How to Hire Fantastic Chiropractic Assistants with Adriana Loya

Chiro Match Makers Director of Chiropractic Assistant Placement

Adriana is a passionate advocate for chiropractic. Hiring chiropractic assistants and team members in your practice can be hard. Staff turnover can kill practice growth. In this episode, Adriana highlights the critical things you need to know when hiring your new chiropractic assistant.

Click below to listen to the interview…

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This episode is brought to you by The Smart Chiropractor. More new patients, better retention, and consistent reactivations are waiting for you.


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Episode Transcript

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Hey, The SMART Chiropractor, is Dr. Jeff here with my co-host, Dr. Jason and this is The SMART Chiropractor show in today’s featured guest segment. We have Adriana Loya from Chiro Match Makers to talk about staffing and training, specifically relative to Chiropractic assistants. Adriana, thanks for taking some time today and coming on chatting with us.

Adriana Loya: Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited!

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: You got it and I want to pick it up right there. I want to say one thing first, a little bit of disclosure. I do help Chiro Match Makers with marketing, so we know each other on the side. But I know you and I have chatted a bunch about the biggest challenges that docs face with staffing. You know, many docs out there have high turnover. They’re not sure who or how to hire what, or maybe one or two of the biggest challenges that you see when docs are trying to hire a Chiropractic assistant on their own.

Adriana Loya: You know, I think number one challenge is that doctors are very busy running a practice and taking care of their patients, and they just don’t really have the proper time that it takes to vet the candidates post ads all over the internet and go after the right person for the position. So I think the number one problem is going to be the doctor doesn’t really have the proper time. And then the second problem is that I mean, no disrespect, but doctors are not staffing experts. They went to school to be chiropractors, and they love what they do, and they’re amazing at what they do, but they’re not experts in hiring the right person for the position that they have available. So I think those are the two main challenges that I see.

Dr. Jason Deitch: You would be describing me when I was in practice, time wasn’t as much the issue, but the second part of really knowing how do you find the right person for the position? It would seem obvious, you know, oh, they’re nice and they’re polite and you know, they can answer the phone and they can take direction. But my experience says it’s a lot more than that. So what what can you share with everybody about what chiropractors really should be looking for in a car that they’re probably not looking for? And then I’ll get into how do you help chiropractors do that?

Adriana Loya: Yeah, I think the biggest thing in that respect is that we tend to hire based on technical requirements experience. We look at the résumé and we get excited when we see a candidate that has solid experience that is relatable to what we’re looking for. But the biggest thing that we need to look at is people hire for technical reasons, but they fire for behavioral issues. So I think that a major component that is lacking in the hiring process for most chiropractors is that, yes, they’re taking a look at résumé, background and experience, but they’re not really taking a look at how is this person built on a behavioral standpoint? Are they naturally hardwired for the position that I have available? Another thing that I tend to see a lot is that we want to hire that unicorn that can do really great at every single aspect of the practice. You know, somebody that is super detailed oriented, but they’re also super friendly and outgoing and can promote our workshops and our events. And so we need to make sure that we’re clearly defining what is my job description? What am I looking for? And going after that individual that is going to fit those requirements?

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: That’s an interesting point, because I think, you know, often us as chiropractors, you know, we we believe everybody should be living Chiropractic lifestyle. And quite frankly, you know, we’re a pretty small pond. So, you know, to find somebody that has experience in a chiropractic practice that’s going to come in and basically be a cultural fit can sometimes be challenging. Often we might be hiring somebody that doesn’t have experience in a chiropractic practice in the past. How do you think about or, you know, and this might tie into some of the behavioral aspects. But when you think about establishing a culture fit no one, how important is that in a practice from what you’ve seen? And number two, what are some steps, perhaps, that you take within Chiro Match Makers to really ensure that there’s a proper cultural fit?

Adriana Loya: That’s a great question, Jeff. You know, when hiring somebody, it is very important that they’re going to be a good cultural fit to our company and for them to be able to embody our values. But you hit it right on the nail. It is very challenging to find somebody that wants to be a chiropractic assistant, and they have that previous experience within the Chiropractic world and is living a wellness lifestyle. Sadly, the reality is that in our country, not a lot of people are very wellness minded, right? So you can have the best behavioral fit for the position. They have applicable experience, meaning maybe they’ve worked at another doctor’s office or they’re good with billing or they’ve been a previous office manager, so they have good experience. But if they are not willing to embrace a wellness lifestyle, it may not be the best fit for your office. So what we do is we want to discover that through our interview process, we want to make sure that we have a good fit on a resume standpoint and then a good fit on a behavioral standpoint. But then once we’re interviewing that candidate, we want to gauge how open are they? Are they already living some of those, you know, key components of Chiropractic in their lifestyles? Or at least, are they willing to embrace it? Are they willing to learn or are they just really not interested in this type of industry? So I think that to answer your question is it’s not really something that you can precisely measure through an assessment. It’s more about having an open, honest conversation with those candidates and gauging their interests that way.

