Hiring an office manager is one of the most important tasks in any office setting. The process shouldn’t be too quick or hasty because an office manager can either ruin your business or make it one of the best. This is especially true in the medical setting. As a physician you won’t have time to do everything yourself. You have enough on your plate with the patients, appointments, and other essential responsibilities that require all of your attention and most of your time. Hiring an office manager can make your life as a doctor a lot easier or it can make it much more difficult to handle.
You’re going to need someone who understands you and what your business requires in order to achieve the maximum results and the best efficiency. This won’t be easy to find. Don’t rush into hiring the first person you meet because the decision might come back to haunt you. A patient needs to feel comfortable at their doctor’s office and this won’t just rely on the doctor but also on the office staff in general. You could be doing all you can for your patients only to find them leaving you because of problems your office manager created.
There are a lot of things to consider when hiring an office manager. First of all your main concern should be experience. Do you want someone with lots of experience or do you want someone who’s just starting? Then you have the issue of compensation. How much are you willing to pay? You should also have a clear idea in your head about what you expect and will require from the person you hire. Don’t start interviewing without a clear idea in mind because you’ll end up with someone who you will then realize isn’t what you’re looking for.
First of all let’s talk about job description and duties. An office manager at a clinic will have slightly different duties than one working in a business office. In fact working in a clinic may be more demanding and might require some extra effort because the setting is completely different. Working in an accounting firm and a law firm would almost be the same thing but this isn’t the case when it comes to working in a clinic.
The duties of your office manager will for starters of course include setting up patient appointments. This is something that can really destroy a doctor’s practice. I don’t want to wait for 3 hours to see my doctor regardless of how good he or she is. In fact this is one of the reasons I switched ophthalmologists. This is even more important in certain specialties such as pediatrics for example. Who would want to take their child to a clinic and wait for hours in a room full of other sick and crying children to see their doctor? Odds are if it was a routine visit or a minor issue, waiting for so long in a room full of sick children can make a healthy child sick too.
Another task would be to make sure the clinic has all the supplies it needs. This will include regular supplies found in any office such as staples, paper, and other desk items in addition to medical supplies such as cotton, tongue depressors, gloves, and others. An office manager will have to be alert and knowledgeable when it comes to medical supplies to make sure nothing runs out without being replaced.
It’s also a plus if you hire someone who can fix minor problems without adding to your plate. You need someone who is creative and quick on their feet. This will save you a lot of trouble and time. It will also increase patient satisfaction since problems are solved right away rather than having to wait for you to interfere.
These are all just some of the duties that will be required from the person you hire. You’ll need someone with certain traits and characteristics in order to fulfill them. Being organized is arguably the most important of these traits. For me, any employee should be organized and systematic in how they approach things or else they’re not good enough. To give a very small example, organization is the difference between a neat appointments schedule and a messy one. An organized person won’t make any mistakes and won’t have two patients coming in at the same time. A messy one will cause problems for writing down appointments in separate papers for example. This will also reflect poorly on you. Your personality is reflected on those you hire. An organized person can’t hire a messy one and if they do by accident the business relationship won’t last long. It’s very hard for an organized person to deal with a messy one because they like everything just right.
Another important characteristic is politeness and being respresentable. You need someone who welcomes your patients and makes them feel at home when they come to your clinic not someone who’s rude to them. You also need someone who dresses appropriately and knows what to say and how to act. These things matter and will boost the image of your practice.
Compensation is another point to think about. How much are you willing to pay? This will affect your choices when it comes to hiring. You could choose to save and hire an inexperienced person or you could splurge and hire someone who’s been doing the job for years. Hiring someone inexperienced isn’t necessarily bad. You could find out during the interview that they’re clever and fast learners. So you got yourself a gem and won’t spend too much on salaries. Of course an inexperienced hire could turn out to be disastrous especially considering that working in a medical setting can be more difficult than the average business setting.
An experienced hire is the safer option but isn’t completely fool proof. You could hire someone who has worked in a law firm for 10 years and be pretty satisfied with your choice only to find out they don’t know the first thing about running a clinic. So you got yourself an experienced person but things didn’t work out.
This is why the interview and selection process should be done really carefully. You never want to rush when it comes to hiring an office manager. First of all time your time finding applicants. Ask acquaintances and others who have office managers. It would be an even better idea to ask doctors because they’ll likely recommend someone who has a background working in a medical setting. You could also post a job listing on Craigslist or on any other social media website. You could also use LinkedIn. There are no shortage of ways to let the world know you’re looking to hire someone.
Have your interview questions carefully planned out. Prepare questions that test what they would do in certain situations. Basically you want to assess their personalities in order to see if they fit in your working model or not. Don’t rush into accepting any applicant just because they impress you. You might meet someone even better. Meet everyone then take all the time you need in order to choose who you’re going to hire.
This is a very important part of your practice. You need to do it right so you don’t end up having to let someone go because it’s just not working the way you want it to. Find someone who will do an amazing job representing you and will satisfy your patients and cater to their needs. A good office manager is someone who will make your life easier rather than more difficult. The perfect hire is someone who doesn’t interrupt you every few minutes with a problem, but rather someone who doesn’t create any problems and solves the ones that do arise without your interference.