s response is a) a description of the situation; b) the problem, challenge or task at hand; c) the action or approach the person took; d) the end result.

There is not a single ‘best way’ to interview. Using a combination of open ended and behavioral questions is recommended as someone may be stronger in one method than another.

6. Reference Checks

Always conduct reference checks. It will validate your hiring decision or save you from making a mistake!

Reference checks are the final stage in the recruitment process and should not be undervalued. In most cases, checking references will validate the intuitive feeling you have about a particular candidate and their abilities to successfully perform the role. It confirms information you’ve received through the resume and interview, and it is an opportunity to hear the experience and perspective of someone who has worked closely with the person and observed his or her performance. On occasion, reference checks reveal that the candidate is NOT the right person for the job – the person may have lied about their education or had high absenteeism – in which case it is good you find that out now instead of after hiring the person! Good or bad, the process of checking references provides you with added information that helps you make an informed hiring decision.

Note: It is perfectly acceptable that a candidate may not want to give his or her current manager as a reference since he/she is still employed by them. In this case you can speak to previous employers. If the current employer is the only employer the candidate has had, you can make an offer of employment contingent upon a reference from that employer after the candidate has resigned.

Facebook and Linked In are additional tools that can be used to find out more about a person. It is natural to want to see what a person looks like – you hope to find someone that appears likeable and smiling in their pictures. You may also get more insight into a person by learning about their previous work experience or extracurricular interests. Perhaps someone worked overseas for a year or practices martial arts. This kind of information affords you a window into the person you are hiring and can be helpful in validating a good fit for your practice.

Note that consulting sites such as Facebook and other social media should be done with the objective of confirming your decision to hire, NOT looking for reasons not to hire.