How Long Should it Take to the Fill CEO/Practice Administrator Positions in my Medical Practice?

How Long Should it Take to the Fill CEO/Practice Administrator Positions in my Medical Practice?

Hiring the wrong candidate can be detrimental to any business in many ways. Productivity decreases, employee morale suffers and there are financial consequences. After all, you are expending resources with virtually no ROI if you have to end up firing the person or they quit. The US Department of Labor reports the cost of a bad hire is equal to 30 percent of that employee’s potential first-year earnings. What’s the solution? Find the right candidate. Sounds easy, but it’s easier said than done. Finding the right candidate must be balanced with the fact that your office is also experiencing lost productivity each day that the job is open. “Take your time” is good advice, but how long is too long? A quick Google search will help you determine average times to fill CEO/practice administrator positions in medical practices.

How Long Should a Normal Search Take?

Healthcare is one of the hottest industries. Forbes reported that healthcare has added one million jobs since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010. The rest of the economy has seen a total of 7.7 million jobs added during the same period. Clearly, healthcare is contributing greatly to job growth. That’s great news for candidates entering the healthcare field. However, for medical practices it means you’ll have to dig a little deeper to find the perfect CEO or practice administrator.

Average length of vacancies vary. According to Healthcare Finance, healthcare jobs are vacant an average of 50 days. Otherresearch, puts the healthcare industry in general at around 38 days. Do a quick search of popular career websites and you’ll find thousands of postings nationally for medical practice managers and administrators that are over 30 days old, some as old as 54 days. While these numbers may indicate how long it takes small practices to fill open leadership roles, large practices seeking CEOs may spend six to nine months looking for the perfect replacement. Additionally, it may take extra time if you are looking for someone with specialty experience. For example, an ophthalmology practice may be looking for someone who has worked in that specialty before.

What You Should Look For?

So, we’ve established that it’s going to take some time to find the perfect administrator for your practice. The next step is to make sure you use that time wisely. Education and experience are the two criteria that most HR professionals focus on. However, go beyond those sections of the resume. Here are two critical soft skills to look for.

  1. Good communication skills. This doesn’t mean the person is a good talker. According to Forbes, “The number one thing great communicators have in common is they possess a heightened sense of situational and contextual awareness. The best communicators are great listeners and astute in their observations.” Assessing soft skills, like communication, is challenging. While there are a number of online personality assessments you can link the candidate to, the best assessment is your instinct. The first clue will come by simply evaluating their cover letter or introductory e-mail. Was it concise, well-written, error-free? However, a true sense of their communication aptitude comes during the interview. Ask viewpoint questions, ones that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. What are the biggest surprises, hardest decisions or most challenging choices they’ve had to make on the job? Simply asking them to tell you about themselves will speak volumes about how well they communicate. Take note of candidates that ask you questions. A good communicator will be at ease and know how to inquire about the job without being too pushy. Did he or she do their homework about your practice? Another good question is, “what did you like best about your current or past position?” Look for clear answers that are positive. You may also ask how many people they have managed in the past. The communication skills required to manage a staff of five will differ greatly from those needed to run a large-scale office.
  2. Attention to detail. Practice CEOs and administrators must be experts in operations and financial management, human resources, compliance management and patient care. They must be versatile, able to juggle many responsibilities and handle changing priorities. You can get an indication of their ability to multi-task and retain the attention to detail by looking closely at their job responsibilities in previous positions. When asked what they liked about their previous job, do they say they enjoyed the fast-pace, dynamic atmosphere or did they list chaos as what they didn’t like about their previous job? After all, they were the manager. So, if a “chaotic” atmosphere existed, they bear some of the blame.

Why You Can’t Measure Yourself by Averages

“Average time to fill” is a good place to start, however, no two practices are the same. They vary by size of the patient base, size of the staff, demography, geography, specialty and numerous other factors. Each medical office must start by assessing its own needs. Write a clear job description that will attract a candidate that is a good fit. Don’t just pull out the job description that was used previously. Healthcare is a dynamic industry, especially over the last five years. Roles have changed, as well as skill sets.  Shave time off the recruitment process by having a clearly defined process in place.

Advantage Administration Inc. specializes in healthcare consulting in niche specialties like ophthalmology, nephrology and oncology. Let our experts ensure your office is running as efficiently as possible through all its major transitions. Contact us to learn more.