Hiring the Right Healing Professionals

By Allie Hembree Martin

There’s an art to building a good team of healing professionals.  As in sports, the right recruit will strengthen your team and your business.  The wrong choice will upset the team’s balance and might lead to a losing streak.  I asked Hutchinson Consulting Partner Kristine Huffman for tips on how to pick the right provider for a winning hospitality team.

AHM: What’s most important to you when you’re looking to hire healing professionals?

KH: To me, being able to read someone’s energy is the most important part of the hiring process.  It’s a skill, and it’s one I have really developed over time.  When I interview someone I want to know, what does their energy feel like when you are in their presence? I really had to learn to trust my intuition here, as it will simply be a feeling you have about a person. You want to notice if the person makes you feel calm and positive, or they make you anxious or sluggish. These are all signs you need to pay attention to.

Another area that can tell you a lot about a candidate is their level of excitement and responsiveness. When you reached out for an interview, did they return your phone call quickly? Did they send a thank you email after the interview? How they act in the interview process and how excited they are about the job is a good indicator of how they will function as an employee.

I actually am less concerned about particular skills listed on resumes. I have found that if you find the right person for the team, but they don’t have all the expertise, they will be eager to learn what’s necessary. I would recommend finding the right fit and if that person need a few courses to get to the level you want them to be at, they can learn.

At Hutchinson we like to use behavioral interview questions as we go through the hiring process. For instance, I may ask, “Tell me about a time when you were a part of team.” The candidate will answer with a specific example and then I ask follow-up questions to really get a sense if that person will jive with the other personalities already on the team. There is an art to building a good team. You don’t want everyone to be the same, you want a variety of personalities that all balance together. You need someone who is going to run the team, but you also need someone who is going to make sure that everyone has the shoes they need to run in.

AHM: What mistakes do people often make in hiring?

KH: The most common mistake I see when leaders hire professional healers is, they don’t think about the candidates’ ability to sell. There seem to be two types of candidates: the first is a healing professional who has quality skills but also understands how to be an entrepreneur. They will be excited about building up their own business, comfortable with the notion of sales, and they will own a sense of responsibility in helping fill their schedule. The other type may be an amazing healer, but they put all business responsibilities on the leaders. They will rely on the leaders to bring in their appointments and won’t be excited about helping the business grow. This person may have exceptional healing skills, but doesn’t belong in your organization, because they won’t help you grow the business. I’ve even seen this type of individual become angry and resentful, especially if they work on commission.

Being able to distinguish between these two types is crucial. I know so many owners and operators who in the interview process rely too heavily on only the experience they receive when getting a hands-on treatment from a candidate. By this standard, yes, a candidate may wow you with their healing ability.  But you don’t learn anything about their sales ability and their desire to help build the business and help it succeed.

Another very common mistake is not checking references, or just checking with former employers.  Check with former clients, check a candidate’s online presence. It is important to look at Facebook, LinkedIn, somebody’s personal website, to see what message they are sharing with the world.  Along with a client reference, I try to get references from former peers, former managers, and former employees they’ve managed. Collectively, this gives you a better impression of what the person is like.

Our employer clients do not always want us to do reference checks, but when they do ask us, Hutchinson Consulting really digs into references when we are placing a candidate. We interview the employer first, actually, asking all the questions we need to determine what type of environment is present in the workplace, what the team the prospective health professional would be joining is like. Then we can vet candidates by asking questions specific to that environment, not just generic questions. We weed out everyone who’s not going to be a good fit and we present the employer with the best options. Because we do this leg work, we are able to save the owner and operator a lot of time and energy in the long run.

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