Dr. Jason Deitch: I’ve spoken to lots of chiropractors who have had this exact problem over many years trying to just find the right person. And I know we’ve sort of brought it up or not, but I just want to sort of ask you directly, is it better? To have somebody who’s worked in a Chiropractic practice before and, you know, is, you know, has the benefit of hopefully understanding how to run a practice, hopefully understanding what Chiropractic is or is it better off finding somebody who just has the right skills, the right attitude, but perhaps no experience? And then they can be trained in the ways you do it uniquely in your specific practice. And I know you work with a lot of different kinds of practices, and just because you’re trained in one type of practice doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to qualify or be good at another practice, and sometimes that can be a hindrance. What are your thoughts on that?

Adriana Loya: I would go with the second option. It is better to have the raw materials, have a person that has the innate abilities to fit really well in your practice, rather than going after somebody that has a lot of experience that they maybe have worked in a chiropractors office. Just like you said, there’s so many different types of practices and practice styles that just because they’ve worked at a chiropractors office, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to bring a great culture or great experience into our practice. So I would rather hire somebody from outside the Chiropractic world that has the criteria that I’m looking for and then coach them, mentor them, teach them our ways. And I think that they’ll do a lot better that way.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: That’s that’s very interesting because I look at many Chiropractic practices and I think everybody’s going to empathize with what to say. It seems like people either stay forever or they’re gone in six months, right? It’s, you know, people have, you know, Chiropractic assistants, K’s office individuals, office managers, CEOs, in some cases that have been with them 20 to 25 years. And then, you know, others the position seem to cycle through. And this might tie in to maybe a little bit of culture, maybe a little behavioral assessment. I’ll let you tell me. But what are some of those challenging points like, you know, what have you seen in terms of what makes and enables people to stick versus go through that high turnover and high churn? Because that’s such a progress killer in so many docs offices when they can’t stay staffed up? What have you seen in terms of what makes the difference that makes the difference?

Adriana Loya: So there’s there’s several factors that we can look into. So touching back on behavior, that’s that’s a very big factor in the longevity of an employee staying with us and being really happy in what they do. A lot of times I have practice owners come to me because they’re struggling with the current CAA. They’re on their way out, they know it, they know that they have a very limited amount of time left with that one person because they’re expressing that they’re not happy, they’re not learning quickly. There’s a lot of friction in the team. And so what happens is that when you are, let’s use the word forcing. When you’re forcing somebody to have a job with a job description that goes completely against their natural behavioral traits, that person is going to be very frustrated. They are going to be very stressed out in that position. So if you hire somebody, for example, I’ll give you a very practical example. If you hire somebody for the front desk and you’re expecting them to be friendly and poised and bubbly and that that outgoing personality, but you hire an introvert for that job, they’re not going to like it. They’re going to be super stressed out. And if they’re loyal, if they like what you got going on and if maybe you’re paying well, they may put up with it for a while. They may show up and try to do their best, but they’re never going to be excellent at what they do. And so what ends up happening is either they get fired or they quit just because they are going against the current.

Adriana Loya: They’re having a job that is not satisfying for them, and they’re having to put up this persona when they show up to work. That is not who they truly are. Right. And so in the same way, if you hire somebody to do your billing or your HR or your administrative tasks, if they’re that outgoing, flamboyant personality that wants to be where people are at and they want to be the center of attention, well, they’re going to have a really hard time focusing and being quiet and staying in a room, locked up eight hours in a day, doing data entry. Right. So that’s a major component. Another thing is, or another factor would be a lot of times we see that Chiropractic practices are losing their team members because they’re losing them to another business that is offering them something better. So there’s a lot of competition out there. So if you’re a practice owner and you’re looking at your current team members and you’re happy with them, they’re doing great. The best thing that you can do is do a little bit of market research, make sure that you’re compensating your people competitively so that they’re not going to get snatched up by a recruiter or another company. And I mean, I’m sure that I could list list a few other factors, but I think those are the two main components that I see.

Dr. Jason Deitch: All right, Adriana. So what’s a Chiropractor to do? What do you find to be the most common options? I know there’s all kinds of job sites, Craigslist asking friends, you know, going out to dinner more and finding the friendly waiter or waitress and trying to pick and choose what are the options of what chiropractors have out there? I guess I’ll add to that. And hiring agencies, but also Kairos specific agencies. Can you sort of lay out the kind of breakdown of what the options are and perhaps why they should choose you as their best option?

