A top question that plagues most group practices owners is, how to find good therapists to hire. While this is a simple question, there’s no easy or simple answer. Multiple things go into hiring good clinicians for your group practice, and hiring good therapists can be a time consuming, frustrating process. I’ve had years’ experience in interviewing candidates and hiring therapists, and here is a list of suggestions on hiring good therapists that I’ve found based on my experience.
Timing is Oh So Important
Usually, by the time you’ve decided you want to hire a therapist, you needed this person on-board yesterday and ready to pick up new clients tomorrow. This can lead to a desperation mindset, in that you are so overwhelmed or overworked, you’re ready to hire the first qualified therapist that comes along. What works better is to plan for it to take 2-4 months to hire a therapist, and then another 1-2 months to get that person on-board and ready to accept new clients. A 6-month timeline seems incredibly long, but again, you’re looking for a good therapist, not just any therapist, and that takes time.
There’s no perfect formula to decide when you’re ready to hire another therapist, but as my practice approaches 75% capacity (percentage of available appointments versus booked appointments), that’s when I know it’s time to start the process of hiring another therapist. In order to know your % capacity, you’ll need to be tracking this monthly or even weekly, especially if your growth is rapid. When you get close to the 75% capacity, you can first ask your current therapists (if you have any) if they want to increase their hours. If no, then you know it’s time to get going on finding another therapist. And maybe 75% capacity is too high for you, and maybe you want to look at 65% capacity. If you’re an insurance-based practice and your growth is rapid, this number may make more sense as a benchmark for you.
Good Therapists May Not Be Looking for Other Jobs
Another main issue is that, good therapists may not be looking for other jobs. Good therapists are in demand, in agency settings and private practice settings, and are often passionate about what they are doing. Sure you can find good therapists who are actively looking for a job, and that would be great, right? But you may have to do some active recruiting (in an ethical manner, of course). You want to make your job and practice sound so desirable that good therapists will want to leave what they are doing and jump on board with you.
What Can You Offer to Entice and Hire Good Therapists to Your Practice?
Many good therapists may want to start their own private practice, or even have options of joining a group practice of their choice. Or maybe they want to stay in agency work and progress to a management or director level. So you need to ask yourself, what can I offer a good therapist to entice him/her to want to join my practice? Good therapists are usually not desperate for jobs, so they can have their pick of where to work. What sets you apart? Do you offer benefits, the opportunity to work with either a diverse population or do you specialize in a desirable niche? Or maybe you have a great location or a really nice office setting, or you offer schedule flexibility or the opportunity to work from home. Whatever you can offer, highlight these benefits in your job postings and advertisements.
Places to Find Good Therapists to Hire
Now the simple answer to a complicated question. Where to look for good therapists?
Here is a short list of places to recruit from:
- com (free and paid for job postings are available)
- Social media posts from your personal account and/or business account
- Local schools
- Your own professional network
While not exhaustive, this list can give you a place to start. For myself, I’ve had the most success leveraging my own professional network. Working in community mental health for years, I’ve made invaluable friends and connections with my colleagues, and I’ve kept in touch with many. Whenever I’m ready to hire, I always start with my own therapists first and then my professional connections. Reaching out personally to each connection rather than sending a form email to 50 people will most likely yield you better results. Perhaps they know of a friend of a friend who might be interested, and boom, there you go. No money spent, and you’re not hiring someone you know nothing about.
In conclusion, hiring good therapists is not quick or easy. You will need to put some time and effort into the process, but the outcome will be way better than hiring desperately and regretting it down the line. The old adage “Hire Slow, Fire Fast” is absolutely true in our field. Taking your time to hire the right person, with the right fit for you and your practice, will only help your practice grow in the way you desire. Planning ahead with hiring is not something that’s just nice to do, it’s actually necessary.
Previous Articles by Shannon Heers
Shannon Heers is a licensed professional counselor in Colorado. She owns the private-pay group practice Catalyss Counseling in the Denver metro area, focusing on helping adults manage their anxiety, grief, and trauma. Shannon is also an experienced clinical supervisor and manager who offers business consultation services to other therapists. She balances working with raising her two young children.
Group practice ownership is daunting but can be done easily if you do your homework, prepare, and learn all you can about the process!