The Vast Difference Between Medical Practice “Hiring” and “Talent Acquisition”

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

waiting to hireArrrgggh! There’s a staff position in your medical practice that needs to be filled pronto.

It doesn’t matter if the vacant chair is for a medical assistant, practice representative, healthcare marketing assistant, Physician Assistant or for clerical/reception duties…there’s a big difference between “hiring” and “talent acquisition.”

In our experience, the former is usually a bit of a “hope-for-the-best” game, and the odds of winning are not in your favor. On the other hand, the latter is a multi-step process—we call it a Talent Acquisition Guide—that effectively reduces risk and brings forward genuine talent for the practice.“Hiring” is usually a pain in so many ways. (No doubt you can relate.) Until you go through the tedious tasks of finding and sorting candidates, conducting first and second interviews, hiring, etc., office productivity crawls. While the office is short-handed (more than usual), everyone seems tense while trying to pick up the slack. You get the picture. Been there, done that. Arrrgggh!

Not to belabor the negative, but “hiring” can be a shot in the dark. You hold your breath and hope (perhaps pray) that the “new hire” somehow “works out” and is at least “adequate” to the task.

What you NEED is someone who is well qualified for the open position. But what you really want is much more than experience, education and training. In addition, you REALLY WANT qualifications that are not on the resume. You’re looking to hire someone who:

  • Personifies the brand qualities of the practice;
  • Is service minded and enjoys working with the public;
  • Can hit the ground running;
  • Wants to work and has a strong worth ethic;
  • Fits well with the office culture and as a team member;
  • Can interact comfortably with prospective and current patients;
  • Has leadership and growth potential;
  • Can think on their feet and solve problems;
  • Is able work with minimum supervision; and
  • Is “battle tested” and doesn’t become overwhelmed.

Using talent acquisition steps…

According to Zac Wright, our Staff Training Director, “Our talent acquisition system is effective because the application process itself challenges prospective applicants to follow instructions, find their own solutions, and demonstrate personal initiative.” It’s a process that brings out the best qualities in good prospects (and helps disqualify other prospects).

The Talent Acquisition Guide is a unique process, and Zac doesn’t want to reveal all of the magic that makes this work. But here are a few insights about how the system is different from conventional, and less effective, hiring approaches.

  • An open position is advertised in cost-effective, local media that is outside of the typical “job posting” spots. Among other things, this helps reach qualified working people, not just individuals who are searching.
  • Applicants receive specific and detailed instructions as to how to apply for the job. Individuals who don’t have the initiative to follow the process steps eliminate themselves from consideration.
  • In a subsequent step, Zac and his staff further screen candidates to save time for the medical practice. This helps identify the stronger prospects; individuals with talent and who present themselves professionally, can express themselves articulately, and can, without preparation, handle an on-the-spot task assignment.

There’s more to the entire system of course. Altogether, the Talent Acquisition Guide has eight to 10 steps that challenge the applicant to do a lot more than to simply submit a boilerplate resume. There’s nothing too difficult here, but the candidates that work through the process steps—and deserving an in-office, face-to-face interview—have already demonstrated their initiative and personal work qualities.

In healthcare marketing it is the quality and talent of the final candidates that makes the difference between simply “hiring” and “talent acquisition.” Offices that need to fill an existing position, or want to expand their practice, are able to hire with greater confidence that the prospect has the professional and personal skills to do the job and help the practice grow.


Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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