How to Avoid the Top 3 Hiring Mistakes for Chiropractic Assistants

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Chiropractic Assistants

In my book Upper Cervical Practice Mastery, I discussed the importance of building a great team as a key factor of the top upper cervical practices in the world. One of the most important parts of building a great team is avoiding hiring mistakes when bringing on new chiropractic assistants.

Before you can get to chiropractic assistant training you must make sure that you are laying the foundation for a great relationship with your new team member during the hiring and onboarding process.

Many offices focus on looking for candidates and this is definitely part of the process. You can find candidates in a variety of ways including:

  • Post ads online or in print.
  • Ask your network for referrals.
  • You can ask your patients for referrals.
  • Ask your current team members for referrals.
  • You can ask friends and family for referrals.

But even more important than finding candidates is avoiding these common mistakes. These mistakes can lead you to hire the wrong person or put the right person in the wrong seat.

So today we're going to take a look at these three hiring mistakes for chiropractic assistants that can set you up for failure. They happen frequently and can have a detrimental impact on your practice for years. So learn these mistakes so you can avoid them and set yourself up for success from day one:

  1. Define the Seat
  2. Define the Person
  3. Conduct Multiple Interviews and Give a Test Task

Define the Seat

The most common mistake that I see with upper cervical chiropractic offices is not properly defining the seat before starting the hiring process for chiropractic assistants. Before you hire anyone or begin interviewing or even placing an ad the first thing you must do is define the seat. You have to determine what the target is or you will never hit it.

One of the best ways you can do this is by creating a position agreement for the position you want to hire for. This is much more than a job description for chiropractic assistants. Of course, you want to determine your chiropractic assistant salary based on your area but a position agreement is much more than just a job description or salary range.

Position Agreement

A position agreement has four key components:

  1. Key Results Areas (KRAs)
  2. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  3. Companywide Standards
  4. Agreement Signatures
Key Results Areas (KRAs)

KRA’s are defined as the result or results you want this position to achieve on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

For example:

Is it a front desk person that you want to greet everyone who walks through the door with a smile?

Do you have certain results in mind with a back-office chiropractic assistant when it comes to your exam procedures?

Is it an office manager who you want to achieve a certain result when it comes to your statistics?

Whatever the position is it’s important to think through the 3 to 7 results you want this position to achieve on an ongoing basis and include this on the position agreement for chiropractic assistants.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are metrics. They are a numeric representation of the result you want to achieve. For every KRA you should have at least one KPI that you can determine objectively if the person is achieving the result. Some KRA’s will have multiple KPIs some will have only one. But the key is to determine numbers that you can track results with when it comes to your KRA’s.

For example:

If one of your KRA’s for your front desk team member is to schedule 80% of the new patient opportunity phone calls that you receive in the office on a monthly basis. The KPI would require the front desk person or your call recording software to track the number of new patient opportunity calls you receive and the result of those calls.

Companywide Standards

Another aspect of the position agreement should be your companywide standards. This could include information about confidentiality, conflicts of interest, personal phone calls, use of company computers, etc.

Determining your companywide standards and placing them on the position agreement is key to setting proper expectations.

Agreement Signatures

Lastly, your position agreement needs to have a place for both you or whoever the direct supervisor of the team member is and the team member's signature. This agreement between you and the team member establishes proper expectations of what you are expecting when it comes to the results for the position, how you are going to measure those results, and your companywide standards. Once you have created this position agreement you can then have a clearer picture of who you are looking for.

Define the Person

The next mistake many offices make is not properly defining the person that they want in the seat. The ultimate goal is to get the right person in the right seat.

This involves two main steps:

  1. Determining Core Values Fit
  2. Determining if they are an Ideal Team Player

Core Values Fit

If you have not already determined what is most important to your company then I highly recommend you utilize our free resource the core values brainstorm to help you determine what’s most important to you and your practice. Once you determine your core values you can then attempt to find people who fit your core values.

Ideal Team Player

There are several fantastic assessments including D.I.S.C. and the Ideal Team Player assessment that we use to determine the personality style and work ethic of a prospective team member. These assessments can help you to determine if a person is likely to get what your company and the position is all about, if they are motivated and hungry to do the position well, and they have the intelligence and people smarts necessary to do the position well. To learn more about the ideal team player characteristics read this blog post.

Conduct Multiple Interviews and Give Candidates a Test Task

The last mistake that I frequently see happening is conducting only one interview with a prospective team member and not giving a test task.

Conduct Multiple Interviews with Chiropractic Assistants

Anyone can put on a good face in an interview. When you conduct multiple interviews in different situations with different people you’re more likely to find issues with the person before you hire them. If this is your first time interviewing chiropractic assistants, I would recommend you conduct one interview and then have at least one other person that you trust interview them as well. This could be your spouse or a colleague or friend that you trust. Different people are going to get a different impression of a person. Don’t rely on just your own opinion.

Group interviews are also an effective first step before conducting individual interviews with chiropractic assistants. You can ask certain questions in the group and see how people respond. If you have an office manager have them conduct the initial interview and then you do a follow-up interview. The key is to have multiple interviews with the candidate before moving them to the next step.

Give Candidates a Test Task or Test Shift

The second part of this mistake is not giving candidates an opportunity to show what they can do as chiropractic assistants. Many people can claim they do a variety of things or are a certain way but when you have them put their money where their mouth is it’s a different story.

Giving a prospective team member a test task that is similar to something they would be doing in the office and see how they respond and perform is effective. Another effective strategy is to have a prospective team member come in and work in the position for half of the day. You would pay them for this and you would be able to get an idea of how they interact with real patients. This can be invaluable and can save you from a hiring disaster.

If you would like to make your next team member your best hire yet I highly recommend you grab our free resource the hiring resource kit which includes an example position agreement, D.I.S.C., and Ideal Team Player assessments, and more.

Chiropractic assistants
About the Author: Dr. Bill Davis
Dr. Bill Davis is the Founder and CEO of His goal is to spread the word about the best-kept secret in health through Upper Cervical Specific Business and Marketing Solutions.
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