Practice Management

Spyglass Spotlight #2 - Approaching recruitment with a championship mindset

In part 1 we laid out expectations around communication in both directions and building training programs to establish trust among your teams. Here, we discuss how to add to your team like only the best talent scouts can.
Published 3.10.2023

In our last issue, we set the stage on how we’re going to be thinking about staff management. From laying out expectations around communication in both directions to building training programs to establishing trust among the teams; we want to make sure everybody understands what we're trying to accomplish, how to do so and how we're going to have successful conversations going forward. Most of those first topics are primarily related to improving your staff that you already have, but what about adding to your team?

We certainly understand that hiring is an essential component of the success of your operation both in the immediate and the long term. For better or worse, there is no one size fits all solution that will run through the specific steps of how you, as an individual, can recruit, interview, and hire staff effectively. The truth is, you’re going to have to create your own playbook, and Spyglass is here to help.

Under ideal circumstances, hiring can be overwhelming and complicated, not to mention all the added confusion that has come with working in a post Covid-19 pandemic world. Even in a community where there's an abundance of talent available to work in a patient-centric hybrid medical and retail operation, finding the right people to fit into your team's culture and with the expertise that you want can be challenging to say the least. Whether you find the process itself easy or not is actually immaterial to this conversation, because it will always take time, effort, and energy to hire effectively.

One step at a time

Let's start by redefining some of the steps involved in overall personnel management; understanding the language of the hiring process will make it easier to discuss among your team and easier to execute effectively in the future. Spyglass readers that are or have been engaged in the hiring process will no doubt be familiar with some or all of the following ideas, but a few of the distinctions and implications may provide fresh insights. We see this is a great opportunity to internalize the more formal definitions of a hiring process too many eye care businesses take for granted.


The process of finding, screening, hiring and eventually onboarding qualified job candidates.


The process of reviewing applications, selecting the right candidates to interview, testing candidates, choosing between candidates to make the decision and performing various pre-employment tests and checks.


Part of the hiring process that includes a conversation between a job applicant and a representative of an employer which is conducted to assess whether the applicant should be hired.


Refers to the procedure of orienting new team members in a specific and consistent manner that aids in employee success and overall retention.


Simply put, this is the ongoing process by which a company works to ensure that its employees remain with the organization and continue to be productive.

The above list is not remotely exhaustive, but it is an effective jumping off point for our purposes here.

Building a championship mindset

One of the most important early steps in improving any given process lies in understanding the current state of that process. To put it another way, it’s nearly impossible to know how to get somewhere you want to go if you don’t know where you’re starting from. Think about which elements of your process have worked well in the past and reflect on those situations that have been less successful. Also, it's important to think about your experiences as an employee, not just as a person responsible for hiring or the overall success of your business. Empathy is invaluable here.

If recruiting consists of finding, screening, hiring, and eventually onboarding then we should probably start this conversation with the finding. Whether we're talking about a densely populated metro practice or one in a more rural town, finding the right person for your team is challenging. Often, successful recruiting necessitates a positive confluence of many things: your practice’s current staffing needs, the recruiting tools at your disposal, the presence of qualified potential staff members in your immediate community who are also looking for a job at this particular time all have to come together to bring on an ideal candidate.

Lots of improbable things have to go exactly right if recruiting only happens when your practice is in desperate need of a new employee. Ensuring the right candidates are being interviewed and hired are critical to the success of your business. Your team is a reflection of your practice and your patients and customers will almost certainly spend more time interacting with your team than with you directly.

Setting and Understanding Expectations

As you begin to think about the hiring process, you may want to ask yourself some questions about the role and your expectations for the person to fill it.

A few examples before you even start to engaging with prospective candidate:

Candidate attributes
  • Things like experience, knowledge of particular tools or software, soft skills, language or math proficiencies as the position demands.
  • It may be useful to separate these attributes into must have and nice to have categories for some flexibility in hiring.
Caliber of applicant and skill set
  • Here we’re talking about specific skilled positions like opticians and technicians
  • Do you need a master optician to help with your older patient population?
  • Do your technicians need experience with low vision or vision therapy to help build those specialties?
  • Do you need a top tier salesperson and are willing to teach optics to the right person?
  • Are you just looking to hire a capable floater who can learn and succeed in each department?
Salary range
  • This is becoming more and more important in the hiring process as we’re seeing stories of Gen Z recruits completely ignoring job listings that don’t have salary expectations listed.
  • The rates should be commensurate with the expected impact of the role, not just the experience of your potential candidate. When weighing two candidates you’re equally interested in hiring, see if you can identify which skill set will be most likely to drive bottom line revenue for your business.
Culture fit and onboarding
  • Evaluate your current team and how they represent your practice both as individuals and as a contributor to the overall experience.
  • Think about the internal process issues you face with your team (if any) and address those concerns in your job listing and interview questions.

Popular recruiting sites and services like Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, and Linkedin can be effective in driving a lot of applications to your inbox, but they do come with the risk of seeing lots of responses from unqualified candidates. Setting minimum expectations for your applicants using those sites will help put some guardrails in so your team doesn’t waste its recruitment efforts on hours of deleting irrelevant submissions.

Actually recruiting

It’s worth noting that some of your most potent tools for recruiting great new staff members are your current staff members. This can be an opportunity for your team to take even more ownership of the day to day operation of the practice, while also helping someone they know get a great new job! Tell your team what you’re looking for and ask them to tap their individual networks; it may also be valuable to offer referral bonuses to your team when you do hire someone they recommended.

Finding a professional is just the beginning and we recommend a deliberate, well thought out approach that is easy to repeat and sustain. There are no unimportant steps in this process, each phase of recruitment is as important as the actual interviewing and hiring.

Now that we’ve done all the pre-work required to understand what it is we’re looking for, we’re ready to take the next step, writing and posting a job listing.

Creating a personalized ad should include but is not limited to the following:

  • Job title, keywords, and location related to the position
  • Specific job responsibilities and organizational structure (e.g. “if hired, applicant will work directly with our optical manager” or practice manager or lead technician as the case might be)
  • Expected candidate availability, work days, and likely hours of work
  • Pay range & benefits offered
  • Identifying characteristics of your practice/organization and why candidates should want to work there.
  • Required (must have) and preferred (nice to have) skills and/or Qualifications
    • Be sure to include willingness to train the right candidate if appropriate.

Transparency and clarity of communication is foundational to attracting suitable candidates that fit your office’s needs and culture and having that communicated upfront reflects positively on who you are as an organization while simultaneously building trust from the outset.

Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was — and still is — the most important thing we do. – Marc Benioff, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce

Jesenia Starnes
Jesenia Starnes, Account Manager - Anagram
Prior to joining Anagram, Jesenia managed multiple practices as Director of Operations, consulting practice owners and staff on daily operations. Throughout her two decades of experience in eye care, Jesenia has developed and oversaw staff training for the largest independent practice in Colorado. Jesenia is a dedicated and passionate professional who strives to support eye care leaders and staff to reach their vision of success.

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