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How to attract good candidates for partnership vacancies

Victoria Patterson, employment solicitor, gives some tips on how to attract, recruit and retain new partners.

The challenges of attracting the right candidates for partnership, recruiting them and retaining them at your practice cannot be underestimated.  In a time where there are plenty of uncertainties and concerns about the future (the new contract, the new structure and not forgetting CQC) it is more important than ever that you have the right team to tackle these matters.  The recruitment process can be a daunting one and to be successful it will require a significant input from you.  This process should be seen as an investment as it will ultimately mould the future of your practice.  So, what do you need to think about?

Attracting the right candidates      

What does your job advertisement say about the practice?  This is your first opportunity to promote the practice so think carefully about what you will include in the content of the advert.  Be cautious not to discriminate as self-employed partners are protected from discrimination.  Before drafting the advert you should have the job description and person specification finalised so that you are clear about the type of candidates you would like to attract.  You could have an excellent advertisement but are the right people seeing it?  Remember, the placement of your advertisement is as important as the content. 

Recruiting the candidate     

To attract the right candidate for the role you need to adopt a good recruitment procedure.  The first step is to draft a job description and person specification.  A good method of comparing candidates against these requirements is to use an application form.  This is the easiest way to obtain information about specific topics and will mean you can efficiently short-list candidates for interview.

Interviews are a two-way process so make sure you also prepare.  You should be familiar with each candidate's application and set plenty of time aside for the interview.  You may be asked questions so be ready to sell the practice.

To compare candidates easily you should have some set questions, prepared in advance, which you will ask each candidate.  It is advisable to use an assessment form which lists objective criteria, such as skills and qualifications.  Each individual should be assessed on the basis of the objective criteria.  If you are offering feedback then you need to be cautious.  It is important that you are able to justify why a particular candidate was unsuccessful in the event of any allegations of discrimination. 

Retaining the candidate   

Every new partner should have a probationary period.  This will manage the expectations of both parties and ensure that you have found the best match for the practice.  Make sure you use this time effectively and implement an induction and training programme so that the new partner settles in quickly. 

An important factor in retaining staff is to create and maintain a good working environment.  It is advisable to have regular one-to-one meetings so that any teething problems can be ironed out at an early stage.  The future of your practice is dependent on the foundations of a strong partnership so investing and spending time developing your working relationship now will pay dividends in the future.

Victoria Patterson is an employment solicitor at specialist primary healthcare law firm Veale Wasbrough Vizards.

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