6 Keys to Hiring the Right CA – Kim Klapp

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Hello, ChiroSecure viewers. And thank you for joining me today. Now, like so many of you, I’m a huge ChiroSecure fan. Not only do they sponsor these programs, but they also support with the profession in so many other generous ways. Obviously, as a client, you already know ChiroSecure has the best coverage hands down, but I also love their exceptional customer service and they’ve got just fabulous resources for their clients. So I cannot recommend them highly enough. It’s been rather crazy, wouldn’t you say lately? Yeah, absolutely. But I’ve also appreciated that you’ve chosen to watch. I’m Kim Klapp, founder of Assistants for Chiropractic Excellence. And for 25 years now, I’ve been managing Dr. Tom’s practice, my husband, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Go blue. And coaching CA’s since 2000. So with that experience in mind, if you have any questions, whether they’re on hiring, training, practice systems, just post them.

I’ll be happy to answer either during today’s show or afterwards. Now, like I mentioned, no doubt it has been absolutely crazy. Maybe your practice has been closed or remained open. Ours gratefully has, but you might be finding yourself needing to hire new staff. So that’s why today I decided to share with you my seven keys to hiring the right CA, because with 25 years experience it didn’t always start out that way. When I first started hiring, I promise you, I hired lots and lots of duds. And I want to keep you from doing that. But the first key, which should be a given, unfortunately isn’t. And that’s to value the role that CA’s play in your office and also to recognize how many more interactions they have with patients than the doctor has. They see the patient at the front desk. They deal with them on the phone, via text and email, during scans, you get the picture.

But Dr. Tom and I have determined that in order to maximize both your capacity in your practice and your collections in your practice, doctors should only do that which only a doctor can do. So since you’re going to need the delegate the rest, the value of the right CA with the right training is absolutely immeasurable. So what I’ve come to notice is, thank goodness, they ask for referrals on a daily basis. They build relationships with your new patients to result in longterm clients. They keep all of your patients on their recommended care schedule. They collect prepayments for care. They educate your clients about the critical role of chiropractic in health and healing. They create a positive experience for every single patient visit and maintain a positive environment in your office. And hopefully they maximize collections, both third-party and at the front desk, and so much more.

So that’s why I always say that CA’s really can be your practices greatest asset. So, once we’re clear on the value of the CA, the second key is to get clear on your vision of an ideal team member. So you need to take a moment to determine what that looks like. Create a list of team traits that are important to the success of your practice. As you can see, we’ve identified over 40 in ours. Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with hiring, but as with everything in your life and practice, the clearer your vision, the easier it is for you to attract what you want. Also, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, slow to hire quick to fire. Well, a ton of hiring mistakes get made when you’re desperate for a new employee. So don’t settle. That’s just a waste of time and money. Just keep focusing on what you want in a team member.

Now, the third key is to utilize expectation management. And that’s critical in any successful relationship. So expectation management is simply letting someone know upfront what to expect, and then delivering. It’s kind of like using a turn signal when you’re driving to let other drivers know that you’re going to be changing lanes. But when you utilize expectation management with your team members, that leads to higher job satisfaction, and higher job satisfaction increases productivity and decreases staff turnover. So how do you incorporate expectation management with your team? Well, a good place to start is with a detailed job description. Because if you hire a CA and you tell that person that they’re going to be paid to do duties A, B, and C, but then later you add to their job description duties, D, E, and F, without changing their pay, it causes a tremendous problem.

And this one issue is often the foundation for everything from resentment, to poor attitude, poor performance, or even having that employee rationalize theft because they’re compensating for the unfairness of what’s going on in their job and with their pay. So get clear on all the position duties ahead of time. And we like to give our prospective employees a full description of the duties, that way it avoids the perception that we’re adding on jobs later. It’s a lot easier to do if you have your checklist already in your practice, and hopefully you do, that’s a basic office system, for your daily, weekly, monthly, and annual duties. That makes communicating the position expectations incredibly easy.

Now, this month’s CA Excellent Coaching Course is on office systems. And if you need help, it includes all of our CA duty checklists among a gillion other resources. Now, another way that you can incorporate expectation management is by formulating clear personnel policies. That way your team members understand what’s expected of them. And make sure to include both positive and negative consequences for their actions so they can choose to comply.

