Headshot of Choice Health Centre founder, Saba

Saba Chishti always knew that one day she would own her own business. With her knack for numbers and planning, and a passion for her profession in healthcare, she wanted to create her own style of treatment in an environment where she could freely express her ideas and implement changes. Saba became a partner in Choice Health Centre in Dartmouth in January 2016. Shortly after, she opened a second clinic location in Bayers Lake.

Choice Health Centre is a multidisciplinary healthcare clinic that is locally owned and operated by Saba and Dr. Erin Kempt Sutherland. Offering a variety of services like physiotherapy, counseling, acupuncture, Choice Health Centre truly believes that working together as a team can help clients achieve fast results and complete healing that will prevent re-occurring injuries.

Saba, like many entrepreneurs, has been experiencing a challenge with growing her business. She is incredibly passionate but realizes that she cannot do it all on her own and needs to surround herself with other like-minded clinicians and employees. “I want those individuals to share my vision and passion about healthcare and to acknowledge their weaknesses, as well as their strengths,” she shares. However, building the perfect team is easier said than done. Saba has been struggling with recruiting clinicians that would best fit the culture and vision of Choice Health Centre.

After having a better understanding of the issue that Saba is facing in her business today, we decided to reach out to some of our friends and experts to share their insights with her around this challenge. Here is what they had to say…

Evelyn Salvador is the Senior Manager of Human Resources at Futurpreneur Canada, a non-profit organization that helps young people start businesses.

You may need to first, define your workplace culture and two, assess personality fit based on your culture. To help get a better grasp on this, you may start with interviewing or surveying your current employees. Even though you believe they live and breathe the culture and vision of your business, asking them questions about your organization and their jobs, will help you understand behaviours and identify patterns.

Some questions you can ask are:

– What would you tell a friend about our organization?
– What is the one thing you would most like to change about our organization?
– What is your favourite characteristic that is present in the company?
– What kind of people do you think fail or succeed in our organization?

Once you have determined your culture, you will be able to put together behavioural questions to ask within your recruitment efforts to candidates. These types of questions will help validate suitability and will help ensure that you aren’t just going with candidates that look good on paper but ones that would seamlessly fit into your organization and team.

Glenn Nishimura is the Principal and Chief People Strategist at Nishimura Consulting, a company that helps businesses build strong culture, smart people practices and education opportunities.

Building the best team is an ongoing learning process and takes time and effort, however, it’s definitely worth it in the end.

Finding and identifying those superstars will rely on taking a prescriptive approach. First, write your job advertisement with a description of the ideal individual who would best fit the role at its centre, and articulate the type of personality, competencies, and temperament needed for success. This is much more effective than simply including a bulleted list of job responsibilities. Another great approach is to describe a typical ‘day in the life’ of the position, and highlight your culture, mission and vision. This will help attract those individuals who resonate with WHY you do what you do.

In terms of interviewing, it’s not so much about how many times you interview, or who conducts them, but rather what you need to uncover and learn about the candidate. Each step in the interview process acts as a filter – and gets finer each time. A brief phone interview at the very beginning should disqualify those individuals who are clearly not suitable – perhaps the gap in salary expectations is too large, the commute is unreasonable, or they’re not immediately available.

Next, an in-person interview will be your first opportunity to assess fit – both cultural and performance. Ask a series of open ended questions that fall into three areas: Problem-solving, Competency, and Values. 

  • Problem-solving questions generally start with “Walk me through how you would…” and can deal with whatever is pertinent to that role – such as handling a customer complaint.
  • Competency questions (which is the product of knowledge, skills and attitude) focus on behaviour – “Tell me about a time when you failed to communicate properly. What happened, and what was the end result?”
  • Values questions should revolve around your own defined core values. For example, if ‘accountability’ is one of them, ask a question like “Tell me about a time when you owned up and took responsibility for a big mistake you made”.

Finally, conduct an ‘audition’ or working interview. Working alongside the rest of the team will help assess dynamics and baseline performance.

