Searching for someone? The who, the what and the why?

When it comes to hiring staff, you will often hear the mantra. Hire slow and fire fast.

What does this mean when there is a limited number of quality clinical staff available to fill the ever growing number of positions available in private practices?  On the APA, jobs4physios page, there are more than 200 vacancies across Australia and a high percentage of advertisements have been up on the site for more than 20 days. Do you hire anyone or does a physio looking for work, take any job?

With all of this competition, I am wondering what you think will attract a new employee to come and work for you? I did a random survey of twelve of the sixty-nine job ads in New South Wales.

Practices are looking to hire someone passionate, dedicated, motivated to learn, friendly, who wants to work in a great team, with great doctors, with great patients and a diverse work- load.  The practice is outcome driven, evidence based and use clinical reasoning skills.

They offer flexibility, work-life balance, good remuneration, professional development and mentoring and the practice is well-established. There are opportunities to do pilates, work with sports teams or as a part of a multi-disciplinary team and offer a diverse range of patients.

There was very little to tell any of them apart. This tells me a lot about our profession. We are largely the same. Or are we? Does each practice have a point of difference and is that point of difference, what we do, who we do it with, how we do it or what we can offer our employees. This is not clear from the content of the job ads.

Let’s drill down further:

Let us begin with a broad example of typical advertisements found in the wanted ads on the APA jobs4physios platform.


Physio wanted for full-time position in busy private practice.


I am very interested in the number of times that I find the word “busy” in physio job ads. This seems to be a feature unique to our profession. As they say, we do seem to use this word as a “badge of honour”.
By having the descriptor, busy, in our title or the script of our advertisement what are we saying to the potential future employee? Are you giving an expectation, that you are wanting someone to put in and they will not be sitting around doing nothing? Is it an sign that the practice is well respected and has lots of referrals? Will there be a lot of opportunities or does it mean that there will not be any time for professional development or other fun activities? Does it mean that you are being employed as part of a sausage factory to churn people through? Does it mean that there is no time for mentoring or other support? There are lots of ways that the word busy can be interpreted. Busy sounds quite tiring?


Likewise, I have read advertisements that will offer over $100,000 with bonuses to the right applicant and new graduates are welcome to apply? I recognise the desire to spread the net , when you are desperate to find someone. Some applicants might see the financial reward as attractive. Others may look at sum offered and wonder what the expectations for this amount and whether they are interested in a high pressure position. They may wonder if they are going to be churning through patients?


I have considerable biases about financial remuneration being the key foundation for employment. If we consider the original “why” people became an allied health practitioner , I do not think that many of them thought that they would do it, to make lots of money. https://coachhealthblog.com/begin-with-a-purpose/
I wholeheartedly agree that allied health professionals do an important job that has positive impacts on people’s lives and the financial reward for this will never be enough.

Then we have the lists.
List number one:
Ø The hours eg 38 hours per week with some weekend work.
Ø The services the practice offers: Pilates; exercise classes; hydrotherapy etc
Ø The clients. Private; Third Party, Veterans, NDIS
Ø The PD offered or PD package available.

We are looking for someone with:

List number two:
Ø Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Ø Clinical reasoning skills
Ø Manual therapy skills
Ø Musculoskeletal knowledge
Ø Ability to work in a team
Ø Pilates experience (happy to teach)
I am still not sure, why I would apply for a job in these practices?

Let’s hear a little more about the practice:


List number three.
Ø Supportive admin team
Ø Proximity to shops and cafes, beaches
Ø Other experienced physios
Ø Good local referral base
Ø Established practice
Ø Happy patients. (Hmmm, I would hope so!)

As a job applicant, I am no further forward with my job-seeking from reading these advertisements.


Put yourself into the shoes of your applicant and think about what they really want . What is special about your practice and why? Articulate this in your job ad. Even though you might have to wait, you will have more chance of employing the right person for your practice than just anyone. Is this important to you? What are the benefits and risks of the hire slow mantra. The “fire fast” conclusion of this phrase will form a later series of blogs about managing performance.


What about the WHY? One practice wrote that their staff love to come to work each day. Fabulous, but why? What is it that makes your place special? What is your purpose? Do you have a mission statement? Do you have a vision that you all share to make something better? Do you have values that are fundamental to how your organisation and team operate? How would your advertisement look and feel to a prospective employee, if you talked about how they can be part of this vision and share in these values?  What would it be like to work in this place?  What would it be like to employ someone who shared these values? I wonder?

Dianna Howell Certmgr MIML  MAPA (Feb 2021)

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *