Ask Joe: How To Hire New Clinicians? | POP 596

Image of Joe Sanok. On this therapist podcast, podcaster, consultant and author, talks about how to hire new clinicians in your private practice.

Are you ready to hire clinicians in your practice? How can you tell whether someone will be a good fit in your practice? Why should you look for someone who mirrors your skillset?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok answers your questions about how to hire new clinicians.

Podcast Sponsor: Gusto

An image of Gusto is featured as the sponsor on the Practice of the Practice, a podcast for therapists. Gusto automatically files and pays your taxes, it’s super easy to use, and you can add benefits and HR support to help take care of your team and keep your business safe.

It’s hard work balancing your bottom line and taking care of your team. That’s why Gusto built an easier and more affordable way to manage payroll, benefits, and more. Automatic payroll tax filing, simple deposits, free health insurance administration, 401k’s, onboarding tools…

You name it, Gusto has made it simple. Right now you can get 3 months free once you run your first payroll just go to

In This Podcast

  • Why would someone want to be an associate?
  • What services mirror yours?
  • 1099 or W2?
  • Run the financial numbers
  • Now start your interviews

Why would someone want to be an associate?

Some people are driven to start group practices and manage them while others are driven to be a part of them and work in it.

When you are hiring an associate or a clinician, you are not competing against other people who have practices that employ people, you are competing against the jobs that those people might have had before considering your offer.

When you can show someone “hey, you can make $70 an hour working with me”, that competes against those other jobs, you’re not competing against someone who wants to start their own solo practice. (Joe Sanok)

You may feel inspired to start businesses and run practices, however, someone else may feel more comfortable working for you and simply being a part of them. Both people are important, and they both have a role in creating successful companies.

What services mirror yours?

First off, you do not have to jump right into what should replace you. Begin with understanding what services mirror your own.

  • What qualifications do you have that are integral to your practice?
  • Can you find those skills in another person that you can hire into your practice who can take on similar patients?

If you primarily see couples who are going through a divorce or who are in therapy, consider hiring someone who sees children that are dealing with anxiety, or hire someone that is specialized in therapy with clients who have recently gone through a separation.

Finding someone who mirrors your work is the next step in broadening your practice, and it helps you to retain clients that you might ordinarily be turning away or referring out.

1099 or W2?

In some states such as California, you need to have W2 clinicians.

In many states, there are questions as to how much you want to be involved in your own therapists. If you want to be super hands on, telling them what to do, make sure taxes are taken out appropriately … probably W2 and especially if you want to grow a mega-group practice, having W2 [employees] is usually better than 1099s. (Joe Sanok)

It depends on what you want to do in your practice. If you want to be hands-on with your clinicians, W2 is best for you, and if you prefer your clinicians to run their own admin and function as their own business within your business, then 1099 is better.

Run the financial numbers

You want to know how much it is costing you to get a client in through the door.

It is important for you to know how much you are paying for advertising and marketing so that you know how you can appropriately split the income between yourself, the work that you do to bring in clients, and the clinicians that ultimately work with them.

Once you know what your numbers are, you can think about paying for adverts through Facebook and Google Business.

Now start your interviews

Lean on and trust your intuition.  

  • Do you like this person?
  • Do they match your energy and interests for the sake of the practice?
  • Are they interested in the culture and the mission behind the practice?

Consider having an on-boarding period of three months to see how they fit into and work within the practice.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Image of the book Thursday Is The New Friday written by Joe Sanok. Author Joe Sanok offers the exercises, tools, and training that have helped thousands of professionals create the schedule they want, resulting in less work, greater income, and more time for what they most desire.

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] I just want to take a minute to shout out to the private practice business owners out there. It’s hard work, balancing your bottom line and taking care of your team. That’s why Gusto built an easier and more affordable way to manage payroll benefits and more; automatic payroll tax filing, simple direct deposits, free health insurance administration, 401ks, onboarding tools, you name it. Gusto has made it simple and right now you can get three months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to That’s

This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 596.

Well, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and I am so excited you’re hanging out with me today. If you’re brand new to this, welcome. I’m so glad that you’re hanging out, that your private practice is hopefully thriving, and if it’s not, we’ve got tons of tools to help you totally free. Our website has hundreds of articles. I mean, I think we’re up to thousands of articles, but I don’t want to say that and then make it sound all over inflated, but we have our Pillars of Practice. If you go over to, we have so many free things over there, like our eight minute ask the experts, eight minute experts, boom, quick hit type of things that will help you get those basics if you’re just starting, then we also have the eight minute experts that is for people to grow a practice.

So all sorts of really amazing resources for you. We’re trying to do this, Ask Joe every single Wednesday where we’re trying this out throughout the rest of the year to have every Wednesday be an Ask Joe, except when my book launches. My book is launching October 5th, Thursday is the New Friday. It’s all about how to have the four day work week, how to work less. There’s tons of practical tools, assessments, all sorts of things in there that you’re going to love. You can pre-order your book now and if you get five of those, you get a free Killin’It Camp ticket. Plus if you get 10 or 25 there’s mastermind groups, there’s live events, there’s other things that are bonuses, because we want the New York Times bestselling status because we know that this message is a really important one.

And the idea of us having a life that supports our work versus having work that supports our life; we don’t want to have to work all the time. We want to be able to have work that supports our life, that’s able to support it so we live a better life.

All right. So today we have an amazing question from Sabrina Fisher. Sabrina asks, how do you select an associate or a therapist that you want to add to your practice? So how do you add someone to your practice? So maybe you’re filling up, maybe you’re half full and you know that there’s potential there. Whatever the reason is, you know a lot of people think to themselves, you know what? I really don’t want to only make money specifically if I’m showing up in the office. I was just talking recently to a therapist in Denver and she was saying the same thing that she wants to go big, but she doesn’t want to always have to be working to make money. And if you go on vacation, if you get sick, then you don’t have that money.

So having an associate, even if you don’t want to have a giant group of practice is a great way to monetize what’s already set up in your practice. So let’s think about first, why people want to be an associate or they want to be a 1099 or W2. To us who think like business people. We’re like, why wouldn’t I just start my own business? Why would I give 50% of what I bring into somebody? A lot of people don’t have the skillset or the desire to even set up a business. They show up, do the therapy and walk away. Your competition is not against those who are starting a group practice or those that want to start their own practice. Your competition is against someone working at a nonprofit or a CMH.

If you’re making $40,000 a year, that breaks down to about 20 bucks an hour. If you’re making a hundred thousand dollars a year, it’s about 50 bucks an hour. So when you can show someone, “Hey you can make 70 bucks an hour working with me,” that competes against those other jobs. You’re not competing against someone who wants to start their own solo practice. So that’s the first mindset, to just realize you are a unique person by just starting your own practice, by getting your website going, by getting new clients, networking, all of those different things that it takes to have a group of practice you are able to do. But the average person maybe doesn’t want to do all that.

All right. So first what services mirror you. So we’re not looking at just replacing you yet. We’re looking at okay, if you help couples, say your Gottman’s certified and couples are your thing. You know, a lot of them may have kids that are dealing with dysfunction in the family. A lot of those people might have teenagers that are frustrating them. Maybe after that doesn’t work out. Maybe there’s a divorce. Maybe you need to have a therapist that helps people after the divorce or through the divorce or through that transformation or transition. So finding different people that are going to mirror your services is one of the first steps. Next we want to look at, who are you turning away? So who are you turning away? So a lot of folks will say, well, here’s my specialty and I refer all these other people out.

So for example, when I did therapy, when I had my group practice I saw teen boys. I didn’t specialize in working with teen girls and I was often referring teen girls out to other teen girl specialists. So I brought people in that could serve teen girls that would serve a variety of styles of teen girls. So one of my clinicians was more kind of into yoga, another one was more into fitness, not the yoga and fitness as they are separate, but different kind of fitness. I had one that was a snowboarder. So kind of, if you had the skater girl, she’d probably go to Sarah. If you had the more yoga girl she’d probably go to Andrea. So just being able to have a variety of people that can take those folks that you typically would refer out. Do you want to have that on your radar as well?

