Money Matters Practice Management The right face for your practice
The right face for your practice
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practice_mngmt3_TN.jpgThe receptionist is the first point of contact between your practice and your patients. As everybody knows, first impressions are lasting impressions. So how seriously do you take choosing the person that will influence each and every patient you see?

The basic requirements for a receptionist are simple - a good phone manner and clerical skills. However, when you are looking at a long-term investment, it is necessary to define all essential criteria.

  • Flexibility. Be sure that a candidate has full availability to work the required hours.
  • Cash and credit handling. Accuracy and efficiency in handling various payment types is necessary.
  • Confidentiality. Privacy is a key issue in practice management - ensure your receptionist is someone fully aware of and compliant with the requirements of confidentiality.
  • Keyboard skills. Fluency and competency in basic computing and typing skills is integral to maintaining efficient workflow. If you use specific programs, take into account the time required to bring an untrained operator up to speed.
  • Stress management. A practice is an environment that is often fraught with patient tension. Presenting a collected and reassuring front desk demeanour is essential to maintaining an orderly and professional atmosphere.

To actually hire new staff, it is important to consider whether to use a recruitment agency. In the short term, doing it yourself is the most cost-effective choice, but many practice managers underestimate the hidden costs. There may be over a hundred applications to carefully read before shortlisting for interview, and an agency will save you the time and effort of combing through them.

Structure the interview. Decide the 6-8 attributes or skills you want the applicant to have and score every candidate on each. Resumes are often misleading and effective interviewing is necessary to divine whether an applicant actually has the qualities you need. Be aware of which questions you cannot directly ask under discrimination laws.

Perhaps the most important aspect of hiring a receptionist is judging whether their personal qualities fit your practice. A successful candidate will need to fit both your clientele and other employees. It is your knowledge of the practice and your ability to judge people that will be the final arbiter.

Recruiting can be a tricky job, but a small amount of forethought can secure you a practice investment that is worth its weight in gold.