Conducting interviews to round out your staff can be time-consuming. Traditionally, you ask general questions to uncover personality traits, transferable skills, and potential red flags. While this is the common interview method, it doesn’t necessarily give aesthetic provider candidates the opportunity to showcase their unique skills and abilities. For this reason, consider shifting your approach to give space for a richer consultative interview process. By doing so, you’ll more quickly find out who has the skills and characteristics to best contribute to the practice and its patients.
Cultivate the Right Candidates
While questions such as “Tell me about yourself?” and “Why do you want to join our team?” still have a place in the interview process, you must go beyond these basic inquiries to gauge candidates’ level of competency as it relates to clinical care. Rather than asking questions first and deciphering their implications later, take a more strategic approach and consider what you want to know about the providers before the interview gets underway. By framing interview questions and processes based on the fundamental job components listed below, you will be better equipped to decipher who the best fit for your team and culture is.
Patient care ideology. In the role of aesthetic provider, professional experience and training are paramount in influencing patient care. Knowing how a potential provider would approach patient assessment, concerns, care, and treatment is crucial. To uncover if candidates share the same approach to patient care as the practice, you should ask questions related to the qualities you seek. For instance:
- Determine if they truly have a thoughtful, consultative approach to patient care. “Do you use specific products for specific places when injecting? Which ones, where, and why?”
- Evaluate bedside manner to determine if they are informative and professional—or if they have considered the question at all. “How would your patients describe you and their time with you in treatment? What would you like them to say about you when recommending you to their friends and family?”
- Assess if they can keep pace with your office while giving patients the appropriate time and attention. “How many patients do you usually see in a busy day? How much time do you like to have in your schedule for a new patient consult? New patient toxin treatment? Repeat patient? New filler patient? Repeat?”
- Measure how committed they are to their own success and growth. “Is there any additional training (technique or area of the face) you would like to have that you believe would be beneficial to patients? What steps have you taken on your own to seek out training?”
- Gauge whether they are up to date on new and relevant techniques and procedures. “When browsing through our website and social media to prepare for this interview, was there anything that stood out to you? For example, was there anything missing from our menu of services that your patients have asked for in the past?”
Practical application. To get a better feel for how candidates would apply their professional knowledge and actually interact with patients, conduct a mock consult. Start by presenting a likely scenario, such as a consult for a woman in her 50s who has never had any aesthetic treatments. Show a picture of the hypothetical patient and ask relevant questions to assess candidates’ approach.
- Find out what they identify as areas of improvement. “If this were your patient, what do you see as areas of concern? Can you identify areas of opportunity, rather than possible treatments (e.g., brown spots, hollowing under the eyes, or sagging skin)?”
- Determine if the candidate focuses on symptoms or causes and if they assess using a systematic process (e.g., from top to bottom) or erratically. “Walk me through your non-surgical facial assessment for/with this patient.”
- Ascertain whether they focus on treating the patient’s concerns or if they recommend other treatments based on their professional opinion. “Assume the patient came in and only mentioned her smile lines. What treatment(s) would you recommend for her today, and what would that consult conversation sound like?”
- Gauge whether their treatments would change based on presumed patient finances. “Now assume you were treating her for free—how might your recommendations change?”
- Learn how capable they are in rescuing a patient relationship. “Let’s assume this patient is unhappy after treatment. How would you handle it? What would you do/say to retain the patient?”
Working style. If the above goes well, bring your promising candidate(s) into the clinic for a day to observe—and possibly perform—regular job duties. Your main provider should oversee these working interviews and observe a full consult led by your top applicants. This is an opportunity to sit-in on treatment (e.g., neurotoxin) and assess their skills with a real patient, as well as gauge their level of training and how they mesh with the existing team. Consider using a staff member or friend of the practice for this treatment/consult. During this stage of the interview process, you should be asking yourself the following questions about the applicants:
- Do they introduce themselves to the patient with a credentialing statement that explains their experience and expertise?
- Do they take a strong lead in the consult by asking pointed questions (e.g., “Rank your top 3 areas of concern”) or allow the patient to steer the conversation toward one area of concern?
- Do they recommend treating the symptom, or do they address the cause? For example, if the patient mentions crow’s feet, do they discuss only neurotoxin in that area, or do they also discuss aging and volume loss as a potential cause, then craft a solution?
- Do they utilize any tools in the consult (e.g., before-and-after photos or a mirror)? Consider taking this opportunity to show them what your practice traditionally uses and ask for feedback about how they might utilize these tools.
- Do they seem comfortable with uncovering additional needs and providing customized solutions on the spot (outside of the one or two concerns the patient mentioned when booking the appointment)?
- Do they partner with the patient to create an agreed-upon solution and treatment plan? Do they talk about post-care and next steps/treatment options?
- Do they handle concerns about safety, budget, and outcomes diplomatically?;
Professional commitment. Even if there is a candidate who checks all the qualities you are looking for in a provider, there is still a line of inquiry that needs to be addressed before extending an offer of employment: the provider’s future plans. Finding and interviewing eligible providers can take a while, so making sure you are hiring someone who envisions being with the practice for an extended period is prudent. To assess your top candidate’s level of commitment, ask the following questions to get at the heart of the matter.
- Discover whether the candidate’s future plans involve the practice. “Where do you see yourself in three to five years?”
- Gauge the candidate’s vision of a full-time position. “What does your ideal schedule look like?”
- Learn what drives the candidate’s dedication (base pay or meeting practice goals). “What motivates you? How do you like to be compensated?”
- Find out if the candidate is interested in growth/upward mobility within the practice. “In the future, would you consider taking on a leadership role?”
Grow a Healthy Partnership
Undoubtedly, it can be daunting to find a new provider to entrust with your reputation and patients. By asking thoughtful questions and digging deeper with consultation simulations and practical, hands-on experiences, you will be able to understand candidates’ tendencies and style better—as well as if they are a good fit for your practice. Use these same interview points to set the stage for your expectations regarding working style, attention to detail, and patient care. Hopefully, doing so will help you select and cultivate a provider who is ready to learn and grow within your practice for years to come.