Next we want to look at whether it’s a 1099 or a W2. So in California, you’ve got to do W2. I mean, that’s just how the law is right now for employment law in California. In many states. there’s some questions as to how much you want to be involved in your own therapist. So if you want to be super hands on, if you want to be kind of telling them what to do, if you want to make sure that all the taxes are taken out appropriately and you don’t want to view them as a business within your business, probably W2. And especially if you want to grow a mega group practice, having W2s is usually better than 1099s, whereas a 1099 that’s kind of someone that they show up, they do their therapy, they leave, maybe they do some marketing, maybe they don’t, more of it’s on them. In the same way that you would think about do you want someone that’s going to be mowing your lawn? Like that’s a 1099 relationship whereas if you have a whole lawn care company, that’s more of a W2 relationship.

All right, next, you want to run the financial numbers. You want to know about how much it costs per client to get a client in if you’re doing advertising. You want to be able to understand the finances, to know how you can make a profit, because I’ve heard some people say I’m going to start right from the beginning and do a 75/25 split. If you’re getting 25%, it’s really hard to offer, say a virtual assistant that can answer the phones and have an office space. Even if you don’t have an office and you’re all online, 25% is really low for you setting up a whole business. So you really want to run those numbers and look at creating a better split for yourself and then have the option to add incentives later.

So next, what you’re going to do is you are going to do some ad placements. So there’s lots of places to do advertising. Facebook is a great place for some classified. That’s where recently I’ve found a lot of our virtual assistants that we’ve brought onto the team, or even just letting other people know through your Facebook business page, your Google Business page that hiring. Let your local chapters of the licensed professional counselors or social workers, or MFDs know that you’re hiring so that people can connect with you next.

I would highly suggest you join Group Practice Launch. So Group Practice Launch is our six month program where Alison and Whitney walk you through going from having no clinicians in your practice to having first hire. And you’re surrounded with a group of people. So if you’re interested in that, just go over to Jess will talk to you and then connect you with Alison and Whitney for their next cohort. Group Practice Launch is such an amazing program. We’ve seen people go from having nobody to having group practices in less than a year to not just one person, but hiring three or four or five and building that passive income. So if you’re serious about it, I would highly suggest you look into Group Practice Launch. We can talk with you more about that over at

The next thing, when you start doing interviews is you want to actually think through, do you like this person? Do they feel like they match the culture you’re building? Do they actually do things in a way that you find ethical? I remember I was having coffee with this one person that was looking to join my team and they totally rubbed me the wrong way in the interview and I just was in a point where I wanted to bring people in and I was all about building the numbers and the passive income. And it was a terrible hire. She would get so mad at people for moving her scissors. So one of our clinicians who worked on the weekend and they shared an office with this person worked with really angry teens. There was often sometimes violent. So she would put the scissors in the drawer rather than just leave them out.

This person was just like, “Who keeps moving my scissors?” And if someone used her printer for like a page or two, she’d be like, “I need my percentage of ink.” And it was just, we were a no-drama clinic and none of us had experienced someone that brought drama and very quickly that person was not a fit. And I learned a lot about my hiring practices just by trusting my intuition from the beginning. So trust your intuition. Do you like this person? Do you enjoy them? Do they seem to kind of match where you’re headed? Also make sure that you’re trying to have a diverse type of people that work at your office so that you can serve a lot of different people and to help just continue to grow opportunities for a number of folks that maybe haven’t had those opportunities. And lastly, I would suggest having an onboarding period of three months. Some might call it probationary. That seems a little bit harsh, but onboarding, where maybe there’s a lower cut and you have very clear things that those people need to do.

So what does that onboarding look like? Make a checklist or yourself give them the keys, make sure they have passwords. All those things to make you easier on yourself so that you can just get that person in the door and seeing clients. So what are the things that you typically do? So for me on my onboarding checklist in the first three months, it was we’re going to go on local radio. We’re going to announce you on the website. We’ll announce you through social media, we’ll have professional headshots taken, we’ll get your business cards, all those things to just make sure that they have a really strong launch.

Well, thank you so much for hanging out with me during the Wednesday, Ask Joe’s. If you want to submit your question, head on over to Over there, you can fill out our form. It has a spot for the questions. When we first launched this, we had half a year’s worth of questions that were just dumped in right away from our email list. We want to keep this going if it’s valuable for you.

Also I know that running a private practice is really hard work. Fortunately, Gusto makes the payroll part easy. On top of that. Gusto offers flexible benefits, simple onboarding, and so much more. And right now our listeners get three months free. Gusto is what I personally use with Practice of the Practice. So go on over to to get those three free months. Again, that’s

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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