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Recruitment Tips for Hiring Admin Staff in Your Medical Practice

When you are looking to recruit a Practice Manager or medical administrative staff, the recruitment process is often time-consuming and stressful. In this blog article, Cheryl Ladikos, our Professional Education Manager, interviews external and internal recruitment specialists to uncover their tips to not only save you time and money, but also improve workplace efficiency and reduce turnover. 

If you are a small to medium medical practice owner who owns a specialist practice, day surgery, or private clinic, chances are that you would have or will need to hire staff to perform administrative or clinical duties. Your personnel will have different role titles which commonly include practice managers, medical receptionists, medical secretaries, medical administrators, and practice nurses. 

The term ‘recruitment’ is the hiring process which involves identifying, attracting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and onboarding employees. As any business owner would agree, it is crucial that staff members are hired not only on their knowledge, skills, and experience but also a good fit for the organisational culture, brand, and success of the business.  

Recruitment is a core function of the Human Resources (HR) department however this is generally non-existent in a small to medium sized medical practice. The sole responsibility lies on the practice owner, their spouse, or a practice manager and the process is often time-consuming and stressful. For new start-up practices, the recruitment process is even more daunting when there are no human resource policies and procedures in place. You need to start from scratch and develop protocols as the needs of the practice changes and grows.  


At Clinic to Cloud, we decided to reach out to external and internal resources to uncover their tips to not only save you time and money, but also improve workplace efficiency and reduce turnover. For this article, we interviewed Graham Howard, Director of Frontline Health Recruitment Group, as well as Clinic to Cloud’s Head of People of Culture, Belinda Carter. 

With a background in healthcare, sales, and over 10 years in various management roles, Graham strongly supports the view that for organisations to prosper, they must have the right people. Choosing a recruiter is a personal choice but it can save you time and money as they can assist in all stages of the recruitment process. A doctors’ time is precious and the thought of even drafting an advertisement, sifting through numerous resumes, and then conducting interviews is already a daunting task that the doctor does not have time for.  Graham says that “the role of a good recruiter is to work closely with candidates and clients alike to achieve the best outcome for all parties”. 

Whether you choose to conduct the recruitment process in-house or appoint a specialised recruiter in the healthcare industry, Graham advised the top seven tips for recruitment: 

  1. Identify and understand what you need. 
  2. Prepare the Job Description and person specification. 
  3. Devise a recruitment strategy. 
  4. Screen and shortlist candidates. 
  5. Conduct interviews. 
  6. Complete reference checks, contract, and offer. 
  7. Prepare an effective employee onboarding. 

You can download a comprehensive guide here, but we have also explored each one briefly with tips from our experts in recruitment, Graham and Belinda. 

1. Identify and understand what you need. 

Graham’s Tip: Ensure you have an in-depth understanding of the role you are hiring for to make the rest of the recruitment process easier and faster. 

Belinda’s Tip: Before you hire, think about the needs of the business, and work out if any of the tasks can be stopped, automated digitised, or outsourced. Then perform a skills gap analysis to work out the type of role you want to fill the gaps. 

2. Prepare the Job Description and person specification. 

Graham’s Tip: Once you identify the skills, knowledge, and experience gaps you need to fill, define the job role, responsibilities, and duties.  

Belinda’s Tip: Be crystal clear on the characteristics, competencies, and skills that will make someone a good fit for your team, culture, and environment. 

3. Devise a recruitment strategy. 

Graham’s Tip: Take the time to consider the most efficient and fastest way to secure talent.  This is where you should also decide if you are going to do the recruitment yourself, or, if you are already time poor - then you might want to consider outsourcing to a recruitment agency. 

Belinda’s Tip: Consider where your best recruits have come from for this role in the past (if applicable). Is it through internships or work experience, employee referrals, word of mouth, or through job advertisements? 

4. Screen and shortlist candidates 

Graham’s Tip: Separate resumes with the preferred credentials. Consider the applicant’s qualifications, experiences, certifications, domain and technical competencies, and skills. Candidates who have the minimum qualifications and required or preferred credentials will be shortlisted. 

Belinda’s Tip: Set time frames for you and any key stakeholders and working backwards can be helpful. For example, if you have a 4-week time frame, consider when you need to have shortlisted applicants by, when you need to have completed interviews by, and when you need to have an offer out to someone. Remember, most employees have a 2- to 4-week notice period with their current employer which may also delay their start date with you. 

5. Conduct interviews. 

Graham’s Tip: Good preparation is imperative to getting the most out of the meeting. Enter knowing what talking points are most important to cover, including highlights from their CV or application, their experience, and requisites for the role. 

Belinda’s Tip: Use a consistent approach to interviewing by using an interview template with key questions against the criteria, competencies, and person specification for the role. Behavioural based interviewing is also a great way to make sense of how a candidate will approach situations, problems, and tasks in the workplace. The STAR question methodology is simple and very effective. 

If you are unsure what questions to ask a potential candidate for a practice manager role, check out one of our previous blogs - 12 questions to ensure you hire the right practice manager 

6. Complete reference checks, contract, and offer. 

Graham’s Tip: Many employers miss this recruitment step, but its essential to check your candidates background to help make sure they are everything they claim to be. Hiring the wrong person can be costly. If everything is in order, you will need to draw up a contract of employment. 

Belinda’s Tip: You can include background checks into a condition of employment, which means that you can make the offer and include this into the employment arrangement based on the background check being completed according to the companies’ policies and satisfaction. 

7. Prepare an effective employee onboarding. 

Graham’s Tip: The final stage is employee onboarding. This is where you make the new employee settle in and feel part of the team. This also includes helping them understand their responsibilities and providing the necessary resources and training to help them learn.  

Belinda’s Tip: Taking a 3-step approach explain, then demonstrate, then have the employee show / demonstrate back to you to raise competence and confidence. Consider the virtual environment and onboarding in a virtual workplace. 

Remember, your candidate needs to be a good fit for your workplace culture, and this can make or break a business. Building a great culture in your medical practice takes time and effort, but it also needs to start with great leadership. 

When you hire the right people for your medical practice, it is important for you to retain your best employees. Without your people, your practice would not exist to operate efficiently. Therefore, make sure your employees are motivated and engaged in their role because in many cases, retention is just as important as recruitment for your medical practice success. 

For more information about the seven tips of recruiting, click here to download your free guide. If you would like to contact Graham about your recruitment needs, please email him at ghoward@frontlinehealth.com.au or call 1300 951 951. 

Ready to transform your medical practice?
Cheryl Ladikos
Cheryl is the Professional Education Manager at Clinic to Cloud and has over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare industry with 10 years’ experience as a Practice Manager for private specialist clinics. She has also worked in other areas ranging from hospitals, medical device sales, case management for Workers’ Compensation, and training roles. She has a passion for sharing knowledge, having an inclusive environment, solving problems, and ensuring that everyone adopts a growth mindset. As a Registered Nurse with a Master of Business Administration, she curates and delivers educational content which is both clinically and commercially driven.