Adriana Loya: Yeah, of course. I would highly advise that any Chiropractor that is looking to roll their team, expand their team and learn to hire the right way that they do outsource their hiring again. They are such busy practitioners trying to run a business, and they just don’t really have enough time to do that well on their own. So instead of paying attention at dinner and trying to hire the waiter or the waitress, I would advise that they outsource that they look at a company. I know that there is a couple of companies out there in the market that specialize specifically in the Chiropractic industry. I would advise that you know what the you go with the experts. For example, Match Makers was founded by chiropractors. We work for chiropractors. I myself was a chiropractic assistant for about a year, and then I became the office manager and I was running five Chiropractic offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a few years before I came on board with ChiroEmails Match Makers. So I wouldn’t just go with any staffing agency. I would go with the staffing agency that really knows what they’re doing and that really has insights into the Chiropractic industry and knows had an office

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Once that is impactful. Adriana and I know the inside baseball. I know. You know, there’s over a dozen, you know, recruiting specialists working, you know, full time over in Chiro Match Makers HQ, which is where you are at. But for the docs out there that maybe are totally unfamiliar with this, they’ve never worked with the staffing or recruiting agency. You know, it’s exciting and sometimes intimidating when you’re bringing on a new team member. Can you just outline at a high level like, what’s the process look like if a doc was interested in engaging with Chiro Match Makers to bring on that next S.A., what could they expect? How does the process go and just outline that for us?

Adriana Loya: So Match Makers, we take all the busy work away from the doctors so that they can focus on, on their patients and on their practice. And so what we do is we build what we call an avatar for the ideal candidate. So we have a consultation with the doctor or the practice owner, and we take a look at their practice dynamics, their practice culture. We take a look at the job description, and once we have the job description, then we build that avatar based on three different sets of criteria. The first criteria is going to be background, any technical requirements, experience for the position. Second is going to be cognitive abilities, and that’s something that I had not mentioned before. You could have the best personality for that position, but if they’re not intelligent, if they’re not sharp enough for the position, they’re going to have a very hard time learning everything that they have to learn in a proper time frame. So we test candidates for cognitive abilities, making sure that they can problem, solve multitask, digest and apply new information, making sure that they can memorize scripting and just be up to speed with your training quickly. And then the third set of criteria is going to be behavioral traits. So based on that job description, we make a recommendation as far as what type of behavior that person needs to have to do really well in that position. And so once we have that avatar built out, then we relentlessly look everywhere to find that person and we interview those candidates. Once we have people that match the criteria that we’re looking for, then we present them to the business owner so that they can further interview and choose who they want to hire. So in a nutshell, that would be our process.

Dr. Jason Deitch: That is fantastic. Obviously, you don’t do what you do for free. I don’t think we’ll talk fees here, necessarily, but there is an investment to having or outsourcing, as you say, having somebody kind of an expert or your team of experts handle this for you. What about those docs who are saying, you know, money’s tight, you know, I can do this, or maybe they have a friend or family member or a spouse who’s like, You know, I used to run HR or I used to be in HR or I worked at a company that hired people or whatever it may be. What do you find to be some of the consequences of trying to go it alone? Do it yourself. And what have you seen, perhaps, is the cost, not necessarily the investment in finding somebody good, but the cost of hiring somebody that may not necessarily stay with you long term. I’m sure that unfortunately happens quite common. What do people need to know about kind of the long? Term expense of having somebody who maybe just isn’t up to par as much as they should be or could be, or I know some people refer to it as a staph infection that just grows over time. What are your thoughts on that experience?

Adriana Loya: Yeah. Jason, if we want to put a money value on hiring the wrong person, I mean, hiring the wrong team member is going to cost you three to five times their salary and finding the right person is going to bring so much value into your practice. You mentioned staph infection that is huge. You could have an amazing team going on and then you bring the wrong person on board. They bring the wrong culture, they infect your team members and then you may have two or three people quit after that one hire. And so you are just going to be bleeding money out the door. So definitely hiring the wrong person. It is a huge loss of money. And then it’s also a huge loss of momentum. If you don’t have the right person on board in your practice, you are going to slow down your growth. Your plans are going to go out the drain. And instead of focusing on your growth and reaching the people that you want to reach, now you’re going to have to deal with the headache of this bad apple that now is infecting the rest of your team and what you’re going to do about them. And it’s just mentally so stressful to have to deal with a bad employee that you know that eventually you’re going to have to get rid of.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Yeah, impeding progress is difficult. I know we’ve spoken and talked about whether docs had their best year last year or whether they struggled. You know, in both cases, they might be looking, you know, to expand, grow or change their team and doing it the right way is so, so important. Adrianna, I see what you do behind the scenes and your expertize in this space, and I want to thank you for coming on and sharing docs out there, listening and watching. If you are looking to build, grow or expand your team this year, head over to Chiro Match Makers. Whether it’s a Chiropractic assistant, whether it’s a Chiropractic associate or whether it’s covered services, they can definitely help. Adriana, thank you so much for coming on and chatting with us today. It has been invaluable and hopefully you opened up some eyes for a new way to hire beyond doing it yourself. Thank you.

Adriana Loya: Thank you!