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Build your hiring muscles through advanced hiring techniques

Hiring is a critical task for every medical office manager, yet sometimes it may seem hard or nearly impossible to find, screen and hire great employees.

That needn’t be the case, according to Paul Edwards, CEO and co-founder of CEDR HR Solutions of Tucson, AZ.

He says the average cost of employee turnover runs between 50 percent and 200 percent of an employee’s annual salary, and can soar to 400 percent if office managers and practice administrators leave their jobs and need to be replaced.

That’s why it’s so important to hire the right people. And that begins with what Edwards calls a Strategic Attraction Plan—a list of the things you want from the person you are hiring.

You might want a forward thinker; a person committed to personal development; or someone who is enthusiastic about his or her job.

Michele Oliver, CEDR HR’s hiring manager and HR advisor, says having a Strategic Attraction Plan in place helps employers know the kind of people they are looking for and identify them as they move through the interview process.

When you are getting ready to hire, you will need to craft a solid job description. Oliver says you need to understand whether the position is going to be exempt (excluded from minimum wage, overtime regulations and other rights afforded non-exempt employees) or non-exempt (where workers must be paid at least minimum hourly wage and given overtime pay of not less than 1.5 times their hourly wage beyond a 40-hour working week.)

Most employees other than managers fall into the non-exempt category.

The job description should also include any physical requirements, such as lifting; duties and key functions of the position; and education and experience, along with any certification/or license requirements.

Next, create a job ad, which Oliver says must list all job requirements and accurately reflect the type of applicant you need to attract.

The ad should include the position’s pay rate or pay range (based on experience) and any benefits provided.

“In your job ad, make some specific requests. You’re going to find out if they can follow direction and you’re going to find out how interested they are,” she says.

For example, the job ad should request a cover letter requiring applicants to answer a question, such as: Can you describe at least one situation in which a patient was upset or angry and how you handled it? This example should demonstrate how you were able to turn a bad situation into a positive experience for the patient.

Once you have received a number of resumes and cover letters, make time to sit down and evaluate each one.

“Did they send the cover letter like you asked them to? How is their cover letter? Is their spelling OK? What’s their grammar like? Did they use any inappropriate language? Are there large gaps in their employment history? Are they a job-hopper?”

Once you’ve whittled your pile of resumes into 10 or so strong possibilities, it’s phone screening time.

Call the person and ask if it’s a good time to talk. If it isn’t, schedule a mutually suitable time.

Oliver advises asking the same questions of everyone. What brings you to the job market? What interests you in this job? Explain the position and expectations and ask: ‘Are you still interested in this role?'”

If the answer is yes, then ask the applicant to tell you three skills that makes him or her right for the job.

Also ask the applicant how soon he or she is available to start working if offered the position.

If the phone interview goes well, set up a face-to-face interview time. If the interview flops, tell that person that you just started calling applicants and you will either call back to schedule a face-to-face interview or send an email letting that person know that you are going in another direction.

The face-to-face interview should include questions designed to determine whether the person has the right skills for the job. Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.

Questions might include: What advice would you have for your previous boss? If I were to hire you for this job and I granted you three promises with regard to working here, what would they be? Pretend you are the owner of this office. What three concerns about the office’s future keep you up at night?

Never ask questions relating to an applicant’s political or religious affiliations, age, marital or parental status, or lifestyle habits.

The interview should also include a skills-testing component. For example, a nurse-practitioner applicant might be shown a fake patient chart and asked what they would pay attention to before, during and after seeing the patient.

Pick your top three candidates and offer the position to the top person. Send a formal offer letter and a background check release form to that person. Hire a professional background checking company to conduct the check and do not let the person start working until the results in are your hand.

Do not decline the others until the top person has formally accepted the position. Encourage other strong candidates to continue to apply for other job openings in your office.

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