Showcasing Your Value to Clinic Owners
The vast majority of new healthcare practitioner graduates will launch their clinical practice as an employee or associate at an established clinic. One of the most challenging aspects of this process is finding the right clinic location and securing an employment relationship with the clinic owner that aligns with both your clinical and business objectives. In my experience however, most new graduates are underprepared for discussions with clinic owners and often forget to showcase the value they bring to the table as a new practitioner to the clinic.
Over the years, I have interviewed many new healthcare practitioners who were genuinely excited to start their careers. I see the interview as a critical moment to assess not only the practitioner’s clinical competency, but also to measure their willingness to promote their clinical expertise to potential patients and build a thriving practice. For the new graduate, it's also a prime opportunity to gather valuable information as part of their due diligence to determine if the clinic is the right fit for them. Two of the biggest mistakes I often see during these interviews are a lack of interview preparation as well as a failure to highlight the value that they would bring to the clinic if they were to be hired.
In my previous blog article on performing your due diligence, we talked about the importance of gathering as much information about the clinic as possible. You want to understand the clinic inside and out, both from past performance, as well as the future direction the owner/clinic director wants to take the take business. Committing to an associateship or employment opportunity is one of the most important decisions you will make as you graduate from school, therefore it’s imperative that you make this decision fully informed and with as much insight as you can possibly obtain.
By the time you get to the interview, you should already have a solid understanding of all of the current and recent practitioners working there, the types of services and treatment options being offered, the patient segment the clinic targets, and the market in which the clinic operates. Most, if not all of this information can be gathered from the job posting, the clinic’s website, and their social media channels. From there, you will be better equipped to develop a list of questions you need to ask the clinic owner in the interview. What is the goal of hiring another practitioner? What are the short and long-term goals of the clinic? What marketing initiatives does the clinic employ for their practitioners? How are new patients distributed amongst the practitioners? Theses are just a few examples of the many questions you should consider asking. When developing your list of questions, think about YOUR clinical and business objectives and structure the conversation accordingly. This will not only allow you to gather the information you need efficiently, but it will demonstrate to the clinic owner that you are serious about the opportunity and want to succeed in practice.
In our last Business Essentials seminar in Toronto, we performed a break-out exercise where we role-played a new graduate interviewing for an associate position with a clinic owner. I provided each person with an overview of the scenario as well as details about their negotiation goals that the other party may or may not be aware of. As I walked around the room and listened to the conversations that were taking place, there was one aspect of the practitioners’ negotiations that was consistent almost entirely throughout the room. The practitioners, because of a lack of both clinical and business experience, did not verbalize what they would bring to the table as a valuable associate to the clinic. The conversations mainly focused on the financial relationship with the clinic and the treatment hours available to them, rather than why they would make a great associate and what value their services would add to the clinic.
If you think about it, an interview between a healthcare practitioner and a clinic owner should be no different than an interview between a business manager and a company CEO. Every clinic owner wants to learn more about you as a person, what services you have to offer, and how you plan on making your practice launch a success by driving new traffic to the clinic. As new graduates, you may lack working experience, however this should not take away from the fact that you can add value to the clinic. This value could come from contributing additional treatment options the clinic may not already offer, you intend on working with a different patient base that the clinic currently does not serve, and/or you will provide additional treatment hours currently not available at the clinic. The only way you will know how to showcase this value in the interview is to perform your due diligence, come prepared with the right questions, and then deliver a confident, professional pitch to the clinic owner as to how you will augment the clinic service offering and drive additional value to the business. Going back to the negotiations break-out exercise, I clearly remember one practitioner driving home the point about adding acupuncture to the clinic’s service offering and the additional revenue and patient volume it would deliver on. Of all of the simulated negotiations we ran, this practitioner secured the most favourable associateship agreement terms by a landslide.
As you enter into this exciting time of transitioning from student to practitioner, it is essential that you prepare for your discussions with clinic owners and leverage your value as a healthcare practitioner. In our next Business Essentials seminar on November 16th & 17th in Toronto, we will be going through new negotiation scenarios, exploring how to properly perform your due diligence, what questions are critical for you to ask, and how to effectively communicate your value during the interview.