Unfortunately, the most frequent calls that I get relate to a problem that a doctor or a team leader has with the CA. The vast majority of the problems could have been prevented from having clear personnel policies and adhering to them. And I’m always shocked when I hear, “This is the 12th time my CA has been late.” I’m thinking 12, how in the world did you get to 12? So make sure that your personnel policy lists the behaviors that are unacceptable in your practice, along with the consequences. So, for example, in our practice, our personnel policy violations result first in a verbal warning, then a written warning and three written warnings are grounds for dismissal. Of course, your personnel policy should also list those behaviors that are caused for immediate dismissal. The ones that you don’t get a second chance on. But it’s also important for you to have a computer and communications policy, because you’ll need to outline your email use, computer use, social media, et cetera.

And then when you give an employee a key for your office, make sure to have a specific office key policy that they sign. But all these personnel policies are also included in this month’s ACE course on office systems. Now, of course, make sure you have those HIPAA privacy and security manuals and your training in place. Plus, if you bill Medicare, you also need to have a fraud, waste and abuse compliance policy as well. Make sure you’d have those I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Now, if for some reason you don’t have those policy and procedure manuals, you can get the HIPAA ones, the fraud, waste and abuse manuals. They’re actually completely customized for your office, if you go to my website, chiropracticassistants.com. So here you can see a quick shot. But once you gain clarity, and you have your policies in place, at that point, you’re ready to advertise online for a CA.

Now, when it comes to the classified ad, I recommend hiring for characteristics and basic skills. The rest is trainable. Trust me, that’s exactly what I do. But the fourth key then is to create an amazingly effective ad. So here are some components of what I find works extremely well. First of all, determine a positive adjective that identifies your practice. And notice I say positive, because fast paced is a much more positive adjective than busy. Most people don’t want to be busy. And someone who doesn’t want to be in a fast paced environment is not anybody we’d want in our office. Also demanding, not positive. So take a moment and consider what sounds attractive when you’re choosing an adjective. And lately, essential is becoming quite the positive adjective. Also, I recommend listing chiropractic in the ad. That’s really important I find in order to automatically rule out any closed-minded, solely medically oriented applicants. Obviously, we don’t want to add those people to our team because our goal is to find a perfect match.

Also, I like to specify we’ll train, because like I mentioned, there’s truly not any specifically appropriate experience necessary, just those appropriate qualities. And then with that in mind, you’ll also want to list the most important qualities that you are looking for. Again, back to that ideal team member list. So for example, one of the qualities that I list in my ad is detail oriented, because that is critical for a chiropractic assistant. Otherwise, you’re going to have constant errors and mishaps in your practice. Plus, detail orientation is not something that I’ve been able to figure out how to train on. And trust me, I’ve tried for 25 years, because I’m married to a big vision person who is pretty much atrocious at handling the details. But that aside, your classified ad should lay the foundation of what qualities that you prize in a chiropractic assistant.

Alrighty. I’ve also found it beneficial to include the starting hourly wage. That way the candidate who are looking for more, aren’t going to waste their time and yours. Those that actually do apply for the listed pay rate are more likely to be very satisfied with your pay scale, rather than merely accepting the position and continuing to look elsewhere for more money. And lastly, I recommend that you instruct candidates to apply in person, that way our office isn’t bombarded with phone calls that take your focus away from your patients or with a bunch of emails. And because our applicants need to complete a brief clerical test along with their application, having them apply in person ensures that they don’t receive any assistance with that clerical test. After all, it makes no sense at all to waste your time interviewing somebody who fails the clerical test.

So make sure you’re utilizing a test upfront to screen out applicants. You don’t want to interview someone who doesn’t have the basic skills. Also, having them come to the office in person is going to help you form a first impression. For example, someone who comes straight from the gym doesn’t have that professional judgment that personally I would want. Now, the fifth key is to have a comprehensive employment application. And what I mean by that is just to make sure that your application covers all the basics, the contact information, their student status. The reason that’s important is because students typically make school a priority over their job.

You want to find out their highest level of education completed, their current employment status, if they have reliable transportation, if they’re looking for fuller part-time work, what hours they’re available, what date they would be available to start work at your practice. Plus, their prior employment, including references, computer and software experience, office skills, you name it. Now, [inaudible 00:12:12] position and application, even though we don’t do much physical filing anymore, but both of which require an attention to detail that’s essential for accuracy in many of the CA duties.