Clearly define what fit and success in the job looks like, and then build a clear and consistent process around it. While there are no guarantees, taking this type of systematic approach will help to improve the quality of the candidates who apply, make your recruitment and hiring more efficient, and ultimately give you the confidence you need to extend an offer to that ideal candidate.

Pauline James is the Principal of Anchor HR Services Inc., an Ontario-based human resources firm that helps make great people practices accessible to organizations. 

Your entrepreneurial dream of bringing a great service or product to market can only become a reality with the support of a great team. How do you find talent as committed to your company’s mission as you are?

First off, know what you are looking for. Before interviewing, identify the challenges you need this talented individual to solve. Identify not only the immediate pain you need their help with, but ‘what’s next’ and how this role can evolve, with their input and ingenuity.

When determining the technical skills and soft skills required, be wary of falling into the trap of looking for individuals just like you or your team. After all, what’s not to like? Staying focused on your purpose and the problem this role needs to solve, will help avoid this. Research is continuing to show that diverse teams outperform more homogenous ones. The smaller the team, I would suggest, the more important this principle is.

Next, be honest about the challenges the candidate will face. You want someone who is excited and not discouraged by the challenges faced in your mighty and growing company. Share your enthusiasm for what ‘can be’ and how you see this role contributing to your company’s exciting vision. At the same time, do not sugar-coat the obstacles they will face. Highly motivated individuals will be excited by these challenges and their opportunity to help fix them.

In your job posting, highlight your organization’s mission and how this role is critical to fulfilling it. Be specific about the requirements. This will allow candidates to compare what is required with their own skills and experience and discourage those not qualified from applying. Leverage social media to promote both your brand and this exciting opportunity to contribute to your team.

For the interview process, write out the topics and questions you will cover in the interviews. This will ensure you do not miss any key requirements and assess all candidates equitably. To respect the candidate’s time, begin with a phone call to introduce your company, see if they have any questions, and to ask your own. If a certification, availability on evenings, or core skills are essential, confirm these requirements before arranging a face to face meeting. When possible, include a strong team member in the selection process. They may assist with the phone and in-person meeting to assess the candidate’s expertise and discuss the daily realities of the role.

Once you complete the selection process, update your question list and mark up your job posting, based on what you learned. This small investment of time, while your memory is fresh, will create efficiency in your process as you continue to hire and grow. You are on a mission to do great work with great people! Invest the time needed to find the right candidates to assist you on your journey.

Amrita Bhalla is the Managing Director of A.B Consulting, a Toronto-based firm that helps bring a practical and commercial approach to human resources.

Building your A team is an essential asset to your clinic. It’s important to get it right and find like-minded individuals who are passionate about healthcare. To help you attract the best talent, you need to accurately and positively portray your company image. It definitely helps to provide company background on the job advertisement, including your culture and vision. Here are some more things to think about:

  • Pick a job title that will accurately represent the duties of the position.
  • List the biggest responsibilities near the top of the job description as a selling point – anyone on an A team will want the responsibilities and the challenges.
  • Ensure your job ad acts as a marketing tool. Keep it exciting and different from your competitors. Make it stand out to show your company culture.
  • Once you’re done, use your network connections to help you access top talent. Try someone who works in the same industry or a mentor. Referrals are also a great resource, because the referee knows you, your company and culture.

For the interview, I always like to conduct a ‘screening interview’ over the phone or Skype prior to inviting the candidate for an in-person interview. This allows you to assess their initial communication skills and a good way to get to know them better. Develop your shortlist and then schedule interviews. If you can, do a panel interview with up to three people (i.e. a direct supervisor or other managers would be a good option). Here are some guidelines on the types of questions to ask during the interview phase:

  • Ask them why they chose to go into the healthcare industry.
  • As you are looking to build a strong team, ask candidates to give you past examples of successful team projects.
  • Finally, ask candidates about a situation they would have handled differently or a failure situation (it happens to everyone). The candidate’s response will tell you a lot about a person’s resilience and character.

Written by: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada