Finding the Right Fit


Steps to hiring the right person for your private practice clinic.

By Arun Mallikarjunan*
March 2018

I am sure every business owner remembers the day when they had to hire somebody to keep up with an increase in customer inflow. It is a great feeling, one that I can personally attest to. I also remember the feeling of dread that quickly followed. I have to make sure the right candidates find me, then sift through the applicants and hire the right person. Finally, how do I make sure the new person is going to be as committed to helping my business as my current team? I don’t want someone good who will leave after we have spent a lot of energy training them.

As I became familiarized with the process, I realized how important it is to find the right person. Finding the right hire is number 2 on business impact among all human resources (HR) practices.1 Moreover, hiring the right candidate is not enough; the candidate needs to understand your business culture and has to love being a part of it. Otherwise you are looking at employee churn and all the headaches associated with it.

Here are some of the ways that I, as a technologist and a business owner, leveraged the latest technology and innovation to ensure I had an efficient system set up for bringing on new hires. The hiring process involves the following steps.

1. Getting the Right Candidates to Find You

2. Managing the Interview Process

3. Employee Onboarding

4. Candidate Tracking

Here are my recommendations for navigating through each step.

Getting the Right Candidates to Find You

For physical therapy practices, generally speaking, there are two different kinds of employees: health care providers and administrative staff. For health care providers, I suggest posting on the website for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), LinkedIn,, and university job boards like Handshake. You can post on others like Monster as well. For admin staff,, LinkedIn, and Handshake should suffice. You can also leverage your personal network to see if you can get any referrals. I reached out to my LinkedIn and Facebook networks to ask for recommendations. Avoid posting on Craigslist for administrative or clinical staff positions. Whatever channel you choose, I recommend that you promote your job posting so it comes up higher on search results, especially if you are trying to hire on a quick timeline.

Managing the Interview Process

Once you have posted your job, candidates will begin to apply. While it is easy to manage a small number of applicants, sometimes you get responses in huge numbers, especially for front desk positions.

To prevent wasting time interviewing a candidate that is not a good fit, create some filters to sift through the list of applicants. Consider basic qualities like candidate location (unless they are willing to relocate), qualifications, résumé clarity, and cover letter to filter out the first batch of applicants. Add the remaining pool to your candidate database.

Develop a method to organize your applicant database. We use a cloud-based tool (G Suite, Office 365, etc.) which includes a single document to keep track of all positions. The goal is to keep the process simple, yet objective. Some suggested column headings include: Name, Email, Phone, Location, Commute Distance, Résumé File Link, Qualifications, Special Qualifications, Current Position, Current Salary, Personality Compatibility, Notes, Score, Score – Employee 1, Score – Employee 2, Aggregate Score. You may customize column headings to suit your needs.

As I reach out to candidates, I use the way the candidates communicate to further narrow down the list in order to spend the most time interviewing only the best candidates. I fill out my comments for each candidate and assign a score for each at the end.

Provide opportunities for the candidate to talk to as many people at the office as possible. Involving your office folk in the hiring process has three advantages: (1) Your staff members feel more a part of the company, resulting in employee satisfaction; (2) they get to interact with a potential future employee and determine if that person is a good fit; and (3) this allows the candidate to see if they are a good fit for the company as well.

Employee Onboarding

Onboarding is considered a tedious process be it a small clinic or a big hospital system. In fact, surveys2 have dubbed it a “mind-numbing experience” that mostly involves filling out a lot of forms, reading up on policies, and watching videos. Onboarding is very important. It sets the tone of your business culture for an outsider. A long and drawn-out onboarding process and a hierarchical approach leads to employee churn down the line.

Consider the following tips to expedite the onboarding process. Once the candidate is hired, send them an electronic welcome packet that contains basic information about the company, its culture, etc. You can create forms that the candidate fills out online, which automatically get entered into your database.

Before the candidate’s first day, have a talk with your office staff and figure out who would be a good mentor. You can have more than one if the new employee’s job will overlap different parts of your company that have different practices or workflows. A mentor helps the new candidate feel at home. They know who to approach with questions as they navigate through their new responsibilities.

Studies have shown that a good onboarding process increases employee retention by 32 percent and performance by 11.5 percent.1 These are not small numbers so don’t skimp on this.

Candidate Tracking

Develop a consistent way to track candidates and monitor their performance within your company. As you perform this process, you will gather data about the attributes that best fit in your company’s team, the reasons employees are leaving your team, and warning signs that may identify a problem-hire early on. It is more efficient to identify these trends then to spend a lot of money hiring a new employee.


1,2. Sullivan, “Extreme Onboarding: How to Wow Your New Hires Rather Than Numb Them.” Linkedin Talent Blog, 15 July 2015. Accessed January 2018.

Arun Mallikarjunan is a serial entrepreneur located in Washington, DC. He comes from the tech world but has just started a new company called Symbiosis that aims to be the WeWork for health care providers. He can be reached at

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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