So I highly recommend that you rule out candidates with any errors. Keep in mind, when someone’s actually applying for a job they’re trying their best with their full concentration. So imagine the errors that they’d make when juggling patients, the phone and the other duties at the front desk. So we also, as you can say, list a few open ended questions in order to gauge their written communication skills and determine their current understanding of chiropractic. Or at least find out if they’re resourceful enough to look around the office or on their phone for help about some basic information on our profession. Now, the sixth key in the hiring process is an amazing group interview. And I find that a comprehensive group interview format takes just 45 minutes, but it saves you time from repeating the same basic information over and over on an individual basis. After all, time is your only nonrenewable resource.

So I typically schedule a maximum of 12 applicants per group. And of those, usually eight to 10 will show up. And I create a list in advance of the applicants who have confirmed in each time slot. Then I ask my front desk CA to indicate on the list, what time that that applicant actually shows up, because in my world, latecomers but do not have a chance of being hired. But then make sure to introduce yourself individually to each applicant. Gauge their handshake, their eye contact, their facial expression, since that’s what your patients would encounter from them. So you want to also start out by managing their expectations about the group interview format, and also explain what you’re looking for. Ascertain how well they fit the characteristics that you listed in your ad. And then you want to explain chiropractic obviously and gauge their interest.

I also, at that point, let them know that being a chiropractic client is an employee requirement and why. But then you want to manage their expectations regarding the hour requirements, pay and benefits. Plus, don’t forget to mention the intrinsic rewards, which are quite substantial. And after those details, you’re going to spend the most time explaining the position requirements, including the training process and all it entails. Afterwards, you want to field questions and determine how closely each applicant comes to matching your ideal team member.

Now, there’s actually 10 steps to my group interview, and I cover that in more, in great detail, in my how to hire, train, and keep great CA’s package. But before you end the group interview, make sure to manage their expectations about what comes next. In other words, when you intend to contact them to schedule the individual interviews. Now personally, I also explain that I’m not going to call anyone who I don’t want to meet with again. And I ask them to contact us unless they have a change in phone number or email.

Again, time is important. I don’t like mine wasted. So at this point, you want to utilize all the information from their application. Plus, what you’ve been able to ascertain during the group interview. Their energy level, their eye contact, their verbal communication, confidence, professionalism, attitude, et cetera. That way you can determine who you want to invest time with for an individual followup interview. And during the one-on-one interview, you want to make sure to clarify any application issues, check their understanding from the information you gave out during the group portion, and then ask further questions to identify a good fit for your practice. Make sure to find out about their goals, their longterm plans, and possibly how they describe their interaction with previous coworkers. I often ask, what would your coworkers from Macy’s say that is the best thing about working with you? And what about the worst?

Anyway, the last key, the seventh, is to have your existing team members meet with the applicant and get their feedback. So everybody else on your team, you want to get their input, because if your team doesn’t think that that new hire would be a good fit, I promise you, they won’t be. Now, before offering a position. You want to make sure to carefully check out the applicants references, plus their Office of Inspector General Fraud status, if you’re a Medicare biller, or I’m sorry, provider. You also want to take a look at their social media profiles and possibly their credit history, depending on the job they’re interviewing for. But keep in mind, there are a ton of opportunities throughout the application and the interview process for red flags. And most doctors and office managers overlook those. So my gift to you is for you to learn how to avoid the 15 biggest hiring mistakes.

So here’s free access to my 10 minute video. All you need to do to get that is go to chiropracticassistants.com/mistakes. And you can do that anytime before the end of the month. But speaking of gifts, to help ease your practice stress, that seems a lot of us are going through. Every ACE member this month gets to choose a free gift, valued up to $500. So you get to choose my comprehensive hiring package, the lifeline basic training for new CAs, or my newly revised 300 page office systems reference guide.

If you have any questions, just add them to the comments and I’ll be happy to respond later today. And if I can help you in any way, please visit my website, chiropracticassistants.com, and you can either click or call to email me directly. I would love to help your team reach higher levels of excellence. And thank you again to ChiroSecure. I love that you provide this forum to increase chiropractic success. Your host next week will be the amazing Dr. Sherry McAllister from the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. So be sure to watch it.


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