MGMA human resources expert details tips for practice leaders in the recruiting and hiring process

By MGMA staff members
July 26, 2017

Medical practice administrators need to work together with human resources staff members to achieve optimal organizational performance, especially when it comes to recruiting and hiring new talent.

Shelly Waggoner, MS, CEBS, SHRM-SCP, vice president, MGMA Human Resources, outlines in her August MGMA Connection magazine feature, “Keepers: How to retain and empower your best employees,” how engaging with employees can help administrators keep their best talent. But staff turnover, even with a strong employee retention strategy in place, will happen sooner or later.

Waggoner offers the following tips for medical practice administrators in leading their human resources staff through the recruitment and hiring process:

Job post messaging: Waggoner recommends finding “the right words in your job posting to attract those candidates that you’re really looking to hire as a cultural fit,” and to clearly describe the day-to-day responsibilities of the role. “The [clearer] we are, the better we’ll identify candidates at the front end.”


Job description: While the full range of duties for an employee at a medical practice may be lengthy, overwhelming a job description with an extensive “laundry list” of responsibilities is unnecessary, Waggoner says. Consider narrowing a job description to 10 or fewer responsibilities. Clear expectations from the start will help clarify which metrics can be tied to a performance management plan and outcome goals once a candidate is hired.


Staff involvement: Medical practice leaders can ensure buy-in from staff and a good cultural fit for a candidate by involving practice staff members in the recruiting and hiring process, “whether that’s just a simple meet-and-greet at the end of the process … or at the beginning of the process,” Waggoner says. Regardless of what level staff members are involved, practice leaders need to “set clear expectations” about who the ultimate decider is. “If you’re the decision-maker, you need to let them know … that you value their input.”


Organizational culture: Medical practices will have better long-term outcomes when hiring candidates that will be a good fit with their organizational culture, Waggoner says. She recommends discussing the culture of the practice before evaluating talent to have a better idea of how candidates would adopt or adapt to the unique culture of the organization.


Body language: Waggoner says that nonverbal communication represents a clear majority of all communication – while what is said during an interview is valuable, nonverbal communication can be a key method in making a candidate comfortable and engage with questions. “The more comfortable we can help make them, the more authentic they are in terms of their responses back to us,” Waggoner says.

To learn more about how culture, body language and other issues can help practice administrators optimize their organization’s performance, check out the featured session on emotional intelligence that Waggoner is leading at the 2017 MGMA Annual Conference, Oct. 8-11 in Anaheim, Calif.

MGMA staff members

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