Turnover on a medical administrative staff can be devastating. Workflow is disrupted, tasks need to be retaught, and finding a good fit can be elusive. For this and many other reasons, you should have a clear plan in place for the interview process.

If you run a private practice and have an office manager who oversees the workflow, you may want to have her or him involved in the process to serve as the gatekeeper to the second round of interviews or simply to provide an alternate perspective that can pick up things that you may miss.

As a busy physician, you are probably used to interruptions when taking on administrative tasks. However, when it comes time to speak with the candidate face-to-face (or screen-to-screen), do everything in your power to prevent distractions. Remember, the candidate is interviewing you as well, and if they can see that you will not be respectful of their time, they may turn down your job offer.

Interview questions are another challenge in the process. Some medical practice-focused questions you might consider:

Why did you decide to pursue a career in healthcare? Do you have any examples of how you were able to work with a difficult patient? What are some of your strategies for diffusing a confrontation with a patient?

How do you approach learning a new task or skill? What motivates you in the workplace? How do you handle errors (both yours and others)?

You may also want to add more traditional interview questions to give you a general sense of the person and whether he or she will be a good fit for the team.

In the end, a resume and an interview still cannot confirm with 100% certainty that a person will be a long-lasting and productive hire. The best you can do is learn as much about the candidate as you can, get the opinions of other members of your team, and follow up with references.