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The best ways to find and hire qualified office staff

Recruiting staff

Do you struggle to find qualified office staff who are also a good fit for your practice?

It can be very difficult to figure out which methods are best for attracting the qualified job candidates you seek. Trial and error can be time consuming, and all too often results in a costly hiring mistake. Here are a few suggestions.

Look within

There are several advantages to looking to current staff for new assignments. You already know what skills they possess, and you’re familiar with their work habits; plus, they know the practice. Assuming the people you would consider are great workers, it’s already been determined they’re a fit for the organization.

In addition, upward mobility reflects positively on the practice. Furthermore, hiring from within is less costly than recruiting and hiring a new staff member.

Nevertheless, there are considerations. In order for current staff to succeed in a new role, is additional training required? If so, can the practice support the transition, from both a financial and time standpoint? For instance, a promotion to the coding department from general clerical staff might involve off-site training.

Would your internal job candidates welcome a new opportunity? Keep in mind that not everyone responds positively to the prospect of change. Don’t push someone into a supervisory role if they believe they will be happier doing billing data entry for another person in charge.

What about the positions left vacant? If the jobs are entry-level, they might be easier to fill than the current job opening or openings. On the other hand, if by creating internal movement you create openings in jobs that are highly specialized, you may be needlessly adding to your staffing challenges. For example, moving a clinical employee into administration might leave a spot difficult to fill.

External sources

When it’s time to turn to external sources to fill open positions, there are numerous choices. Yet, three stand out among the others. According to a CareerXroads study, these are three top sources of external hires:

  1. Employee referrals, 24.5 percent
  2. An employer’s own careers site, 23.4 percent
  3. Job boards, 18.1 percent

Additional external sources of hire include direct sources, colleges, rehires, social media, temporary workers who convert to hires, career fairs, and walk-ins, among others.

Let’s first take a look at the top three sources, and how you might use them.

Employee referrals

There’s a reason employee referrals account for almost one-fourth of all external hires. A member of your staff, who is presumably a terrific worker, highly recommends someone for a job. What could be a better way to hire?

Unfortunately, this method can have a downside as well, particularly in a small office environment. Hiring a staff member’s relative or close friend, for example, has the potential for problems and should be avoided.

Nevertheless, because referrals are a proven source, and less expensive than other recruiting methods, don’t let any initial concerns deter you. Establish referral guidelines (e.g., no relatives or close friends if yours is a small office), and of course carefully screen these job candidates as you would any others.

Your practice’s website

Many large employers have a full-blown careers site, which includes an array of information presented on multiple web pages, along with job listings. However, smaller employers often also have a careers site, although it usually consists of a single web page.

If your practice has a website but doesn’t have a careers site, you may want to consider creating one, especially if yours is a large to mid-size practice.

Today’s job seekers spend a lot of time online, and they research potential employers. A careers site, even a single page, will provide potential hires with information about open jobs – and, while at your website, they will learn more about the practice.

Don’t underestimate the value of driving job seekers to your website, where they can learn more about the practice. If when perusing your site they decide the practice isn’t a fit, they will self-select out of the application process, saving everyone time, and the practice the cost associated with additional candidate screening – or, worse, the cost associated with a bad hire.

Job boards

Job boards are another popular and successful source of hire. Of course the question is what job boards to use.

There are large, well-known job boards as well as niche job boards.

When it comes to niche job boards, take a look at industry-specific sites. However, you’ll want to check them out before you pay to post your open positions. Things to consider include number of jobs advertised, site traffic, and geographic region.

And speaking of geographic region, don’t overlook job boards aimed at specific areas of the country. Some of these are highly popular; but again, make sure you conduct a little research before you commit to advertising.

Finally, most newspapers have both a print and an online edition, and often you have the option of advertising jobs in both. Newspapers, print and digital, still have plenty of readers, many of whom are job seekers.

Other options

Two of the less popular sources might also be worth considering: temporary workers who convert to employees and rehires.

Today’s temporary workers include people with skills ranging from entry to executive level. In addition to providing a quick solution, a temporary work relationship offers another important advantage. It’s an opportunity for both parties to see if the relationship is a fit.

Rehiring someone who previously worked for the practice, on the other hand, has an advantage in that the person is already a fit for the practice. Or so it seems. Considerations with regard to rehires include length of time since the person last worked for the practice; if day-to-day operations have changed considerably, the former employee may no longer be a fit. Of course, it’s also important to revisit why the person initially left and determine if she or he is now able to commit to the job, at least for the foreseeable future.

Recruiting and hiring are not easy tasks. But by relying on proven sources, you can find the staff you need to keep your practice running smoothly.

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