Step 1. Identify the gaps in your practice
Before you jump right into posting a job ad, you first need to identify the gaps in your practice that must be filled. Hiring without the need to hire may not be such a big problem in a big, lucrative practice, but it could potentially break a small practice or one that’s just starting up.
So how do you identify the need?
Presenting Issues or Problems
Does your practice cover most of the presenting issues that clients come to you for? If not, you may want to hire a practitioner specifically to cover this gap. For example, if your practice gets a lot of enquiries about child counselling and there is currently no practitioner who can or will see them, then it is a good idea to look for a child psychologist.
When hiring to fill a gap in the services provided, be sure to gather some data first. It is not the aim of every practice to offer every service type available. Identify the sought-after services first by:
- Measuring the enquiry volume about the services you don’t currently provide
- Considering the physical location of your practice and its specific needs based on the population (E.g. Are there lots of schools? Small businesses?)
- Gathering information from your referral sources such as GPs about the general needs of their patients.
Level of Experience
You might also need to hire for different levels of experience. Most allied health disciplines have different levels of career progression, and there are pros and cons of having different levels in your private practice.
Pros of having entry-level practitioners:
- Eagerness to learn and prove themselves
- No already established “bad” habits
- Lower wages
Pros of having experienced practitioners:
- Less need to train or supervise them
- Know-how and clinical skills
- Generally easier to “sell”
Not every practice needs to have practitioners of varying experience levels. Consider your needs and the needs of your clients before advertising specifically for level of experience.
One unique thing about private practice is that the practitioners often have to take on tasks that they may not elsewhere. These tasks include GP visits, marketing, writing blogs, and chasing payments.
While it’s possible to hire specifically for different types of tasks, most private practices don’t have the budget or need to do so. This means that sometimes there may be a gap in the skill sets that you may need to fill for business purposes.
For example, could your practice benefit from having a practitioner who can also visit GPs on behalf of your practice? How about a practitioner who is a good presenter for public speaking?
When hiring with non-clinical skill sets in mind, make sure to clearly state your needs in your job advertisement. Importantly, spend time to consider how many hours a week these other tasks may take, and how they can be compensated.
Client volume is perhaps the most obvious reason for hiring a new practitioner. If you have a long wait list or find yourself turning away a lot of clients due to lack of availability, then it may be time to find another person to service them.
However, while this seems obvious, you may first need to consider the types of appointments you generally get. For example, if the majority of your practice’s referrals are low-fee or bulk-billing, you may not be able to afford to pay a new practitioner to take on the overload. Depending on the specific circumstances of your practice, it may not make cash flow sense to hire a new practitioner.
Feedback from Your Current Team
Have your current team members been sharing any particular frustrations, difficulties or challenges? Whether it’s to do with their workload, client load or other issues that may arise, listen to your team’s feedback. If you determine that the issues can be resolved or lessened with an additional member in a way that benefits the current team, the practice and the new practitioner, then it’s probably time to hire!
Remember to keep your current team in mind as you progress through the recruitment preparation.