It’s a Monday morning, and Smith & Associates Medical Practice is inundated with calls from patients with nagging coughs, sick kids, and suspicious looking growths. Of course, everyone wants an appointment this morning.
Jane started in her first job as a medical receptionist at the practice two months ago. It’s been a steep learning curve, becoming acquainted with the practice management systems, dealing with busy periods, and meeting some of the practice’s more interesting patients.
Amongst the other forty calls she’s already taken today, she receives a call from Tom. The conversation goes like this:
Jane: ABC Medical, would you mind holding for a moment?
Three minutes pass.
Jane: Ok, hi, are you still there?
Tom: It’s Tom here. I’m calling about the GP position you’re advertising.
Jane: Sorry, what?
Tom: The position you are advertising for a GP. I’m moving to the area soon, and…..
Jane cuts him off mid-sentence.
Jane: Sorry, I don’t know anything about that. The practice manager is only here on Wednesdays and Fridays. Can you call back then?
This is a conversation likely happening across Australia every day, and it’s a recruitment killer.
Decisions are made quickly, and where candidates have a lot of choice about where to go, they are fickle about any hesitation or minor inconveniences. Things need to move fast to happen.
In this example, it’s probably unlikely Tom will actually call back. It’s more likely that he will keep looking until he talks to somebody about a position he wants.
In my job, I’ve experienced this response hundreds of times when calling medical practices – even before I have said the conversation stopping words “I am a recruiter”.
The first call from a candidate for a position has the potential to make or break the possibility of successful recruitment. Staff who are not trained to take the first call are dangerous – and may completely quash any possibility of that person showing interest in your practice.
The solution is to embrace the notion that ‘Everyone Is A Recruiter’.
When I was in the Army, I was a member of the Psychology Corps. Not exactly the most battle-hardened, extreme job to say the least. Generally, the greatest risk was a nasty paper cut. That said, from the start of our training, we were told that everyone – no matter their role – is a soldier first. The general, the cook, the psych – ‘Everyone Is A Soldier’. Sure, some will be better at repelling an attack than others, but it’s something that comes out of necessity. And, they trained us with the basic skills to do it.
Likewise, everyone in an organisation needs to be ready, and trained to recruit.
As an employer, practice owner, or manager, there are some steps you can take to make sure your team is ready when it comes time to recruit.
Easy Stuff First
Make the contact number for the job application one that isn’t the main number of the practice. You don’t want a potential candidate to get lost in a sea of patient calls.
Provide a direct extension, and also an email address. Make it easy to contact the right person straight away. If you’re the contact person, and you are going to be away for more than a day or two, ask somebody else to take the responsibility of taking calls from candidates.
Tell all of the team that you’re recruiting. Email around, or print out some basic details of the position (like start date, pay, etc), so questions can be answered quickly and directly by anyone in the office.
If a team member does receive a call from a potential candidate, ensure they collect their full name and contact number. Call them back in under 24 hours.
Train Your Team
Even though you will have a dedicated contact person, it’s also likely that someone else might take the call, and they need to be ready for that. Develop a one-page training guide for new staff (including clinical staff) on taking a call from a potential recruit.
This guide might include answers to frequently asked questions about the practice, what questions to ask potential candidates (to screen them), and what details to get from them to move things forward. A well trained team member may also save a manager or owner time by screening out unsuitable candidates.
Spend an hour just once a year as a team revising the procedure for recruiting new staff members, and run mock phone calls or mini interviews to make staff comfortable with how to respond to candidates.
Consider undertaking external training or webinars on recruitment skills
Provide some incentive for team members who refer someone to a vacant position, or for doing a really great job in their initial contact with a candidate who subsequently gets a position. This can be as small as a lunch out, or a movie voucher, or even a cash reward.
These are some fairly simple tips to implement in your practice that have the possibility of radically improving your hit rate with potential candidates to your positions.
The consequence of an interaction like the one with ‘Tom’ is that he goes to work for the practice down the road. That lost opportunity may leave your practice unnecessarily without the staff member (and revenue) you need, and overall higher recruitment costs.
There’s only one chance at a first impression, especially over the phone. Make it count.
https://beathealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/iStock_000005784493Small.jpg575835Shaun Hughstonhttp://devsite.beathealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Beat-Health-Logo-PNG-copy-2-300x72.pngShaun Hughston2014-10-11 15:24:352016-04-15 07:51:05Why Everyone Is A Recruiter in Your Practice