Hiring Right the First Time

Hiring Right the First Time

Author: Anonym/Thursday, January 21, 2016/Categories: June/July 2015

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By Amanda Donohue

HIRING THE RIGHT STAFF MAKES A BIG IMPACT on maintaining an efficient and productive practice. Complying with the ever-changing rules and regulations of health care has the potential to take time away from patient care. This is why it’s crucial to hire employees who are knowledgeable or who are quick to learn and most important, who genuinely appreciate the value of chiropractic. 

A chiropractic clinic staff is typically made up of front desk specialists, office managers, certified chiropractic clinical assistants and billing specialists. Each position requires different personality traits and skill sets. For example, you would seek someone who is outgoing and lively for the front desk and someone detail-oriented for a billing specialist position.

A chiropractic assistant (CA) is your first hire. “But as your practice grows, you hire more people for different roles so that all you’re doing is adjusting; working with patients,” says Mark Sanna, DC, CEO of Breakthrough Coaching. 

Dr. Sanna stresses the importance of having an interview process in place for those times when you’re in need of more help because of an influx of patients or if an employee leaves unexpectedly, for example. His system, “the art of hiring,” begins with the doctor of chiropractic (DC) writing down the personality/qualities being sought, the hours expected from the new staff member, specific knowledge and skills required for the role and whether or not experience is needed.

Where to Look

Once this information is known, the DC can put an advertisement on Craigslist and Monster.com among many other visible online websites. (See Box, Job Postings). “I always tell DCs before they put an ad up that they may already have someone under their nose,” Dr. Sanna says. “Your best candidates could be your patients – they have had chiropractic experiences, and they know what’s going on in the office.”

To maximize exposure to your advertisement, post it on multiple online sources and make sure the advertisement is catchy and reflects everything you need from a new addition to your team. Within the advertisement, remember to request a résumé and weed out the ones with poor spelling, grammar or punctuation, as this already shows a lack of attention to detail.

Dr. Jay Greenstein, owner of the Sport and Spine companies, hires a part-time recruiter to operate within the application Hireology, a cloudbased platform that helps professionals through every step of the recruiting and hiring process. This includes résumé collection, scripted interviews, a grading process and verification tools, such as retrieval of references.

The Interview Process

Upon résumé collection, “sort them out by A, B and C, where A means they have a great résumé and experience, B means they’re not exactly what you’re looking for but have potential and C – didn’t make the cut,” Dr. Sanna says. “Contact the candidates from the A-list, and set up a phone interview and listen closely to their phone etiquette,” he says. You can learn if they naturally know how to handle phone calls in a professional manner, whether that be answering promptly or introducing formally.

Invite the successful phone interviewees in for a group in-person interview — a maximum of 15 candidates — and grade them while they stand up, introduce themselves, share a fact about themselves and then select the next speaker, to see how they interact with others, Dr. Sanna suggests.

Invite the hiring DC, the office manager and/or another member of the team to this group interview to get maximum feedback, as they may see something you don’t.

After hearing everyone’s thoughts on the candidates, select your finalists for individual, in-person interviews. “Look at their verbal and nonverbal cues: Are they poised? Can they solve a question they may not know the answer to? Do they have good body language? Are they leaning in? Or do they have their arms folded, or are they leaning back?” says Dr. Sanna.

“Finding the right staff person is not solely about their technical skills; the most important thing to know is whether or not their values align with the owner’s values,” says Dr. Greenstein. “A good hire stays because they believe in the culture of the clinic,” he says.

Digging Deeper

It is important that the interviewer ask the candidates what hours they can work and if they have any responsibilities that may interfere with the hours. “It is never appropriate to ask about someone’s children or if they have a babysitter available, say, if the employee needs to work late,” says Dr. Sanna.

After getting to know the candidate, test the potential employee in some form, whether using a skills test, typing test or a performance assessment. Dr. Sanna suggests using the “Hiring MRI,” a simple 15-minute online exercise that will reveal your candidates’ core strengths and talents, areas of development, how they think and how they perform.

Jeff Henderson, founder of DCHiringPro, explains that the results from the Hiring MRI are available through a number of different reports, depending on the job role. “The three reports chosen by chiropractic offices have been manager and associates reports, general hire reports (e.g., front office staff, CA, billing specialist) and a sales report for people who they hire to market or sell the business,” he says. “Doctors love that the reports are about four to five pages long, and with each one, I will schedule a personal live consultation to tell them all about their candidate, what they can expect and help them with their decision.”

Once the candidate passes all of the hiring tests, ask for three to four references. Upon contacting the references, “Listen to what’s not being said. People are afraid to give a bad reference. So the best question to ask is: Would you hire this person again?” says Dr. Sanna.

Dr. Sanna also suggests researching the names and companies of the references given. “Google the reference, and make sure they really work where the applicant says they work,” he says.

Once everything checks out, hire the finalist on a trial basis. “Hire them for a day at an hourly rate to see how they do on the job, and if they do well, hire them for the long term,” advises Dr. Sanna. To figure out proper compensation for your new employee, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. (See Box, Compensation). Remember to look at wages by area and occupation, as wages and salary differ widely across locations.

While hiring appears to be a lengthy process, when done right, a DC will find a qualified candidate able to keep up with the competencies of a chiropractic clinic and one who firmly believes in the value of chiropractic and the values of your practice. Ultimately, this will prevent the cost, headache and hassle of unwanted turnover and allow you to keep doing what you do best: patient care.

Job Postings


(www.acatoday.org/careercenter) You can also refer to NCMIC’s page that takes you to the classified page of every chiropractic college and state association: www.ncmic.com/prc/online-resources/chiropracticpositions-practices-and-classifieds.aspx.


check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to find statewide and national salaries and wages, and see the 17th Annual Salary & Expense Survey provided by Chiropractic Economics in 2014. Visit www.chiroeco.com/joomla/images/stories/ salaryexpensesurvey2014.pdf 


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